Okay Alexa, tell me the directions to the nearest coffee shop.
The increase in voice assistants in our homes and on our devices has substantially escalated in the past few years as the grip loosens over type-only search. This new avenue brings many new challenges, but advantages – both for the end user and the digital marketer.
With Amazon Echo and Google Home both already gnarling at each others market share, Echo has so far come out on top as the more mature of the two technology most preferred by consumers – having sold over 5 million individual devices since its launch back in June 2015 in the US and September 2016 in the UK. But alas, there may be a new Sheriff in town with rumours circulating of both Apple & Microsoft releasing their own smart home assistant – the former expected to integrate Siri, use facial recognition to sense your emotions and recognise who is in the room. The latter, Microsoft, is planning to expand Cortana’s capabilities and add a voice-touch to all their future hardware.
Significance is everything when it comes to technology and the opportunity for advancement, without it comes failure and that leads to a lack of success. There have been many examples over the years of revolutionary and “life changing” software and technology being put out in the open domain but with little to none interaction from those that bring prominence – just take a look at Kickstarter for a preview into the greatness that was thrown to the ash heap of history. Well-funded projects don’t always bring success, but bigger well-established companies do.
The upshot of technology giants such as Amazon and Google being involved in voice AI technology at such an early stage proves that there will be a higher chance of success. The early involvement of Google particularly could see changes and integrations to Google Search in the future to be more “voice friendly” – especially if their market share with their very own voice-activated Google Home smart speaker holds up.Implications for the digital marketing sector
Just as the advance to mobile shook the digital marketing sector as a whole a few years back, the likelihood of the same thing happening with voice intelligence is likely. Websites that once were forced to ensure their website was tagged with “mobile friendly” to ensure a more desirable mobile experience and more prominent positions on the search engine are now likely to go through the same thing again, but from a different standpoint. Rather than changing website code to best align with the needs of mobile, it will be the turn of content and text that will need to be changed, focusing on including pronunciations and phrases that individuals use from the areas that the website is targeting – in order to cover them for voice searches.
With the wonders and convenience that voice search will bring for its users, it’s likely to be a whole different story for marketers. In society as it stands, we as individuals all have varying accents and word pronunciations and these won’t be any more visible anywhere else than through voice marketing. The need to guesstimate the kinds of phrases that will be used to activate queries through voice will require an amount of user research never seen before, trialling and testing the lingo of our designated target audience to best achieve results. This fast-paced future, in which pronunciations and new phrases can become commonplace overnight will be harder to cover than its text counterpart, but very rewarding if done correctly.Advantages of voice marketing for the marketer
The first advantages will come to those to cater for voice marketing early on, proving that getting ahead of the game will always be worthwhile. Those who do will have the biggest authority for voice marketing for their designated queries and voice-related business questions, with others later having to compete against you. It will also give you more time to tune your voice marketing optimisation.
Another advantage of voice marketing is that when it becomes more relevant over time, it’s likely to be a catalyst for seeing people search more than they would ever via typing, as convenience will allow them to discover and explore what’s on their mind on a whim. This could be a potential game changer for some companies, as their company is picked up on more.
Voice marketing will too be the bastion for more question-asking queries, thus the importance of Google snippets will need to be optimised more than ever into easy steps, instructions or an understandable answer for the voice assistant to read out loud to the user.
With both the advantages to digital marketers and implications for the sector kept in mind, it’s important to keep up to date with the changing marketing climate and truly consider the disruption that a significant increase in voice searches, over the text-based form we’ve come to know – could cause for you, your business or your clients. Increasing voice search is nearly inevitable, so don’t be left behind or in the words of Mark Twain:
The secret of getting ahead is getting started.Mark Twain
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