Money Talks! Why digital marketers should be all over Voice Search

23 July 2018

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Money Talks!

Why digital marketers should be all over Voice Search

There has never been a better time for marketers to embrace voice search technology. Advertisers are already experimenting with this new technology; ‘Campbell's Kitchen’ reads out recipes and even helps with cooking, whilst Nestlé has also rolled out ‘GoodNes’, which gives verbal cooking instructions on Alexa devices. And McDonalds has used the core tech behind voice search in a slightly more interpretive way, employing Microsoft’s speech recognition to improve their DriveThru service.

Voice tech is set to become the next standard addition to home computers, and could quickly become the search mechanism of choice for consumers. ComScore research predicts that by 2020, 50% of all searches will be voice-activated, and with smart speakers such as Amazon Electra and Google Home leading the charge towards hands-free searching and shopping - not to mention our reliance on Apple’s Siri - marketers need to start developing their voice interactions now.


Most websites don’t yet have the tech built-in to capitalise on this growing trend, but it won’t be long before everyone is on board. And it’s set to change the ever-shifting landscape once again for digital marketers. The advertising experience will have to be slicker, more targeted and ultimately, add value for consumers, although exactly how this will be achieved - and more specifically how it will be monetized - is a bit hazier.


Advertisers are going to have to create content which is tailored to meet the questions that consumers are asking. But there are numerous points to consider for marketers jumping on the voice search bandwagon. Not only who are our customers, but what are they searching for and how, and what language are they likely to use? Google has already reported that 70% of the requests to Google Assistant are made using ‘natural language’, not the typical keywords we’re used to in the industry. We’ll all need to adopt a thorough and sophisticated approach to understanding what our customers want, if we’re to get the best out of this new tech.


As an industry, we need to understand voice search better, and where it sits in the consumer journey. It might not work for visual purchases or maps (unless it’s activated on a device with a screen), but it could be great for repeat purchases such as household items. As the tech is in its infancy, we’re all on this learning curve together.


One potential glitch on the horizon is how to make paid voice searches pay. On a screen, paid ads appear ahead of organic results, but they’re easy to filter out. With voice search, consumers will have no choice but to listen to the ad before getting to the good part. Google, Amazon and the rest will need to find a way to strike a balance between presenting users with the best answer to their query, and the paid answer, if they’re going to avoid eroding consumer trust completely.


It’s clear that for digital marketers, incorporating voice search SEO into marketing plans will soon be an essential element of search engine optimization. Obviously we need to begin optimizing for organic voice search, as organic listings aren’t going to disappear. But they might be a bit harder to come by.


As with any new development in the field of digital marketing, voice search is going to keep advertisers and agencies on their toes, making sure they continue to produce relevant, quality content in an evolving arena. It’s a great opportunity to capitalize on a new tech which somehow appears more personal and trustworthy than the advertising we’ve all become used to. Digital assistants seem more human, helpful, they know what we want. So there is opportunity to take advantage of that. In a recent survey carried out for Google, 41% of people who owned a voice-activated speaker said that interacting with it “felt like talking to a friend”. In the same survey, 62% of the same group said they expected to make a purchase through their speaker during the next month. So this really is an opportunity that’s too good to miss.


The Holy Grail will be to create ads in a different format, hopefully one which can enhance people's lives and improve the shopping experience by making content much more engaging.


What are your thoughts on voice search and its impact on search?


Contact Pivotal on 0207 6135600 to discuss how to hire great people or talk to us about your next career move.


David Terry
Founding Director





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