Choosing the right Invocation name

Invocation Names are the modern day domain names

Invocation Names are the modern day domain names, this is how your customers find and invoke your Voice Experience. You’re only allowed one invocation name, so there’s a lot of things to take into consideration. For brands, the biggest challenge is to understand whether or not to utilise the brand name, i.e  ‘Flight Centre’ or to choose an invocation name such as ‘cheap flights’ that are naturally conversational and increase the discoverability of your Voice Experience.

If you’re making a Voice Experience that’s platform agnostic, you’ll want to ensure that your Invocation name remains the same across platforms, much like the features. Inconsistency creates a pain point for a user before they even launch your Voice Experience.

We’ve put together a checklist to help get you started with choosing the right invocation name for your Voice Experience, let’s start by covering some of the basics;

  • Does it fit naturally with one of the Alexa skill/Google Assistant launch phrases? (for example, “launch”, “ask”, “tell”, “load”, “begin”)
  • Is this name likely to be searched for in the Skill/Assistant Store?
  • Does the name describe clearly what the Skill or Assistant actually does?
  • Is it easy to pronounce?
  • Will repeating this name be exhausting or annoying?

Note. You can change your invocation name at any time while developing a Voice Experience. However, you cannot change the invocation name after a skill is certified and published.

 

Is this name likely to be searched for in the Skill Store?

This is just good old fashioned keyword research. If someone would look for something on Google, they’re likely to look for it in the Skill store. The easiest way for beginners without access to professional keyword research tools to check is via Google Trends. You can see trends for searches over time and assess whether your invocation name is the best to go with overall.

 

Does the name describe clearly enough what the skill does?

Unless you are willing to fund a mass media campaign to educate users on the purpose of your skill, avoid anything that is not obvious. Consider Cocktail King: this is a creative name that instantly gives a good idea as to what it does: it makes you the King (or Queen) of cocktails. Most users are only going to remember what your skill does, so if what it does is also its name, you’re off to a good start.

 

Is it easy to pronounce? Will repeating this name be exhausting or annoying?

These two are all about the first point of contact users have with your skill. They need to be able to successfully open it and use it repeatedly with ease (and peace of mind). Try your Alexa or Google Home device to see if it can understand you. These devices are getting better every day at understanding Australian and New Zealander accents, however, you might find certain phrases still don’t gel well with these assistants.

 

the context of the experience

Some Voice Experiences have unique use cases, so consider how your invocation name might be used contextually. A good example of this is Sayspring, who has two Voice Experience that are the same, however, they have different Invocation Names. We caught up with Mark Webster, CEO & Founder to understand the approach for having two invocation names.

 

“Our two skills are connected to our voice prototyping service at Sayspring.com. The skills allow designers to interact with their prototypes on any Alexa device without having to code or deploy anything. It works by saying “Alexa, ask Sayspring for {PrototypeName}”

“One thing we found was that many designers didn’t want the Sayspring brand to be a part of the experience, especially when doing demos for clients or stakeholders, as it could be confusing. So we launched an unbranded skill, that was part of our paid plans. That allowed designers to say “Alexa, ask My Prototypes for {PrototypeName}””

  • Mark Webster, CEO/Founder, Sayspring

 

Does it fit naturally with the skill launch phrases? 

If it feels weird to ask, load, start or launch your skill, it might not be the best choice. Don’t despair, however, despite Amazon’s insistence on using one of the launch phrases, there is still room for creativity outside of them. Look at the skill FartTopia, which makes Alexa fart when you say “Alexa, let it rip!” The skill is launched with the invocation name “let it rip” and nothing else. There is, of course, limited space for skills with relatively common phrases so get in quick if you have a creative idea.

 

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