TidBITS: Siri Usage and Engagement Declining

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TidBITS: Siri Usage and Engagement Declining

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Siri Usage and Engagement Declining

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Siri Usage and Engagement Declining

By Josh Centers
http://tidbits.com/article/17334

A report by Verto Analytics says that while Siri remains the most popular virtual assistant in the United States, it’s quickly losing ground to Amazon's Alexa and Microsoft's Cortana. Siri's total user base declined by 15 percent over the past year, and engagement has dropped by half during that same time period. Meanwhile, Alexa has seen a 325 percent surge in monthly users and a doubling of engagement. Microsoft's Cortana has seen a 350 percent increase in monthly users and a tripling of user engagement. Perhaps Apple hopes that a dedicated Siri device like the HomePod will turn the tide.

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Article copyright © 2017 By Josh Centers . Reuse governed by Creative Commons License.




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Re: TidBITS: Siri Usage and Engagement Declining

@lbutlr

> On 11 Jul 2017, at 14:06, TidBITS Articles <[hidden email]> wrote:
>
> A report by Verto Analytics says that while Siri remains the most popular virtual assistant in the United States, it’s quickly losing ground to Amazon's Alexa and Microsoft's Cortana. Siri's total user base declined by 15 percent over the past year, and engagement has dropped by half during that same time period. Meanwhile, Alexa has seen a 325 percent surge in monthly users and a doubling of engagement. Microsoft's Cortana has seen a 350 percent increase in monthly users and a tripling of user engagement. Perhaps Apple hopes that a dedicated Siri device like the HomePod will turn the tide.

I have to wonder about reports like this. Neither Apple nor Amazon release *any* information that would make these numbers at all meaningful, and I doubt Microsoft does either.

How are they possibly measuring? If this is based on surveys, then the numbers are worthless, but what else could they be based on?

(In our house Amazon usage has dropped to my wife using it for timers while siri usage has increased slightly as I use it a bit more than I did, but no one else ever uses it).


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Re: TidBITS: Siri Usage and Engagement Declining

adamengst
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On Thu, Jul 13, 2017 at 11:01 AM, @lbutlr <[hidden email]> wrote:
How are they possibly measuring? If this is based on surveys, then the numbers are worthless, but what else could they be based on?

It’s definitely surveys, which doesn’t make it worthless, but does make one wonder about methodology. I couldn’t find the original survey that was being reported on elsewhere.

And I see Josh removed the qualifying words I had at the start: “A somewhat odd Verto Analytics report…” :-)

cheers... -Adam 



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Re: TidBITS: Siri Usage and Engagement Declining

Josh Centers
Not intentionally! I must have copied the text from an old Slack window. It has the current text now.

---
Josh Centers
Managing Editor - TidBITS
http://TidBITS.com
http://joshcenters.com
@jcenters

> On Jul 13, 2017, at 2:03 PM, Adam Engst <[hidden email]> wrote:
>
> It’s definitely surveys, which doesn’t make it worthless, but does make one wonder about methodology. I couldn’t find the original survey that was being reported on elsewhere.
>
> And I see Josh removed the qualifying words I had at the start: “A somewhat odd Verto Analytics report…” :-)
>
> cheers... -Adam




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Re: TidBITS: Siri Usage and Engagement Declining

Marilyn Matty
In reply to this post by TidBITS Articles


On Jul 11, 2017, at 4:06 PM, TidBITS Articles <[hidden email]

Siri Usage and Engagement Declining

By Josh Centers
http://tidbits.com/article/17334

A report by Verto Analytics says that while Siri remains the most popular virtual assistant in the United States, it’s quickly losing ground to Amazon's Alexa and Microsoft's Cortana. Siri's total user base declined by 15 percent over the past year, and engagement has dropped by half during that same time period. Meanwhile, Alexa has seen a 325 percent surge in monthly users and a doubling of engagement.

At the moment, there's Echo, Echo Dot, the new Echo thing with the screen, the fancy schmantzy speaker, etc. There's also a ton of Echo skills out there.

Microsoft's Cortana has seen a 350 percent increase in monthly users and a tripling of user engagement. Perhaps Apple hopes that a dedicated Siri device like the HomePod will turn the tide.

Cortana is the new kid on the block, and because it hasn't been around for as long, any growth would look like a big increase. 

Didn't they look at Google Home?

Just over 10 years ago, I spent quite some time repeatedly ranting and raving on TidBits Talk about how Steve Jobs couldn't possibly be stupid enough to come out with a cell phone when there were already thousands and thousands versions of them out there, and if he had lost his mind, it would destroy Apple for sure. The minute I saw what iPhone was, I immediately changed my tune. 

Apple has iPhone, iPad, iWatch, Mac and Apple TV. The App Store is, by far, the most successful of its type, and probably tens of thousands of developers who want to write stuff for Siri. It's got Apple Music, iTunes, iBooks, and I keep reading about high level hires from the film and TV industries. And they have HomePod coming.

Marilyn



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Re: TidBITS: Siri Usage and Engagement Declining

adamengst
Administrator
In reply to this post by Josh Centers
On Thu, Jul 13, 2017 at 3:09 PM, Josh Centers <[hidden email]> wrote:
Not intentionally! I must have copied the text from an old Slack window. It has the current text now.

Oh jeez. Folks, ignore what you saw above entirely. I recast the entire piece because the source article’s comparison with Alexa and Cortana was completely flawed. Here’s what it should have said:

A somewhat odd Verto Analytics report on virtual assistant use on mobile devices claims that while Siri remains the most popular virtual assistant in the United States, both usage and engagement are dropping. Siri’s user base reportedly declined by 15 percent to 41.4 million over the past year, and engagement (a metric that compares daily users to monthly users) has dropped by half during that period. Suggested reasons include Google rolling out voice support across all its apps and people starting to use mobile apps associated with home-based voice assistant devices, such as the Amazon Echo and Google Home. Apple undoubtedly hopes that its HomePod smart speaker with Siri support will reverse this trend.







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Re: TidBITS: Siri Usage and Engagement Declining

Fritz Mills
In reply to this post by adamengst
TechCrunch posting explains the methodology thusly:


"The new report is based on data collected by Verto Analytics from over 20,000 U.S. consumers from May 2016 to May 2017. Like most measurement firms, its behavioural data is collected from a statistically representative group of panelists, who agree to have their device usage monitored. This is combined with the firm’s consumer survey data, which helps to better explain user sentiment around the behavior.

"This is how Verto Analytics is able to determine when the personal assistants are being used, when, by who, and what user engagement is like. In this case, its report defines engagement as a sort of “stickiness” factor – a metric that compares daily users to monthly users."


This is essentially the same methodology that Nielsen uses when it conducts TV viewing measurements. What is not specified is how carefully Verto defined and recruited the “statistically representative group of panelists”, or the technical methods used to record device usage. 

But assuming their clients for this report were Apple, Google, Amazon and Microsoft, they surely had the budget to do it properly. 20,000 consumers is a huge sample for a statistical study when the demographic and geographic makeup of the sample group is properly randomized. They could probably have done the study with 2,000 consumers and gotten similar results without too much larger of a one-standard-error metric.  


On Jul 13, 2017, at 2:03 PM, Adam Engst <[hidden email]> wrote:

On Thu, Jul 13, 2017 at 11:01 AM, @lbutlr <[hidden email]> wrote:
How are they possibly measuring? If this is based on surveys, then the numbers are worthless, but what else could they be based on?

It’s definitely surveys, which doesn’t make it worthless, but does make one wonder about methodology. I couldn’t find the original survey that was being reported on elsewhere.

And I see Josh removed the qualifying words I had at the start: “A somewhat odd Verto Analytics report…” :-)

cheers... -Adam 






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Re: TidBITS: Siri Usage and Engagement Declining

Marilyn Matty
In reply to this post by TidBITS Articles
---- "@lbutlr" <[hidden email]> wrote:
>>
>> On 11 Jul 2017, at 14:06, TidBITS Articles <[hidden email]> wrote:
>>
>> A report by Verto Analytics says that while Siri remains the most popular virtual assistant in the United States, it’s quickly losing ground to Amazon's Alexa and Microsoft's Cortana. Siri's >>total user base declined by 15 percent over the past year, and engagement has dropped by half during that same time period. Meanwhile, Alexa has seen a 325 percent surge in monthly >>users and a doubling of engagement. Microsoft's Cortana has seen a 350 percent increase in monthly users and a tripling of user engagement. Perhaps Apple hopes that a dedicated Siri >>device like the HomePod will turn the tide.

>I have to wonder about reports like this. Neither Apple nor Amazon release *any* information that would make these numbers at all meaningful, and I doubt Microsoft does either.
>How are they possibly measuring? If this is based on surveys, then the numbers are worthless, but what else could they be based on?

I'm very interested in this subject, and I have my doubts about the validity of the survey as well. I checked it out link from the original TechCrunch article, and downloaded the survey from the site of the company that conducted it.

http://www.vertoanalytics.com/personal-assistant-apps-shaping-digital-consumer-habits/

They give a very brief snapshot of their methodology, which sounds rather like the way Nielsen used to mix People Meter data with their paper survey. To get the details, you need to make request which looks like you will be contacted by a salesperson, which I don't want.

From a press release about the survey, I found this:

"Verto's single-source measurement methodology is based on behavioral data gathered from a panel of opt-in consumers that own and use multiple mobile devices. Verto measures from the point of consumer interaction across all platforms, media, content and devices."

My thinking is that the freestanding devices, including Google Home and the various flavors of Echo, are really new. I didn't have access to anything about Verto's panel, the details of this particular study, or to the entire questionnaire, it's dicey, to say the least. And Apple hasn't released its fancy-schmantzy super-duper speaker yet.

Marilyn



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Re: TidBITS: Siri Usage and Engagement Declining

Marilyn Matty
In reply to this post by @lbutlr


On Jul 13, 2017, at 11:01 AM, @lbutlr <[hidden email]> wrote:


On 11 Jul 2017, at 14:06, TidBITS Articles <[hidden email]> wrote:

A report by Verto Analytics says that while Siri remains the most popular virtual assistant in the United States, it’s quickly losing ground to Amazon's Alexa and Microsoft's Cortana. Siri's total user base declined by 15 percent over the past year, and engagement has dropped by half during that same time period. Meanwhile, Alexa has seen a 325 percent surge in monthly users and a doubling of engagement. Microsoft's Cortana has seen a 350 percent increase in monthly users and a tripling of user engagement. Perhaps Apple hopes that a dedicated Siri device like the HomePod will turn the tide.

I have to wonder about reports like this. Neither Apple nor Amazon release *any* information that would make these numbers at all meaningful, and I doubt Microsoft does either.

How are they possibly measuring? If this is based on surveys, then the numbers are worthless, but what else could they be based on?


 I also have my doubts about the validity of the survey as well. I checked it out from the link from the original TechCrunch article, and downloaded the survey from the site of the company that conducted it:

http://www.vertoanalytics.com/personal-assistant-apps-shaping-digital-consumer-habits/

They give a very brief snapshot of their methodology, which sounds rather like the way Nielsen used to mix People Meter data with their paper survey. To get the details, you need to make request which looks like you will be contacted by a salesperson, which I don't want.

From a press release about the survey, I found this:

"Verto's single-source measurement methodology is based on behavioral data gathered from a panel of opt-in consumers that own and use multiple mobile devices. Verto measures from the point of consumer interaction across all platforms, media, content and devices."

My thinking is that the freestanding devices, including Google Home and the various flavors of Echo, are really new. I didn't have access to anything about Verto's panel, the details of this particular study, or to the entire questionnaire, it's dicey, to say the least. And Apple hasn't released its fancy-schmantzy super-duper speaker yet.

Marilyn



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Re: TidBITS: Siri Usage and Engagement Declining

Marilyn Matty
In reply to this post by Fritz Mills

On Jul 13, 2017, at 3:50 PM, Fritz Mills <[hidden email]> wrote:

TechCrunch posting explains the methodology thusly:


"The new report is based on data collected by Verto Analytics from over 20,000 U.S. consumers from May 2016 to May 2017. Like most measurement firms, its behavioural data is collected from a statistically representative group of panelists, who agree to have their device usage monitored. This is combined with the firm’s consumer survey data, which helps to better explain user sentiment around the behavior.

"This is how Verto Analytics is able to determine when the personal assistants are being used, when, by who, and what user engagement is like. In this case, its report defines engagement as a sort of “stickiness” factor – a metric that compares daily users to monthly users."


This is essentially the same methodology that Nielsen uses when it conducts TV viewing measurements.

It's more like what Nielsen did in the early days of People Meters, before second and third screens were an issue. And Nielsen has been under heavy duty industry pressure to factor in distractability:


What is not specified is how carefully Verto defined and recruited the “statistically representative group of panelists”, or the technical methods used to record device usage. 

The technical details are important, and they don't provide details about how often the panels are refreshed, etc. (Maybe they provide them if you relinquish your phone number, but I'm not about to do that.) There's also no mention if they break down where the voice assistants were used - in a car, in a retail location, at home, etc., or on what device. 

HomePad won't be available till the holiday season (at least), and I don't think Cortana is available on speakers yet either, so  Alexa vs. Google Home vs. Siri vs. Cortana is not quite an apples to apples comparison. It will be probably be a rapidly shifting battleground for at least the next few years.


But assuming their clients for this report were Apple, Google, Amazon and Microsoft, they surely had the budget to do it properly.

They don't say that either of these companies bought the study. If they did, it would be likely that they would do so. Since they are all carefully and constantly conducting studies on their own, I doubt they would want buy it.

20,000 consumers is a huge sample for a statistical study when the demographic and geographic makeup of the sample group is properly randomized. They could probably have done the study with 2,000 consumers and gotten similar results without too much larger of a one-standard-error metric.  

Advertising and marketing companies generally require much bigger samples because they get very granular with demographics and psychographics.

Marilyn



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Re: TidBITS: Siri Usage and Engagement Declining

Marilyn Matty

Here's another big reason why Amazon has been so aggressive with Echo and AI, and why Apple, Amazon and Microsoft are too:

Echo devices are Amazon Prime Day’s best sellers


Marilyn



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