“Google, when is the meeting tomorrow?”
“Siri, set a reminder for 2:30 p.m. to order lunch.”
“Alexa, read this article for me.”
Voice Technology is the latest buzzword in digital marketing. The reason being the rising use of virtual assistants. These audio-based technologies are transforming the way we live and respond to marketing messages and emails. The widespread popularity of voice assistants in the modern world has also made its presence felt in the realm of digital marketing.
Fact Check: According to a report from Juniper Research, 20 percent of adults, or 47.3 million people in the U.S., own a Google Home or Amazon Echo. The number is slated to grow to 55 percent by 2022 with more smart devices and equipment that use voice technology on the way.
So, What is Voice Marketing?
Voice Technology is the future of digital marketing.
With the rising usage of hands free control of music, news, search, shopping, and timers, voice searches, commands, etc., voice marketing strategies are becoming more common on a daily basis. Another common place for voice assistant powered smart speakers such as Google Home Mini is found in domestic places like the kitchen.
Marketers should be aware of an increasing amount of consumer interaction with technology. Consumers are moving from typing on screens to talking to voice assistants. Names like Amazon Alexa and Google Assistant have become household names. Thanks to the growing popularity ofsmart speakers like Google Home Hub, Apple HomePod, and Amazon Echo. Voice interactions can be held on smart devices, smart phones, wearable gadgets,smart in-ear devices or hearables like Apple AirPods and Echo Buds, etc. They can also encompass smart home appliances like TV remotes, thermostats, and microwaves, and voice-first interactions. .
The consumers are shifting from text and typing interfaces to those based on voice first ones. We can expect the trend to continue. This is expected as speaking is convenient and universal. In addition to ease, it is also accessible for all ages and skill levels.
Why does Voice Marketing matter for your business? Because consumers are adopting voice technology with open arms. Therefore, mould your digital marketing skills with the changing times and transforming consumer habits.
Fact Check:The fastest growing consumer technology of all time are smart speakers. In his keynote, Google CEO SundarPichai announced thatone-fifth of the queries on Google are voice searches.
Voice technology is scaling up and moving to new heights. This has led brand experts and marketers to believe sonic branding to be the next big thing in the future of digital advertising and marketing.
However, the use of voice has been a kind of blind spot of brands. This is a problem because most companies haven’t made a strategy of sonic branding. They have given no thought about what their brands “sound” like. This problem has risen due to obvious reasons. The traditional style adopted for brand identity by almost all companies has been visual. This is because the easiest way to imagine a brand and execute branding strategies is by visualizing their logos, defining their colors and other visual editing hacks.
Consumer behaviour and popular marketing materials must coexist and compliment each other.The audio factor or sounds, generally ignored or given less importance must be brought to the forefront. Audio-based user experiences are stepping into the spotlight as a recent medium but its rise is astonishingly fast paced. Digital Marketers should not leave this opportunity untapped. The times are a’changing and marketers should definitely invest in audio and conquer the digital advertising land. Sadly, only a few digital marketers are really paying attention to this game changer.
Fact Check: According to an Alpine.ai report, there are around 1 billion voice searches per month (2018). Add to these stats the number of voice searches that can be made on voice-enabled devices other than the smartphone.
Voice Search Optimization
With content and email marketing embracing voice technology, SEO strategies need to reboot themselves. Digital marketing experts should know that voice search optimization is the next big wave of SEO.
The Chatmeter’s trademarked term for voice-based search engine optimization is Voice engine optimization (VEO). VEO refers to the streamlining of content, location, and brand information to boost voice search results.
If you are thinking that it’s too early to think about voice search, well then you are wrong. Voice search is being used to find immediate and hassle-free on-the-go answers by consumers.
As Voice Technology is transforming consumers’ approaches to technology and the internet, it is also creating a huge impact on search engine optimization. With the huge rise in not just the initial adoption phase but also actual use of voice, the impact on brands will be astronomical and path breaking. Therefore, businesses should expect an upheaval and prepare for the future. It is always advisable to stay ahead of the changes and be relevant. Those who are ready beforehand are never caught by unexpected troubles. So, those who plan ahead of market changes as they happen will surely reap the benefits and rake in the moolahs.
The impact of voice technology on SEO is certain but how is it being a catalyst to new marketing tactics? VEO is quite like SEO, that does not mean they are one and the same. The major difference between two is that VEO comes with more competition. Here’s a few ways Voice Search Optimization is going to affect digital marketing strategies:
● Natural language
Voice technology is a place where natural human language is the dominant modality. With improved and reliable voice recognition systems, voice technology is well adapted to follow everyday language use. In this way, users can give commands as if they were speaking to a human. For any areas of potential improvement, emerging technologies are seeking to optimize the user experience and remove confusions.
Fact Check: The 2018 Internet Trends Report by venture capitalist and internet trends specialist, Mary Meeker, found that 70% of English language voice searches were made in natural or conversational language.
● Keyword length
According to Backlinko, voice searches currently average 29 words in length. Therefore, SEO strategists must adjust to spoken language. As speaking usually isn’t as concise as the written word, so queries will be longer than the three or four keyword searches more common to graphical user interfaces (GUI). Thus, using more long-tail keywords will prove beneficial. There will be a higher probability of conversion as longer keywords and phrases are used.
Fact Check: According to Seo Clarity, 20% of voice searches are triggered by just 25 keywords
Voice technology has transformed E Commerce. This has occurred because consumers are much more likely to use voice to make purchases. Sixty-two percent of voice speaker owners have made purchases through their virtual assistants. Additionally, around 40 percent of millennials use voice assistants before making online purchases. Digital assistants should be a priority for online retailers. They should also come up with the best ways to optimize them.
Fact Check: In a survey of SEO trends for 2017 and beyond, voice search stood at the third spot.
● Question Based Content
Optimize your content strategy according to the behaviour of consumers with voice based technology.They are engaging with their voice-activated speakers as if they were human. Therefore, the way in which consumers conduct voice searches also differ as don’t simply say just the keywords. They have queries and they ask questions.
Your VEO should focus on using conversational, long-tail keyword phrases. Optimize your content as this will help you to better answer natural language questions. Try to find the natural language keyword phrases keeping in mind what your target audience is most likely to ask.
Fact Check: Forty-one percent of people who use smart speakers and use voice search say it feels like talking to a friend or another person.
● Answer based Content
Your content should also answer frequently asked questions to drive conversions. Make sure that the answers are at an easy reading level.When you optimize for featured snippets, you’re likewise optimizing for voice search. Also, try to keep your feed fresh and update your content often. Don’t forget to answer any existing questions on your Google My Business Questions and Answers section. Answer relevant and compelling questions about your products and services. Resolving the queries of your consumers and solving their problems will definitely drive conversion.If you don’t have content to begin with, look at your reviews to source FAQ content ideas. Provide content on what your customers are asking about.
Fact Check: According to Backlinko, about 40.7 percent of voice search answers come from featured snippets.
Challenges of Voice Marketing
Voice marketing is not without its risks and hindrances. These current hesitations among marketers actually makes it even more interesting. Therefore, start experimenting with the technology now. Remember, that those of you, who are involved and participating in the early trials have the opportunity to collectively define the future. You have the power to decide how to use one of the most exciting modern developments in consumer tech.
Keep in mind the following points that will help you to recreate your brands’ strategies. Make conscious decisions and cautiously start toe-dipping in voice marketing.
● Relevance of Voice-only strategy
Voice technology is advancing everyday but it still has a long way to go. This lack of complete maturity of voice-powered techmakes certain people reconsider its intrinsic and individual value. Does it have a unique mission? Or its only offering is being a repurposing of content that is already present comfortably in other media formats.
● Customer profile disparity
Although there are a number of voice agents out there, it’s uncertain whether the same customers’ multiple profiles can co-exist successfully. There is also confusion related to how they will be stored independently both by the brands themselves and by third party voice agent platforms like Google or Apple.
● Dependence on vendors
Google, Microsoft, Apple, and Amazon are the major vendors in the voice technology game. Although the spread of voice assistants is reaching far and wide, it is only propelled by the big four tech moguls. This lock-in may put voice strategies of brands and marketers at risk. Marketers need to be wary of tech providers changing their course or stopping their projects.
Fact Check: 20% of the total number of Google searches on mobile are voice (as of 2016, Search Engine Land)
By reading until now you must have realized the importance of voice technology in digital marketing. Voice will become the dominant medium and interface for search, shopping, content and more. It has gained mileage because it is more convenient for a user to speak than to type. The results of voice queries are also faster and more accessible. Therefore ignoring these developments will increase the chances of you lagging behind your competitors.
It is important to know the source of information for your Voice-Activated Devices.
For example, Amazon Alexa is partnered up with Yelp for local search. Meanwhile, Google is driven by Google Maps. On the other hand, Siri sources information from Apple Maps. Cortana, which is the built-in voice search tech for Microsoft computers is powered by Bing.
Voice search is not a fad. It has comfortably crossed the threshold of early adopters. In a very short span of time, voice-activated speakers have become a part and parcel of people’s daily routines. Some of their daily habits, such as checking commute times and setting reminders for things to buy later, are now accomplished by talking to their virtual assistant. Say goodbye to, handwritten notes and to-do lists. People are revamping their routines. Smart assistants are getting more done with less friction.
The world is now experiencing big changes in voice search. These significant breakthroughs in voice technology have propelled the rapid adoption of voice-activated technology. Digital marketing cannot ignore these transformations. Therefore, marketers and brands must grow forward and make their future voice technology strategies a part of their digital marketing agenda.
Aditya is the founder of Digital Polo a unique design company that provides unlimited design work for a simple, affordable fee. He also heads a full-service digital agency called Nico Digital.