Talk To Me! The Future Of Voice Search And Smart Speakers
Did you know — 50 percent of all searches on the Internet will be voice searches by 2020?
Nearly five years old now, the smart speakers market is growing fast. They’re not limited to just speakers anymore either, but made their way to assisting in smartphones, TV set-top boxes, tablets, in-car devices, and even smart toilets.
The rapid growth of smart speakers and voice search presents great opportunities for various industries — from music to banking to healthcare.
But first, we have to ask: what’s causing the shift to voice assistants?
Changing user demands.
As shown in the graph, there’s an overall increase in the awareness and comfort in use of smart speakers by millennial and Generation Z consumers, but a pretty sharp decline in use as people age — implying a slower adoption of voice technology the older one is. Depending on your target demographic and our ever-evolving digital world, speed, efficiency, and convenience of use are demanded, and thus technology is constantly optimised to meet these challenges.
For an upcoming and nascent industry like this one, smart speakers and voice search research has a huge impact on marketing. It’s impossible to dismiss voice search as the future of being found by potential customers, and not only millennials but even older generations are looking for easier and faster ways to find information.
With the introduction of Siri in 2014, Apple was the first company to develop a voice-assisted device (and maintains a lead in the innovation), with Google (phone + home speaker assistant) and Amazon Alexa not far behind in holding impressive shares. Unfortunately, Microsoft’s Cortana still struggles to be heard here.
Income is a strong indicator of who will use voice technologies. Annual household incomes of USD$150,000 are more likely to use applications like Siri as compared to income levels of USD$20,000, according to the graph above. Interestingly, the USD$35,000 income group uses “OK Google” the most. Data might show that high-income groups are more likely to use smart home speakers, but the assistants are making good headway in middle-income groups as well.
So how can you bring in voice assistants to your marketing strategy?
- How interested is your demographic in smart speakers?
As mentioned in the graph (based on age), younger generations — especially GenZ, GenX, and millennials — are gearing up to use voice assistants faster than older generations. Find out how your audience will react to you introducing voice search in your business.
- Use podcast advertising
Podcasts are the next big thing. Podcasts are great for getting your business known, inspiring customer loyalty, and creating meaningful engagement. If you have the right content that’s just short, informative, and interesting enough, you’ll find people accessing your company’s podcast via their Google Home, Amazon Echo, or HomePod devices.
- Optimise content for voice search
While it’s not easy to define what optimal content is for such a new industry, FAQ (Frequently Asked Questions)-style answers, articles, and local information get the highest search rates, since people tend to ask questions or short phrases like “What’s the weather for tomorrow?” or “Where can I find good piri piri chicken around me?”
While the game might be changing for SEO and long-form content, the rules haven’t, and businesses can continue to focus on creating quality content over how to “phrase” things to get into the system. Leading innovators like Google and Microsoft will continue to evolve their natural language processing and marketers won’t have to completely reformat their content to suit.
However, for short-form content and interactions, it’s important for marketers to keep exploring voice search applications, such as checking your account balance, ordering pizza, making shopping lists, or finding motivational music for Monday mornings.
Originally written for and published on Digital Odyssey.