LONDON: As voice-interface devices look set to enter the mainstream, a new study shows that over half of Amazon Echo users can recall hearing advertising via the device.

The Getting Vocal study by Radiocentre, the industry body for commercial radio, highlights that listeners respond positively to familiarity, notably music but also straplines, if they are used consistently over time.

The findings suggest that developing "a distinctive brand sound will become increasingly important," the organisation said in a statement. However, it also warns that these should be deployed and handled sensitively.

Though penetration of voice-interface devices is low, at around just 9% of UK households, interest is growing –Radiocentre believes household penetration could hit 40% by early next year. Of those who report interest in buying an Echo, 87% say they intend to purchase in the next 12 months.

Of those that do own a device, 81% say they use it at least once a day or more. The most widely reported use case is for radio or on-demand music services; 71% report that the device has encouraged them to listen more.

Mark Barber, Radiocentre's Planning Director said the study highlights "how readily radio adapts to new technologies," adding that it will keep the medium alive for both listeners and advertisers.

"With brand sound arguably as important as a brand logo, forward-thinking advertisers can gain advantage now by testing and refining their approach with audio advertising."

In a Best Practice paper for WARC last year, Barber emphasised radio's strong £7.70 ROI for every pound spent. In addition, he argued that radio reaches a wide audience, builds emotional connections, and can create brand fame.

However, brands marketing on voice-interfaces face slightly different barriers from radio. Quoted in JWT and Mindshare's recent SpeakEasy report, Martin Reddy, co-founder and CTO, Pullstring, noted that companies will now have to think about the literal voice of their brand.

Companies, he says, will need to consider "the personality of their brand as it's presented to users."

On Tuesday, Amazon unveiled a new incarnation of their voice-interface flagship, the Echo Show, to which the company has added further functionality, including the ability to display further information and play media.

Data sourced from Radiocentre, WARC, The Verge; additional content by WARC staff