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Tech for good: Smart speaker radio ads to help UK charities generate donations after coronavirus

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Some of the UK’s leading charities are set to benefit from a new partnership that enables donors to pledge money quickly, securely and easily through Alexa-enabled devices.

Technology company, Say It Now, has teamed up with digital advertising exchange DAX to enable people to respond directly to radio advertisements on their smart speaker and use voice commands to donate to their chosen charity. Charities NSPCC, RNIB, Crisis, Macmillan Cancer Support and Global’s Make Some Noise are the first to engage, with each planning separate advertising campaigns.

Say It Now secured funding from Innovate UK to create the donation channel for not-for-profit organisations following the call from the UK’s innovation agency for ambitious technologies to build UK resilience after the coronavirus outbreak. Thirty-one percent of charities surveyed by Pro Bono Economics reported that the way in which Covid-19 had affected their ability to fundraise was their biggest single issue.  An additional study by the independent charity revealed that the sector is facing a £10.1 billion funding gap over the next six months.

Targeted audio ads will run specifically on devices that support a voice-assistant; listeners can find out more about the individual charity or donate straight away with a simple verbal instruction. (This makes the assumption, based on Say It Now’s direct industry experience, that most voice assistants are directly linked to a payment service, such as Amazon Pay.) Transactions are frictionless while the connected nature of the devices enables the direct effect of ad spend on user engagement to be measured.

Say It Now has developed the technology as evolving consumer habits see people embrace voice commerce to complement mobile and ecommerce. 34% per cent of UK households have a smart speaker and 72% of people with smart speakers use them as part of daily routines.  The use of smart speakers has increased 12% each month during Covid-19. Listening to audio remains the most popular activity on smart speakers while voice transactions are projected to be worth £3.5 billion in 2022.