Five Examples of Top Trends in Voice Search Marketing
Just as mobile phones revolutionized the way that consumers use the internet, and in turn, the way we go about marketing for e-commerce, voice search technologies have the potential to do the same. The use of voice search technology is rising exponentially, with 41% of adults currently using at least one voice search a day and ComScore's projections showing that at least 50% of all online searches will be voice searches in 2020. In light of these statistics, it is necessary for businesses to keep up to date on voice search marketing trends to make the most of the new technology and stay ahead of competitors.
In the following, we will give some background on voice search technology, identify some of the top voice search marketing trends, and give concrete voice search marketing examples that you can implement in your own marketing strategies.
What Is Voice Search Technology?
Introduced by Google in 2011, voice search technology allows users to perform internet searches by verbally asking a question on a smartphone, smart devices, or computer rather than the traditional approach of performing searches by typing into search boxes on internet browsers.
What Devices Are People Using?
Although there are many examples of voice-enabled devices, the majority of people using voice-search technology do so on their smartphones or smart speakers.
1. Smart Phones:
According to ComScore, there are currently 179 million smartphone users in the U.S. who average about 2.6 hours spent on their device per day. Of these smartphone users, half of them engage with voice technology on their device, and 1 out of 3 engage with voice technology on their device daily.
Moreover, the trend is on the upward swing. Of the users surveyed, 47% of those who currently use voice search technology on their smartphones expect their usage to increase, 51% expect their usage to stay the same, and only 2% expect their usage to decrease.
2. Smart Speakers:
Smart speakers are, broadly, speakers that have a virtual assistant built-in, which owners of smart speakers interact with through voice recognition technology. Two examples of popular smart speakers are the Amazon Echo and the Apple HomePod. Examples of popular voice assistants include Amazon Alexa, Google Assistant, and Apple’s Siri.
A trend towards mass smart speaker ownership is on the horizon. As of 2018, 13% of U.S. households have smart speakers, but it is predicted that 55% of U.S. households will have Smart Speakers by 2022. Moreover, Gartner predicts that 30% of internet searches will be performed by devices without screens.
With this background in place, we can move towards our five voice search marketing examples of a top voice search marketing trend.
1. The “Where” and “Near Me” Query Trend
A voice search marketing trend that should be on the top of businesses’ watchlist is the response to the increasing number of local location inquiries. That the trend is toward more people making “near me” queries these days should be no surprise since, as described above, so many people are using voice technology on their mobile phones. Statistics show that people are three times more likely to search locally when using voice search over typing.
In fact, research shows that within the past year, 58% of consumers have found local businesses using voice search, and 46% of consumers repeatedly use voice technology to find local businesses on a daily basis. What does this mean for your business or brand?
It means that it is essential for brands to back up their keyword optimization with local information. Examples include making sure that your store is claimed through Google My Business. Moreover, you have to make sure that wherever you are expanding your brand’s reach, whether, through your website, ads, or your content marketing, you are optimizing for ‘near me’ queries that have become a staple of voice search usage and one of the most fertile grounds for voice search marketers.
2. The Keyword Optimization Trend
This might seem obvious, but we do not make queries with our voice the same way that we make queries through keyboard input, and this has consequences for keyword optimization.
According to Mary Meeker's highly anticipated Internet Trends Report for 2018, voice recognition technology has now reached 95% accuracy, and people are responding accordingly. Out of all voice search queries, the report found that 70% of these searches were done using natural or conversational language, at least when the spoken language was English.
The consequences of this shift in the way that questions are asked are extremely important to take into account when optimizing your keywords. It means that instead of the unnatural three or four-word queries that have characterized internet searching up until now (and, consequently, have been the basis for the way that we optimize keywords), consumer queries are much longer and, therefore, bring in the tail-end of keyword optimization.
Examples abound: instead of typing something like “Pizza Recipes” into google, people are saying things like “Hey google [or Siri, or Alexa], how do I make a good pizza?”
In fact, with the advent of voice search technology, people are making more question queries overall with the words “who,” “when,” “where,” and “how” showing the greatest increase of usage in internet searches over the past few years.
Taking all of this into account when optimizing your keywords, or seeking the help of professional solutions, is essential for success in the new age of voice search marketing.
3. The Voice Search Commerce Trend
Only one in five customers have actually taken the leap and made purchases through voice search technology. Moreover, only 1.32% of voice shoppers under 45 view voice shopping as their preferred method. The statistics look even meeker for voice shoppers over 45, with only .16% of this demographic listing voice shopping as their preferred method.
However, the prospects are looking up, and the statistics provide many examples to support this outlook. Studies by Martech indicate that within the next few years, 40% of consumers will use voice assistants rather than a website or an app, and 31% of consumers will use voice assistants rather than visiting a bank or a branch.
The rising trend in smart speaker ownership seems to bode well for these prospects as well. Owning a smart speaker seems to make the chances that a customer will make a purchase through a virtual assistant go way up. Studies show that 62% of voice-enabled speaker owners have made purchases through their virtual assistant. It should be noted, however, that these purchases tend to be stand-alone, lower value items, and often repeat purchases, with the three most commonly shopped categories through voice being groceries (20%), entertainment (19%), and electronics (17%).
4. The Amazon Domination Trend
According to an OC&C Strategy Consultants study, Amazon holds overwhelming power over the e-commerce and voice search commerce market.
Amazon smart speakers are expected to be in 55% of households within the next four years. This means that it is extremely important for products to hold “Amazon Choice” status. In fact, products that hold Amazon’s “Choice” status typically realize a sales boost of more than 3X, while products that lose Amazon's “Choice” status typically see a 30% reduction in sales. This is particularly pertinent to voice search grocery commerce where the majority of orders come from Amazon Fresh.
5. The Younger, Male, and More Wealthy Trend
According to Research done by J Walter Thompson, who conducted research into more than a thousand British voice-enabled device users, men tend to use voice services more than women, people aged between 18 and 34 are the most common age bracket, and those with incomes over 50K Euros are more likely to use voice-enabled devices than those with lower incomes. While the survey showed that only 37% of all smartphone users regularly utilized their voice assistants, it showed that 43% of men do. It also showed that 50% of people aged 18-34 utilize their voice-enabled devices and that 48% of those with an income of over 50K Euros did as well.
These should be particularly interesting statistics to nearly all businesses because they show that voice search marketing may be a useful tool for targeting a typically difficult demographic to reach through digital display advertising: young, affluent males.
A survey by Deloitte Global showed that 31% of Americans and 27% of Canadians use ad-blocking software on their computers and mobile phones. In both countries, men were more than 10 percentage points more likely than women to use ad-blocking software on their PCs.
The survey also showed that 20 percent of Americans and 12 percent of Canadians used mobile ad blockers for their cell phones, with 30% of American men and only 10% of American women using mobile ad blockers.
The survey also showed that the percentage of people using ad blockers went significantly up for those between 18 and 34 and people with higher levels of income and education.
Voice search marketing thus presents itself as a potential way to reach these difficult but important demographics.
Voice search marketing has not yet entirely come into its own, but there is little doubt that the next four years will show a voice-enabled revolution in the way consumers shop and the way businesses advertise and sell.