Amazon recently banned almost all forms of advertising on their Alexa voice assistant platform, but VoiceLabs has revealed a new way to monetize Skills, called Sponsored Messages. These Sponsored Messages not only provide a much-needed avenue of monetization to developers who would otherwise go either mostly or completely unpaid for their work, but are interactive, bringing an engaging advertising experience to developers' Skills. Sponsored Messages are allowed in a number of Skills that are unable to run traditional advertisements, which mean that they're able to help keep top developers in the ecosystem.
VoiceLabs' powerful analytics platform has been a perfect fit for Sponsored Messages in testing thus far, and according to developer testimony, has managed to keep at least a few developers working on their Skills who would otherwise long since would have been forced to leave the scene due to the amount of time and energy being invested for free or close to it. The initial batch of ads will include content from Wendy's, ESPN, and Progressive Insurance. The interactive advertising platform will get new content, more companies, and more options for ad personalization as time goes by. For now, developers can get location information on users, but not much beyond that until Amazon grants them additional permissions. Developers can set how often users of their Skills get advertisements, among other parameters.
Federated Media, XAPPmedia, TWiT.tv, and Appbly are some of the major developers that either were on board for initial testing, will be on board for launch, or both. The list also included a large number of smaller independent developers. So far, VoiceLabs boasts about 1,300 Amazon Alexa Skill developers as clients on their platform, and that number is poised to grow quickly; this move has essentially positioned VoiceLabs membership as the only path to monetization for many Skill developers. All a developer has to do to get started is sign up for VoiceLabs' analytics platform, then check a box to begin putting ads in a certain Skill. Though ads in Skills will be shown to consumers less often than most other formats, the fact that the advertisements are interactive and essentially inescapable means that advertisers are likely to pay a far higher sum for them than they would for other forms of advertising.