In July, Amazon announced a fray of new tools and programs for Alexa skill developers to grow their user base, increase retention and generate more revenue.
Amazon has carefully curated all the features and tools to cover all the important areas where Alexa has gained momentum. So, here are all the major announcements that happened in Alexa Live 2022
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In the recent Alexa Live Event, Amazon announced the all-new Alexa Ambient Home Dev Kit to deliver smart home experiences that are loved by customers.
The new Alexa Ambient Home Dev Kit is a collection of services and APIs that aim to enhance the smart home experience for the customers. Following are the APIs that have been included in this kit:
- Home State APIs:
It helps users to achieve the desired state in their home which includes vacation, sleeping mode, dinner or lunchtime, festivities, and more. You can even keep the modes synced between Alexa and other devices to enjoy a unified experience.
- API for Credentials:
It makes it easy for customers to set up their Matter devices without manually typing their Thread Network Credentials.
API for Device and Group Organisation:
It extends the Alexa Guard’s features by using sound alerts detected by Echo devices such as smoke or CO alarms. This way users can take control of their homes and be aware of the same.
- Safety and Security APIs:
With the Alexa app, you can create groups of up to seven people. Later, you can place group calls with just a flick of a finger.
API for Multi-Admin Simple Setup for Matter:
Using the cloud-based API, users can add apps or smart home services as an additional matter admin. This offers a hassle-free way to connect matter admins to their preferred matter devices.
- Earn Better Revenue:
There has been a significant change in the revenue share for Alexa Skills for developers. Last December, Amazon announced that developers earning less than one million in annual revenue would not be forced to pay 30% of that amount in the platform fees. As per the recent updates, 20% for one million earnings in skills will be charged to every developer. This standard percentage of platform fees will apply to all Alexa skills.
Also, skills earning less than one million annual revenue will receive up to 10% of their incentives as a value back incentive. In 2022, this incentive will be paid out in cash. Later, this incentive can also be utilised by using it as promotional credits.
- SDAP and Skill Quality Coach:
The Skill Developer Accelerator Program (SDAP) is designed to drive business growth by offering incentives to the developers for building top-notch skills.
The skill quality coach is another feature of this program. As per this solution, the developers will receive personalised recommendations that according to Amazon will improve the skill’s quality as per its identified best practices. Those who act upon these recommendations will be more likely to qualify for additional incentives in cash or promotional credits.
While explaining this feature, Jack Blankenburg, Chief Technical Evangelist of Alexa said that the entire program is built around improving skill quality. No amount of marketing can ever correct a poor product experience. SDAP will reward custom skill developers for building high-quality skills. The incentives and promotional credits would increase the skill’s discoverability and drive more traffic.
Advertising Your Skills Have Now Become Possible:
The challenge of new user acquisition has always loomed over developers. Although they could use the traditional web and mobile channels for marketing, it involved switching the users to the smart speaker for conversions. Similarly, deep links were also helpful, but they didn’t activate a skill. Instead, they landed the interested users on a landing page.
By the end of this year, Amazon is aiming to launch Promoted Skills, which will offer a simple and effective way of promoting your skills on the Echo screens. It will enable you to set up promotional campaigns for your skills in a fraction of a minute. Further, you can check the performance of your campaign and glance through the attribution metrics that are updated daily.
The Echo Show’s Smart Displays are already advertising on billboards in millions of homes. It promotes content, Alexa first-party features, Amazon shopping recommendations and so on. Also, they promote some third-party skills, however, only at the discretion of Amazon. The new Promoted Skills are set to bring about a change by enabling skill developers to exert more control around skill awareness amongst customers who already own Alexa devices.
- Alexa Routine Kit to Drive Customer Loyalty:
One of the things that Amazon stressed during the live event was how fruitful it would be for Alexa Skills to become a part of users’ everyday lives. To strengthen the relationship between developers and users, Amazon is offering the broader adoption of pre-built routines by skill developers. The Alexa Routine Kit (ARK) is responsible for facilitating these solutions and allowing skills to promote the routines to users. These users could access the pre-built routines by voice.
In a blog post, Amazon mentioned that the intention behind offering the pre-built routine is to enhance the experience of both the customers as well as developers. To access these routines customers can either use the Alexa App or through simple voice commands.
Brands such as NPR, All India Radio, Sleep Jar, Endel, and Jaguar Land Rover are amongst the early adopters of the ARK.
Voice Forward Account Linking:
Previously, the customers had to use the Alexa app and go through a strenuous process to complete their account linking. However, this has been changed. The new feature enables the users to link the account that they have on an application to the Alexa App by using their voice. Now, a simple voice consent is all you need to link your accounts.
- Alexa Skill Deals:
To help developers increase in-skill purchases (ISP) and make them economically self-sustaining, Amazon is launching a new feature, Alexa Skill Deals. In the live event, Amazon conveyed that this feature will offer the developers the ability to set up a discount on their ISP products and Paid Skills via the Alexa Developer Console. Also, these discounts will be available to all the customers and run through a developer-determined deal window that will last up to one year.
For instance, developers can offer a time window limited discount such as “30% Off” for a day, week or season. This way, this new tool aims to spur action on the platform and tempt users to pull the trigger and buy the paid skills.
- Alexa Shopping Kit:
In 2021, the Alexa Shopping Actions was initiated because of which developers can embed Alexa shopping features within their skills. As a result, the ‘buy’ and ‘add-to-cart’ features became the most popular actions on the platform. People could add their favourite products to the cart or even purchase without leaving the skill.
As per the recent announcements, by the end of this year skills will also be able to answer customer queries related to a product, offer customer reviews, and add products to the wishlist. Also, users will be able to surface new product ideas around events and holidays. All these features will be available through the new Alexa Shopping Kit.
Moreover, with the new Amazon Associates on Alexa, developers will be able to earn up to 10% commission on eligible purchases referred from their skill. In short, it will open up a new monetisation channel for the developers.
Develop High-Quality Customer Experiences
The below-listed features are designed to help you create the next generation of high-quality experiences with Alexa.
- A/B testing tool:
It allows you to define a skill’s control and treatment by adding conditional statements to the skill code. Further, you can determine what percentage of randomised customers will be able to receive the control and treatment experience.
- Dialogue testing tool API:
It enables you to create automatic test sets that can evaluate multi-turn dialogues. The tool can also handle variations in skill responses and prevent integration tests from failing. Now, you can create smarter and more intelligent integration tests for your most impactful use cases, even supporting the nonlinear and natural patterns that are powered by Alexa conversations.
Alexa apps for SDK:
This tool gives you the freedom to create a voice assistant for your app with functionalities such as search, navigation, information, and so on. With Alexa as their coach, customers can do a wide variety of actions such as book a flight in a travel app or capture the perfect moment on a social media app.
- Updates to the food skills API:
This feature aims to make it easier for restaurants to connect with their customers and bring the food to the table in more efficient and convenient ways.
Faster Time to Market
Amazon has made some modifications and taken new initiatives to make the development on Alexa faster and easier. Here are some updates that enable businesses to go to market faster:
- Alexa Learning Lab:
The learning lab is like a knowledge hub that gives you real-time guidance and also provides hands-on experience to the developer. You can submit your code and get real-time feedback on the same.
- Improvement in User Experience on developer.amazon.com:
A set of fresh updates will improve the Alexa developer console experience. For instance, the new search experience provides search functionality across multiple platforms, like YouTube and Amazon.
The “Show Me” feature on the code sandbox allows the developer to view and edit live APL examples in the tech docs.
We hope that this event round-up blog helps you understand the latest updates in the Alexa ecosystem. If you are looking to design and develop an Alexa skill, you can get in touch with us. We offer free 1-hour consultations for our clients to help them discover the features that they can include in their proposed voice app.