Reach More Customers with Quick Links for Alexa (Beta) and New In-Skill Purchasing Options
Catherine Gao Jul 22, 2020
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We are excited to announce Quick Links for Alexa (beta), a new capability available in the U.S. that lets you add a link from your mobile app, website, or online ads that customers can click to launch your skill. This makes it easy for customers to access your skill, and easy for you to track conversion from online ads. Learn more in our technical documentation.

Additionally, we are excited to announce new in-skill purchasing (ISP) detail pages and the ability for customers to make in-skill purchases directly on Echo devices with screens. Customers can now more easily discover and buy your premium experiences.

How Quick Links for Alexa (Beta) Works

Quick Links can help you improve discovery and acquire customers for your skills. With Quick Links for Alexa, your customers can launch and use your skill immediately on an Alexa device with a single click and not worry about remembering the right invocation phrase to say to Alexa. You can surface your links to customers anywhere on the web - your own website or mobile app, emails that you send customers, social media, online ads and more - driving contextual discovery and instant engagement with your skill. For example, a trivia skill could share a link on social media to the new 80s movies trivia category you just introduced, allowing followers to directly launch that category on their Echo device. Similarly, a food ordering app can surface a link that lets customers launch a skill and start tracking a new order.

A Quick Link leads customers to a web page in a browser, on a computer or mobile device. After signing in, customers can choose to launch your skill from the web or via an Alexa notification. Skills can be launched on Echo (all versions), Echo Tap, Echo Dot (all versions), Echo Show (all versions), and Echo Spot.

Screenshot of Quick Link for Alexa
Screenshot of Quick Link after clicking Try it now
Launch a Skill or a Custom Task

Starting today, you can create two types of Quick Links for Alexa to 1) launch a skill and 2) deep-link to a custom task within a skill. Customers who click on a link to launch a skill will be able to open the skill on their Alexa device and begin interacting with the voice experience normally. These URLs perform the same function as a customer saying, “Alexa, open <skill name>” to an Alexa device. They are ideal for sharing links to your skills online rather than the links to your skill detail page on Amazon.com because they allow your customers to immediately begin interacting with the voice experience on a device. You can get started here. Secondly, deep-linking to a custom task within your skill allows your customers to do a particular task such as playing specific content, tracking an order, or even setting a specific reminder. You can get started here.

How Custom Tasks (Beta) Work

A custom task (beta) is an element of the user experience that is implemented in an Alexa skill, such as an operation that a skill performs. When a skill receives a task request, it fulfills the request by performing the task. The task request can come from different sources such as from another skill through a direct connection (preview). Starting today, a task request can also come from a URL built with Quick Links for Alexa. 

How Early Developers are Using Quick Links for Alexa

  • CNBC uses Quick Links to drive traffic from their ads to their Alexa skills. “We can promote CNBC’s Alexa skill with just a single click, connecting our audience of business professionals and investors directly to our breaking news, stock quotes, and insights.”
  • Comedy Central uses Quick Links to drive traffic from social media to the Comedy Central Standup skill. “Being able to open a skill straight from a link is a huge leap forward in our ability to market these skills. Instead of relying on our audience to remember what they see from us on Twitter and Instagram, we can help them open our skills right from the post,” said Mark Mezrich, the Vice President of Voice Assistant Products at ViacomCBS.
  • Invoked Apps uses attribution tags to measure the effectiveness of their marketing campaigns for their sleep sound skills. Quick Links is also beneficial to their customers, because it gives customers the choice of also launching sleep skills without using voice, which might wake their partner. “Quick Links for Alexa are a game changing way for customers to launch skills and for skill builders to make better digital marketing decisions,” said Founder of Invoked Apps, Nick Schwab.
  • Luminary uses Quick Links to drive traffic from their website and social media accounts to their podcast skills. Trevor Gibbons, Head of Partnerships for Luminary, said, “Quick Links for Alexa helps us to engage with our existing and potential customers in a much more seamless, friction-less way.” 
  • Other partners include Game Show Network's Common Knowledge, Life Church, and Joyce Meyer, who are using Quick Links to engage with their online audiences more deeply.

How to Build Quick Links

Any developer building skills for en_US and es_US can get started with using Quick Links today.

  • Check that your skill satisfies the Quick Links for Alexa eligibility criteria described in our technical documentation.
  • To create a launch link, you can create the link by following this URL pattern: https://alexa-skills.amazon.com/apis/custom/skills/<skill-id>/launch
    • skill-id: This is the skill id for your live custom skill. You can find the id in the developer console. In the Skills tab, click the View Skill ID link under the skill name.
  • To create a custom task link, you will first need to build a custom task in your skill following the instructions here.
    • Once you create a custom task, you will need to provide a name for the task, a short description, and a name for each parameter used in the task. These will be shown to customers on the Amazon page they visit by clicking your quick link. You can do so by creating a .properties file for each locale that your skill supports.
    • Generate your custom task link by following this URL pattern: https://alexa-skills.amazon.com/apis/custom/skills/<skill-id>/tasks/<custom-task-name>/versions/<task-version>?<task-input-key1>=<task-input-value1>&<task-input-key2>=<task-input-value2>

Customers Can Now More Easily Discover Your Premium Content

We are also providing new ways for customers to discover your premium experiences, helping them to get more value from their Alexa devices. Customers can go to Amazon.com or tap a button on an Echo Show device to find and purchase premium skill content or features. Previously, customers could only learn about premium content by engaging with a specific Alexa skill using voice or from the description section on the skill detail page. With this launch, we’re making it easier and more intuitive to discover and purchase premium content through new In-Skill Purchasing (ISP) detail pages on Amazon.com and a tappable buy button on Echo screen devices. Alexa customers can purchase premium ISP content via Amazon.com and Echo devices in the U.S., and coming later this year to the UK, Germany, France, Italy, Spain and Japan. For skills that offer more than one ISP, you will need to select which ISP to sell through these new Amazon channels, which can be done through an additional ISP setting in the developer console (coming soon). 

Screenshot of ISP detail page on amazon.com
Screenshot of ISP detail page on Echo Show device
Get Started Today

As always, you can ask questions via our ASK developer forums here. Get started with Quick Links for Alexa today and check out our sample code here.

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