Update [Jan 4th]: An Amazon spokesperson reached out to Android Headlines and said "there are no plans to add advertising to Alexa" as of right now. The original story is as follows.
Amazon is preparing a major Alexa-enabled advertising push in 2018 as it's planning to start serving ads to owners of its Echo smart speakers on a much larger scale, CNBC reported Tuesday, citing people familiar with the company's plans. While the Seattle, Washington-based tech giant already implemented advertising into its Internet of Things offerings, the amount of ads currently being delivered to users of the Echo speakers and other devices housing the artificial intelligence companion is still marginal and largely insignificant to the firm the size of Amazon.
The e-commerce juggernaut is presently said to be holding discussions with a number of companies interested in advertising their consumer-facing offerings through the Echo devices, according to the same report. Sources specifically named Clorox and Procter & Gamble as two potential partners that are already involved in talks with Amazon, though it remains unclear whether they're close to reaching an agreement. Many brands are understood to be eager to establish a foothold in the emerging voice-enabled shopping market as the winners in this segment will likely be leaps ahead of even their closest competitors, primarily due to the fact that consumers are less likely to browse through several top results of shopping-related voice searches than they would when presented with a visual interface like an Internet browser. Instead, the very top results of shopping queries made with Alexa will likely be the only best-sellers in their respective categories as far as voice-only shopping is concerned, so companies are expected to be more incentivized to pay extra for the most prominent positions offered by Amazon.
Amazon already started investigating whether firms would also be willing to pay extra for relatively generic searches that don't contain any brand references, suggesting its voice-enabled advertising model may be reminiscent to the one utilized by Google Search. Google Assistant-enabled devices like the Home speakers are also expected to embrace advertising in the near future and Google's experience in the digital marketing segment may provide it with an edge over its rival in regards to how quickly it would be able to roll out an advertising platform for voice assistants on a global level.