Information bandwidth of audio and display ads

2017-01-11 2 min read

    I’ve been reading a lot of articles lately on how the shift to audio interactions at home, namely Echo, have the potential to disintermediate Google. The gist is that Google makes the bulk of its revenue from search ads that will show up alongside the organic results. At that point the user can either click on an organic result powered by Google search or an ad powered by an auction. This approach works for the web where we can process the page at a glance but doesn’t translate neatly in an audio context. Imagine asking the Echo to give you the local weather but instead of that getting a list of weather related options first. That would be an utter flop but we tolerate it on the web where our eyes have multiple of orders more information bandwidth than our ears.

    The entire idea of bandwidth of the different senses is fascinating and it’s both incredible and obvious how much of the world depends on our physiology. It shouldn’t be surprising at all but but we take so much of it for granted that noticing these things is an enlightening experience. We naturally gravitate toward designs that fit our biology but taking a step back and thinking why we’re designing them this way can inspire a whole new thought process.