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Growing Your Audience by Giving Users a Sense of Control

Brand Loyalty on Audio AppsEvery audio app wants to build a large, loyal audience. Loyalty is critical because building your audience also means keeping the users you already have. And growing an audience in the ultra-competitive, Internet audio market has product managers scrutinizing every new feature that touches the user experience for potentially negative reactions from users. This intense scrutiny may be causing some to miss a great opportunity to grow their audiences and increase loyalty.

I had the opportunity earlier this month to hear noted author and brand consultant Tom Asacker speak at Hivio. He talked about what it takes to make users become believers in your brand. It’s often not what brands do, but how they do it that builds consumer loyalty. In his 2014 LinkedIn post, “The How of Great Brands,” Asacker suggests giving Streaming Music Consumerusers a greater sense of control is critical to turning users into believers in today’s world. In the audio app space, that includes control over navigation and content discovery. Apps do this today with touch-based content interaction to skip, save, thumbs up, thumbs down, etc. This interactivity gives users this all-important sense of control, but unfortunately touch is only effective while users are looking at the app.

The XAPP team ethos is a lot like that of the product teams we have met at the leading audio streaming services. We are laser-focused on delivering a great audio user experience. In particular, XAPP seeks to deliver a greater sense of control whenever and wherever users want to interact with audio content.

How Consumers Interact While On the Go

Hands free, eyes free audio listening.
Nielsen and XAPP data both confirm that Internet audio listeners are not looking at the screen 79% of the time. Buttons are not convenient or even visible when users are on the go or their device is dark and behind a lock screen. In fact, reliance on touch interaction is undermining listeners’ sense of control. Most of the time there is simply too much friction to interact spontaneously by touch.

Voice Delivers Spontaneity and Convenience

Touch interaction is very effective when a user is consuming visual content, because they are looking at the screen. However, voice interaction is quicker and easier when consuming audio content because listening is typically done while the screen is blank or your hands and eyes are busy doing other things. Voice is more versatile and is naturally aligned with the audio user experience.
Visual is to Touch as Audio is to VoiceThe big debate about the Internet audio user experience today centers around human-curated versus algorithm-generated content selection. Users get some sense of control with either one, but that only goes so far especially when they run out of skips.

Then there is music that is being promoted by labels or artists – it just plays without any input from the user. What if you could hear a sample of a promoted song or a story and then you could just say whether you wanted to listen to it now? The operative word is “say” because your voice is available to interact 100% of the time in a way that is simple, spontaneous and convenient. Voice gives users that sense of control over the content they’re listening to whenever and wherever they’re listening.

Giving consumers a voice turns listeners into believers and grows loyal audiences.

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Audio Apps Need Better Content Interaction to Close the Advertising Gap
Creating a Great Content Interaction Experience on Mobile
How Voice Interaction Increases Internet Radio Response Rates (Infographic)