One of the reasons digital media is such a hard business right now is because two companies–Google and Facebook–control over 60% of the advertising spend. But it’s anyone’s guess how long their dominance will last. As Facebook sees users spending less time on the platform–and marketers get antsy about the duopoly’s power–it leaves an opening for another player to emerge.
And it’s looking more and more likely that this new digital ad leader could be Amazon.
There are a few reasons why. For one, Amazon is seeing very strong digital ad growth. One JPMorgan estimate says the company’s growing ad business brought in $2.8 billion in 2017, and that number is expected to balloon to $6.6 billion in 2019. Of course, that still pales in comparison the the tens of billions of dollars both Facebook and Google bring in, but the growth is nonetheless impressive.
Growth aside, there’s another element to Amazon’s potential to dominate the future digital ad market: Voice. As Alexa-powered devices like Echo become more commonplace, Amazon finds itself in the unique position to deliver voice ads to the users of its digital assistant.
A recent report from CB Insights depicts this as a real opening for Amazon. Currently, when users ask about generic items, Alexa will produce results that are well-reviewed by other Amazon users (as well as available on Prime, of course). “But these recommendations could very well change if Amazon were to implement a similar programmatic ad product for voice,” CB Insights writes. “Brands may willingly shell out to be the top Alexa recommendation.”
So as voice computing proliferates, we could be on the verge of a digital ad shakeup. Maybe this is why Alexa has been breaking out into spontaneous laughter.