There are over 100 million Alexa-enabled devices with customers in the world today. People use Alexa for all kinds of things from setting a timer to listen to music, get weather information, play games, listen to podcasts, meditate, order food—there's something for everyone.
A high percentage of customers also use Alexa sleep or relaxation sound skills to stay focused and lead healthy lives. In this blog, we’ll share tips from the Alexa Skill Insights team to consider while building sleep/relaxation skills to increase skill engagement, quality and discovery on Alexa’s skill store.
Let’s get started:
1. Increase engagement by adding the Alexa Routines Kit
Drive engagement by making your skill a part of customers' daily lives with the Alexa Routines Kit. Customers can use Routines to automatically execute a sequence of actions based on a trigger event, such as a particular time of day. Routines are a great fit for sleep or relaxation sounds skills, that contain long-form audio. For example: A Good Night Routine→ Plays the customer’s requested sleep sound when the customer says “Alexa, good night.” The monthly engagement for customers using a skill in a routine is seven times higher and their six-month retention is eight times greater compared to customers who don’t use that skill in a Routine.
2. Build a strong interaction model by including Looping functionality and Next, Previous Intent for better customer engagement
Your skill’s interaction model is not only the backbone of your skill for supporting the customer experience, it is also your skill’s entire skeletal system. The interaction model drives your skill’s ability to provide customers with relevant responses to their requests. Building a strong interaction model optimized skill accuracy and therefore helps customers get to the right intent.
You can provide a great relaxation experience to customers who would like to listen to audio/sleep sounds on loop by adding AMAZON.LoopOnIntent and AMAZON.LoopOffIntent to the skill’s interaction model. If your skill supports multiple audio tracks, allowing customers to shuffle through relaxation sounds of their choice by adding next and previous intents would enhance the customer’s experience.
3. Focus on providing a seamless audio experience
Your audio experience should help customers get the best relaxation experience without interruptions. When customers make a request, simple navigation helps them relax - by playing specific sounds upon launch without a lot of prompts. Soft audio tracks are great for sleep or relaxation if they play for a sufficient amount of time.
You can help customers relax by providing an uninterrupted audio experience and ending the sleep/relaxation sound without a stop/cancel message.
4. Include accurate keywords and categories for better discoverability
When customers make a request, the keywords and categories that you’ve included with your skill submission help us surface appropriate the most relevant skills. As customers discover and use your skills through keyword browsing experiences, Alexa tracks acceptance and rejection rates. We use this alongside other data to optimize skill discovery experiences, which is why you should ensure that your keywords and categories are chosen carefully. This is critical to connecting customers with the right skill for their request. This increases your skill's chances of discoverability.
Category: Your skill's store category should be the one that best describes your skill. This helps customers find your skills quickly and easily. Mis-categorization can lead to poor discoverability for your skill. (For Example: A skill named “My News” should be categorized under “News” instead of “Games and Trivia”)
Keywords: Help customers find your skill quickly and easily by adding the most relevant words that best describe your skill and its core functionality. Think about keywords that customers would use to search for your skill and add them in the “Keywords” section. (Example: sounds, relax, calm, peaceful, mindful, relaxing, ambient, focus, concentration, therapy, vibration, powerful, healing, nature, sleep, meditation, soothing, music, deep, relaxation)
5. Provide an effective description, what’s new section, and invocation name
A well-written skill description makes a first impression on your customer and sets the right expectations about the values it brings. Convey the value your skills offer to a new or existing customer and periodically update the “what’s new” section, when you update your skills. This increases your skill's chances of discoverability.
A long description should make it easy for the customer to understand how to use your skill, describe its best features and explain its core functionality. For example, if the skill plays different audio tracks of ocean sounds, describing them in the description would help customers understand what audio tracks are offered by the skill.
Use an easy-to-recall invocation name, making it simpler for customers to understand what the skill can do, and recall the invocation in the future. When choosing an invocation name, start with the Invocation Name Requirements, which your invocation name must satisfy in order to publish the skill.
6. Enable multiple locale, language and region capability to drive engagement and reach
As Alexa expands to more countries, you have more opportunities to create voice-first experiences for customers in multiple languages and regions, and make your skills available to a growing audience. Building the sleep/relaxation skill in multiple locales/languages may help your skill derive greater engagement with ease through minimal speech changes. One of the distribution features you can take advantage of is to opt in to automated locale distribution.
These simple tips will help you get started on building and monetizing a successful sleep and sounds relaxation skill. Please visit the Alexa developer console to get started with building your Alexa skill.