March 20, 2019

Why Radio Shouldn’t Ignore Google Home

Part two of a five-part blog series, “The Alexa Effect: How Radio Can Thrive in a Connected World”

“Alexa! Alexa! Alexa!!”

Listen to any radio station’s smart speaker promos and you’ll almost certainly hear about Alexa. We inform listeners about the station’s new Alexa skill. We demonstrate the correct way to address “she who shall not be named.”

Far less common is hearing a radio station promote listening on the Google Home platform, the solid second place contender in the smart speaker battle.

Could you really blame Google Home for feeling like the Jan Brady of smart speakers?


Focusing on Alexa would seem to make sense, given that more people own an Amazon Echo than any other smart speaker. Isn’t it safe to assume all Amazon and Google owners use their devices exactly the same way?

Turns out… no.

On the one hand, although usage of both is growing at a similar rate, Amazon Echo users nearly double the number of Google Home users.


On the other hand…

Google Home owners are 30% more likely to regularly stream a local FM station than are Amazon Echo owners

As we noted in our last post, among the 15- to 39-year-olds who are partisans to a contemporary formatted radio station, 27% of those listeners who own a smart speaker regularly use a local FM radio station’s stream to listen to music. Among owners of Amazon Echo devices, 27% also regularly stream FM radio.

However, 35% of Google Home users stream local FM radio regularly—30% more than do Echo owners.

In fact, of all the devices we examined, Google Home users are the biggest streamers of local FM radio.

Who streams local FM radio?

Google Home owners are big into all kinds of radio

Google Home users are also more likely than Amazon Echo owners to listen to other radio-style services, including online-only internet radio and to use iHeartRadio and TuneIn.

What services do you use to listen to music?


Google Home users’ penchant for radio-style programming is not a function of age, either. Their age profile mirrors Amazon Echo owners.

Smart speaker ownership by age

Instead, the people who choose the Google Home platform have fundamentally different audio usage patterns than do Amazon owners. Not only do they exhibit greater interest in radio-style programming, they are also more likely to choose second-tier on-demand platforms instead of Spotify than are Amazon Echo users, including—ironically—Apple Music.


What services do you use to listen to music?

The bottom line: Ignoring Google Home users ignores the group most interested in streaming your station.

In our next post, we’ll examine if the rise of the smart speaker is indeed bringing radio back into homes where radios have vanished.

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One thought on “Why Radio Shouldn’t Ignore Google Home”

  1. Pingback: Google Over Amazon? - Radio Ink

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