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Business case studies No 301 - 15.05.2020

Voice-enabled advertising on smart speakers – making radio ads interactive

Audio is more in demand than ever and reaching younger target groups via digital distribution is a big focus for the whole advertising industry. Smart speakers are one of the new attractive platforms that keeps growing.  Currently around 15 million households in Germany own at least one smart speaker.

RMS, the leading German private audio marketer, joined forces with agency mediascale to deploy a new native advertising format for smart speakers - "Voice enabled content". The concept is rather simple and offers radio listeners a new level of interaction with audio content. While listening to their favourite radio station on a smart-speaker, listeners will hear an audio teaser for special content. The listener then has a choice: either to ignore the audio spot and continue listening to the radio programme, or to activate the branded content (special interviews) with a simple voice command. The listener has the option to return to the current radio programme at any time by voice command or to continue listening to the branded content in full. In this format, audio combines the advantages of being a sales medium with the capability of targeted brand building. The user is in control of the advertising they receive.

Combining online radio and voice-activated branded content

A field trial with three brands from different industries was carried out in the third and fourth quarters of 2019 on selected radio stations commercialised by RMS. The brands participating were a bank, a car brand (MINI) and a sports betting provider (ODDSET). All branded content interviews were distributed over three time-shifted, 14-day sequences. It started in May, continued in July, August and September and ended in October.

The branded content was designed as a new interview format that does not bore listeners, but provides valuable background information and personal anecdotes from the partners. In elaborate interviews, a story arc was created that would keep the listeners entertained so that they listen actively until the end.

Once the listener activates the branded content by voice command, a voice greets him, thanks him for activating the skill and announces the interview. A prominent radio moderator then speaks to a brand ambassador about an interesting topic, for example sports betting or investments. The ambassadors not only gives practical tips on their respective topics in a relaxed and dynamic manner, but also reveals personal anecdotes. With this mix of information and entertainment, listeners no longer have the feeling of consuming conventional advertising, but of real added value. The results were extremely high with listen-through rates up to 97%.


The results showed a very positive effect on brand image, in particular brand sympathy as well as "closeness" and "attraction". The majority of the audience also found the new format to be innovative (for instance, 60% for the ODDSET case). As mentioned, the listen through rates of the branded podcasts were also very high – 97% percent for a bank and 87% for ODDSET. The ODDSET case study is shortlisted for the German Media Prize 2020.

Voice-enabled product sampling

This is not the only innovative voice format that RMS is experimenting with.  They recently rolled out an innovative format that offers the opportunity to receive a sample of a new FMCG product via a smart speaker skill.

RMS used this voice ad format in a campaign for a new hazelnut flavoured PiCK UP! chocolate bar by Bahlsen. The online audio campaign for PiCK UP! advertises the skill "Send me a sample". The listeners who are interested register via voice and receive their trial package, consisting of two bars with hazelnut cream, at their home. In addition, the testers will be asked later about their product experience. The audio campaigns are targeted to smart speaker users via RMS DMP allowing the client to choose a specific target group and target them without unnecessary wastage.




» RMS - Voice Enabled Content product site (click here)

» ODDSET case video (click here)

» Pick Up! case (click here)

» mediascale website (click here)


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