Case Study: How YouTube pre roll ads made Alexa a household name

Social Samosa
Jun 07, 2019 06:52 IST
New Update
Amazon Echo Youtube Case Study

Amazon Echo YouTube Pre roll Case Study executed by Blink Digital shows how Alexa was made popular amongst Indians by playing their favourite song on YouTube.

YouTube Pre roll Case Study

Brand: Amazon Echo

Agency: Blink Digital

Category Introduction

The global smart speaker market size was valued at $4,358 million in 2017 and is projected to reach $23,317 million by 2025, registering a CAGR of 23.4% from 2018 to 2025. The smart speaker market growth rate is highest in Asia-Pacific delivering a CAGR of 24.93%.

Given this, when Amazon was poised to launch its smart speaker, Echo in India, their key objective was not just to drive awareness for the category but also introduce the category itself.

Brand Introduction

With a plethora of offerings and servicing almost every inhabited zipcode in India, Amazon through its multiple offerings has become a part of modern lifestyles here. But being the first movers in the smart speaker category, they were faced with the unique challenge of introducing the category as well as the product.


Echo, an Amazon developed smart speaker enabled with Alexa, an AI assistant, had to be launched in India where people had to be made aware about the product category, it's uses, and how the AI assistant can make their lives easier. The achieved this by running a contextual pre-roll campaign on YouTube that displayed specific ads according to the search keywords entered. 

Problem Statement/Objective

Amazon wanted to launch its smart speaker, Echo enabled with AI assistant Alexa in India.

The main objective was to create awareness about the product, educate people about Alexa and increase sales in the most cost efficient way possible.


To create awareness about Echo and Alexa as an Amazon developed smart speaker and AI assistant; to increase the sales for the same in a cost-effective way.

Creative Idea

A survey was conducted of the core audience supplemented by social

listening and secondary research to demystify user behaviour with respect to AI

powered voice assistants. Survey results showed that for the users, amidst the

myriad of tasks that an AI powered voice assistant is capable of, the biggest

use case was playing music.

Supplementary studies into user behaviour with respect to music showed

that for Indian audiences, YouTube was the biggest platform for streaming


Hence, the creative idea was to communicate that Alexa could play any music you wished for through the medium of India’s most used music platform, YouTube.

Given its contextual nature, this campaign leveraged high volume keywords that its audiences frequently searched for.


  • Echo was about to be launched in a time when the Indian market was already flooded with smart speakers and AI assistants, this made spreading awareness and educating audiences about Alexa a challenge as the developing Indian market and audiences would skip ads in a heartbeat.
  • The campaign needed to be cost-effective and not have the audience looking for the skip button.


Individuals of the target group were characterised by their affinity to

stream content (music) online, a limited attention span with respect to

advertising and an unfamiliarity with the category.

On the basis of research findings, it was concluded that the best way to market an AI-powered smart speaker to this audience would be by highlighting its biggest use case - that of playing music.

Also Read: #SMTrends2019 – Key AI Marketing trends for 2019 brands need to know of

  • To ensure that our audiences were targeted at the very moment when they were looking for music, their most preferred music streaming platform, Youtube was looked at.
  • To ensure that ads were non-intrusive, contextual pre-rolls - ads were used that were served to audiences on the basis of their search keywords.


First, a list of songs and artists was curated that were most frequently searched for on YouTube by their audience.

Then, over 1700 individual pre-rolls each contextual to the search terms entered on YouTube were created. On the basis of the keyword entered into the search bar, the campaign algorithm served a specific pre-roll to the user.

For instance, if the user searched for ‘Wild Thoughts’, they were served with an ad that played the voice command one needed to give Alexa to play the song.

Each pre-roll only featured the voice command to play the search for song, thus making each ad seem like a non-intrusive, seamless fit.

The campaign was highly scalable, lending itself to a wide range of

search keywords and could be run over the entire year, capitalising on trending

songs and artists.


The key objective of the campaign to raise awareness for the Amazon Echo in India. According to a Google case study the ‘Alexa, Play My Song’  achieved ‘Best in class uplift in both ad recall and product awareness’.

Key Metrics:

Reach: 7Million

Lift in Ad recall: 32.6%

Increase in Awareness: 27.8%

CTR: 3% 

CPV 10 paisa

And all this with no money spent on Music Licensing.

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