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Paid search spend on digital assistants to skyrocket 3000pc by 2021: report

As use of digital assistants such as Siri and Cortana grows, a new advertising opportunity is emerging, with marketers expected to spend $12B for paid search on these platforms by 2021, up more than 3,000 percent from the estimated spend in 2016, according to a new report from Juniper Research. 

The report, Digital Voice Assistants: Platforms, Revenues & Opportunities 2016-2021, forecasts that ad spend on digital assistants will grow by more than 100 percent annually over the next few years. Mobile will be a key driver, with approximately 80 percent of assistants in use to be via mobile devices, per Juniper. 

?Digital voice assistants and bots will need to be a key part of marketing strategies in future,? said James Moar, a Juniper analyst and author of the report. ?These programs, which tap into a large reservoir of data, can give some of the most precise targeting possible, and their use among consumers is increasing. 

?Marketers need to be aware that these assistants be some of the most successful and least obtrusive channels to engage consumers, as the response is an embedded part of a conversation, rather than a side-note on a display,? he said. 

Voice interfaces
Digital assistants are expected to continue to extend beyond integration into smartphones and PCS to become part of many home and automotive devices in the future, with adoption of assistants expected to become wider by the end of this decade, per Juniper Research

As a result, there will be new ways that humans will interact with computers throughout their day, opening up new opportunities for marketers to engage consumers. 

At the same time, improvements in artificial intelligence is driving a proliferation of programs, including Siri, Google Now, Cortana, Amazon Alexa, Nuance, SoundHound and Vi. 

Juniper expects the monetization of digital assistants to follow a similar path as voice search, which the technology grew out of. This means companies will pay to provide specific targeted results. 

Privacy concerns
As delivering relevant targeted results will require leveraging data about users such as search and location history, shopping habits and demographic information, some consumers may avoid the technology for privacy and security reasons. 

Privacy groups are calling for data use policies to be made clear from the outset and legislative requirements along these lines could be forthcoming. 

?Voice assistants are audio-based by their very nature, and so the current reliance on purely visual media by smaller players was a surprise,? Mr. Moar said. ?However, as it stands it will take several years for players of this size to adjust to a paid search model, unless a metasearch and marketing platform exists. 

?With small audiences ? typically hundreds of thousands of users, with only a few in the millions ? these smaller apps will struggle to attract bids unless they can be part of a larger pool.

?Paid search isn?t really going to be ?on mobile? any more ? it will shift from a device basis to a platform basis. Marketers need to start thinking about paid search in terms of what assistant ecosystem has the best coverage for the kinds products they sell, which involves knowing the computing habits of their potential customers at a more granular level, and across multiple devices.?