Alexa, Siri, Cortana, Google Now: Digital Speech Recognition and Speech Control are fast becoming more popular in the everyday world with smart speakers and digital assistants spreading. They massively influence our search behavior and are the foundation of the next big marketing trend. What effect will voice have on marketing over the next few years? And how can you get your content ready for the next stage of the digital revolution?
Speech recognition and voice control were already experimented with in the 60s. But only in recent years, was the technology able to penetrate the mass market via smart speakers. Meanwhile, more than 20% of US-Americans use smart speakers – a figure that should increase to 50% by 2022. * Voice control is far more intuitive and easier than keypad input, and a great future is predicted for voice search. ComScore expects that approximately half of all search queries will be carried out via voice by 2020. ** As much as such predictions sound like a hype, they point in one direction – speech recognition and voice control will become a constant in everyday life – and therefore in marketing. Here are some voice marketing options that you should already be considering.
Think Target group: Young, open, tech-savvy
Especially for the tech-savvy millennials, voice search is increasingly replacing the keyboard. For 2019, it is predicted that 39% of Millennials will use a voice assistant in the US – an increase of 4% on 2018. But “Generation Z”, who have grown up with the smartphone, also use a voice assistant more than once a day, often in the company of family and friends. When you consider the market power that young people from these mid-90s birth cohorts have, this is not an insignificant amount. But even for older generations, the use of language comes with advantages, as it bypasses the use of fiddly small screens and keyboards. The growth of voice search in generation X and baby boomers is still sluggish, but here, too, the trends are pointing upwards.
Think customer journey: From search to sale
In order to get value from your investment in voice marketing, you should ask yourself: where during their journey do your customers use voice assistants? The bulk would be searches, and not necessarily with an intent to purchase. Although 20% of smart speaker owners in the US have already made a purchase through their device, voice search is still mostly used to gather information. Since voice search works differently than text search, companies lacking language-optimized content will remain unheard in the future. Those who want to keep an eye on their young, tech-savvy target group should also optimize their online presence for voice search.
Think structured data
Structured data is consistently formatted data that complies with the schema guidelines developed by the major search engines (schema.org). Structured data is becoming more and more important in voice-driven search and needs to be considered in the SEO optimization of website content. Local searches are often done using voice search. If info on a nearby café is required, you should provide important information such as location, opening hours or phone number all at once. Also, consider the differences between written and spoken language in voice search. Instead of “Café Vienna”, the question could be rather “Where’s the nearest café?”
Think content: long, short, easy to grasp
Anyone doing voice search wants one thing above all else – a quick answer. Therefore, loading times of your content pages should be as short as possible. Structure your content along questions and think ahead: What intention or desire lies behind the question? Instead of keyword lists, voice search works better with relevant context. High-quality long-form content provides better discoverability, while short, easy-to-understand information snippets take into account the decreasing attention span of those who search. No matter the length, stick to a simple, clear language, which should be based more on the spoken than the written word.
- Think brand language: a personal conversation
Direct interaction with the target group is becoming increasingly important, especially in times of smart speakers and language assistants. Therefore, think first how you want to lead this personal conversation. How do you want your brand to be perceived, how does it come across to potential customers? Again, a simple language and clear messages in a personal, conversational tone are key.
MARMIND Top Tips: Voice Marketing
Think in questions and answers – voice search is done by asking questions (who, where, when, how?)
Structure the data of your website – interested parties need to get all the necessary information at once
Simple and clear wins – always make everything you say easy to understand
This article is based on the following sources:
* Smart Speaker Consumer Adoption Report 2018