What’s the difference between an Alexa flash briefing and an Alexa custom skill?
February 25, 2019

Whats the difference between an Alexa flash briefing and an Alexa custom skill?

This is the number one question we are asked here at SoundUp Now. Many people get a little confused at the terminology and never really understand difference. It’s actually an easier answer than many may think. So let’s get into the difference between an Alexa flash briefing and an Alexa custom skill!

What is an Alexa Skill?

Alexa skills are basically apps like you have on your smartphone but Amazon wants to treat Alexa as a personal assistant that “learns skills”… get it?  The main difference between a custom skill and a flash briefing is that “custom skills” are multi-functional.  Meaning, these are the Alexa skills that you can talk back and forth with, ask questions, interact, submit requests for information or to be contacted and even purchase items from.  They are robust and usually have more than just one ability.  

Some examples could be:

Alexa, ask **The Front Row** what type of courses they offer?
Alexa, ask **Outback** what type of steaks they have?
Alexa, open **The Bar** what time their happy starts? Do they have any drink specials?
Alexa, ask **This Home** what the square footage is?

And much much more… the possibilities are endless really.

Here at SoundUp Now, we believe these will become your “Audio Websites”. A custom skill can become your HUB of both information and interaction on the Amazon Alexa and give your brand and audio presence that can separate you from your competition.A custom skill takes a lot more thought and effort to create, but you get so much more out of an Alexa custom skill than a flash briefing. They both have their pro’s and con’s and we’ll discuss this at the end of this post.

What is an Alexa Flash Briefing?

The Alexa Flash Briefing is also a Skill and your individual Flash Briefing is a skill that lives within… Now stay with us… It works the same way a news app or RSS reader works. When a user enables your Flash Briefing it’s added to TOP their Flash Briefing feed and will be the first to play once invoked. This is what makes them so powerful, here’s an example.

Saying, “Alexa, what’s in the news?” or “Alexa, play my Flash Briefing” are just two of many ways you can invoke the Flash Briefing. Being that news is one of the most common commands the Alexa has make it even more powerful and guaranteed users will hear your content. Flash briefings are also a part of routines that Alexa is pushing but we’ll write about that in another post.
They are categorized under flash briefings on your Alexa device and played in order without interruption depending how many you have enabled.  You can skip past an episode and Alexa will play the next flash briefing skill you have on your list.
The point of the Alexa flash briefing is supposed to be like a headline news item.  It is a short audio file of voice or audio content for your audience.  Alexa flash briefings are perfect for short weekly or daily audio that delivers valuable information or entertainment.

Pro’s & Con’s

Custom Skill


Custom invocation phrases


Expansion over time


Users must remember your invocation phrases

Setup time is a little longer

Flash Briefing 


Heard every time users ask for the news or updates

Users don’t need to remember phrases

Amazon is actively promoting this feature


You MUST create new content constantly

Only one function

Now, many are inquiring or have already created their own Alexa flash briefing skill.  But few have attempted to jump into the custom skill space as well.  Here is the thing, at SoundUp Now we believe you should have both to help build your foundation in the Alexa voice space.  Think of your flash briefing as fresh audio #content that you put out daily or weekly.  But your custom skill is your hub website on the Alexa #voice platform.  Many of you with brands and businesses do both content and have a website, so why wouldn’t you do the same in this audio space as well?  At SoundUp now, we help make that easy – click here to see what our membership for both looks like.


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