Voice Search – How marketers need to adapt
Marketing moves at the speed of light, at least it feels that way when you’re brainstorming a new campaign or strategy, and all of a sudden, a new statistic or technology release changes everything.
On a regular basis, new trends pop up and transform the way we attract, connect with, and market to our audiences.
But keeping up with the changes isn’t quite enough. To succeed in this fast-paced marketing world, you have to stay ahead of the curve.
Most clients think if a certain marketing strategy or approach has consistently worked for their business, why change it? That just involves more time and energy, right?
True. But marketing trends evolve for good reason. Google employees don’t sit around and say, “We’re bored. Let’s change up the algorithm of the search results page for fun.”
Nope. Changes in the marketing world happen because consumers change the way they shop, research, and spend their time and money … and changes in consumer behavior and priorities directly influence how they respond to marketing and advertising efforts.
Staying up-to-date on (and ahead of) trends helps our company and clients save precious time and money and ensures that we’re marketing to the right people.
So, sticking to your “reliable” marketing strategy might be cheaper in the short-term, but listening and responding to marketing trends will actually save you money and keep your business relevant in the long-run.
More so, digital marketing changes practically every day. It is the internet, of course.
The flywheel places the customer in the center. Since word-of-mouth marketing is the single most powerful marketing tactic, it’s wise to not only serve your customers but also equip them to become advocates for your brand. The flywheel illustrates this process: excellent service as its own marketing strategy.
What does this mean for your business? Place a heavy emphasis on customer service. Train and equip your customer service team to not only handle requests and problems but also delight and empower your clients.
Let me guess — you’ve used Siri, Alexa, Cortana, or Google Assistant in the last month or so. Am I right? Probably, because digital and voice-based assistants have taken over the world … or, at least how we search for and consume information. Between smartphones and products such as Amazon Echo or Google Home, voice search is booming. Voice recognition software isn’t new. You’ve been able to use the speech to text function on your phone for years now, but you’ve probably experienced its imprecision. DUCK OFF!
Technology has evolved. Voice search is one of the most rapidly adopted technologies in recent history and it’s changing the way consumers interact with the world around them. When you ask a question, you don’t get 10 links back; you get one direct answer. Voice search plays an important role in providing all the relevant information that people are searching for through audio content. Artificial Intelligence is getting smarter and the number of errors made by voice assistants like Alexa, Siri and Google have reduced. Google Home has 95%-word-level accuracy. Many brands have included voice search in their digital marketing strategies to deliver value-based content effectively to their customers. Domino’s Pizza uses voice search technology as a way to increase its sales, thus allowing customers to order pizzas through Alexa. Voice search has a direct impact on e-commerce sales.
Lately, digital assistants have accounted for a greater number of search queries than ever. Not only do they answer very short informational queries, such as “What’s the World Cup score?” and “What’s the weather like today?”, but they’ve also started to process more local, customized searches. These are typically like, “Where’s a nearby Starbucks?”, “How late is it open?”, and “Do they serve iced coffee?”
Experts predict that by 2020, 50% of searches will be voice searches.
As of January 2018, voice search was conducted 1 billion times a month. I predict that number to be higher in 2019. Furthermore, AI is the fastest growing marketing technology. It has the highest year-over-year growth compared to all other technologies.
Because of this emerging behavior, businesses need to respond and change the way they frame information. Instead of catering to Google’s manual search algorithm, content should be framed around questions.
What does this mean for your business? Marketers should look at a topic and say ‘What questions could users ask about this?’ Then, they should plan sub-topics accordingly and look for opportunities to insert questions as headers. This will allow voice assistants to easily grab questions and recognize the content as solutions.
Also, businesses should look for featured snippet opportunities, which are the information previews Google provides when users search for definitions or questions. Voice assistants typically pull responses from these boxes. Keep in mind that not only will more companies produce audio content in the hopes of gaining brand awareness (so you should, too), but ads are likely to come in soon. Alexa will tell you the answer to your question along with a “word from her sponsor”. Which means you’ll be able to purchase voice ad space – like Google AdWords, but for home speakers. You need to rapidly begin producing content that is semantic and can be discovered by Voice Activation.
Besides voice searches, can you name another kind of search method on the rise? Visual. Google has long enabled reverse-engine searches (image upload), but new camera technology makes it possible for people to take a picture of something in the real world and find information about it.
Pinterest launched its Lens feature back in February, and the social media platform reports that its users conducted over 600 million combined monthly searches with it. To leverage the power of image searching, don’t neglect Pinterest in your marketing efforts, and optimize your site (and social) images for SEO.
If your current campaigns and advertising don’t align with these trends, don’t fret. Slowly apply these changes to your marketing efforts. As long as you’re keeping a thumb on the pulse of current marketing trends — and remain open to change — you and your business will never fall behind. In conclusion, 2019 is going to be a big year for marketers but only if you keep up with the trends.