Skip to main content

Amazon reportedly considering more advertising on its Alexa-driven Echo devices

Echos are largely ad-free right now, but that could be about to change.

What's happening?

Amazon has been talking to major companies about advertising through its Echo devices, which use the Alexa voice assistant, CNBC reports.

How would that work?

It wouldn't be like the audio or video ads you get from streaming services like Spotify, YouTube and Pandora.

Instead, Amazon said to be investigating ways where brands could pay for their products to be the first suggested responses from Alexa. 

Think of it as a voice-activated Google, though Amazon recognizes that people are more likely to accept the first suggestion from Alexa compared to Google searches, where it's easier to scroll down for other results.

Amazon already runs promotions like this to some degree, with CNBC noting that Alexa might suggest a brand like Colgate if a user asks to buy toothpaste.

But Amazon is now looking at ways to increase these promotions, and expand them further by taking into account the user's shopping history.

For example, if a shopper has previously bought a particular brand through their Echo, Alexa could suggest they try another of that brand's products. 

Also, if you ask Alexa for help with a household problem, the voice-assistant might suggest a particular product to assist you.

How will Echo owners feel about this?

What, you didn't think Amazon would just be happy selling you the device, did you?

If the online leviathan has proved anything, it's that it wants to monetize all aspects of its business. It's already actively encouraging its Echo owners to order items through the device, now it wants to have a say in what you buy.

As of October it had sold more than 20 million Alexa-linked Echo devices, Voicebot reports, with "millions" more sold during the Holiday season.

Right now, using Alexa via the Echo is mostly ad-free, and upping the ante with more ads could come at a risk of alienating its Echo owners.

Tech website Xda suggests it could be a "slippery slope" for Amazon given the smart-speaker/voice-assistant market is still in its infancy, and it could lead potential customers to seek alternatives such as the Google Home.

"Losing customer trust could make people think twice about buying an Amazon Echo device in the future," it says.

Next Up

D'Angelo Russell

With KAT out, Timberwolves can't upset Nets

D'Angelo Russell stepped up but couldn't overcome Brooklyn's firepower.

Everson Griffen Vikings dot com

Everson Griffen confirms he has bipolar disorder

"I’ve been running from it a long time. I’m not ashamed of it anymore.”

Angela Renee Jones, St. Cloud murder suspect

St. Cloud suspect now charged in two local murder cases

Both murders happened within a day of each other in June.

st anthony 3 crop

Twin Cities police ask for help finding missing 16-year-old

Police say all her family and friends have been contacted, and none of them know where she is.

mpd suspect 12.3.21 - 1 - CROP

MPD releases photos of shooting suspect, asks for public's help

The man is wanted in connection with a fatal shooting that happened Wednesday evening.

redmons popcorn colbert 2

Support grows for Redmon's Popcorn after shop's sudden closure

The county also commented on the situation, saying it hopes to help owner Zack Redmon.

prior lake high school

Prior Lake HS investigating another 'racist' video involving student

The principal said the social media video was reported to them this week.

Screen Shot 2021-12-03 at 3.08.27 PM

Walz: Minnesota has secured 1 million rapid, at-home COVID tests for kids

It comes as the delta variant continues to surge in Minnesota, and the omicron variant might follow.

boundary waters

Forest Service limiting permits to BWCAW due to damage, overcrowding

Visitors have been cutting down trees and have been forced to compete for campsites.

police lights

Lockdown update: Armed man threatened to go to Kimball High School

A high school and elementary school near St. Cloud went into lockdown as a precaution.

chaska sewer

People in Chaska are flushing the wrong crap down the toilet

Water and sewer crews in Chaska have had to clean the same pump four times in the past seven days.


Why Amazon is trying so hard to get an Alexa in every home

Heavily discounted Echo and Fire products were the biggest sellers in post-Thanksgiving sales.

Can a new partnership with Amazon and Alexa save Sears?

Alexa, help rescue Sears from doom. And start my laundry while you're at it.

Google and Amazon are squabbling, and we're the losers

The tech giants are engaged in a tit-for-tat device war.

For the first time, Best Buy will sell TVs on Amazon

The Minnesota company is teaming up with the online giant.

Expect to find more Amazon gear in Whole Foods

Toys, beauty products and more gift wrap will be found in stores.

Amazon Prime members will get discounts at Whole Foods

The discounts will be rolled out this summer.

Best Buy goes right at Amazon Prime Day with its own big discounts

Amazon's Prime Day starts Monday and runs through Tuesday – but Best Buy has its own deals lined up.