What is Voice Search?

 What is voice search?

Voice search is the way you find out about products and services using popular voice assistants like Google Home or Alexa. Unlike in the early days of the internet the default responses are usually offered up by the top level assistant like OK Google or Alexa.

– Why is it important?

How your company or brand comes up is influenced by the wealth of data sources these assistants use to power themselves and with the rise of voice search (58.6% US consumers using voice search according to Voicebot.ai) it’s never been more important to have a strategy for how your businesses ranks on popular voice assistants. Unlike a web search customers are likely to only hear the first listing rather than scan a list of results.

– Is it a growth industry – if so what stage are we at?

Very much a growth industry, smart speakers were the fastest selling consumer electronics item of all time and as we move into phase 2 these assistants are being embedded in everything from microwaves to TV’s and any other IOT device (you can currently buy 85,000 different Alexa controlled devices on amazon.com). We’re entering an era where you will be able to call on your voice assistant from wherever you are.

– Why is it relevant to businesses?

Voice commerce is due to rise from a $2BN industry in the US in 2017 to a $40BN opportunity by 2020 (OC&C). The macro trend is of consumers favoring convenience over choice. The quality of most goods and services has reached a broadly acceptable standard voice assistants capatalise on completing the transaction with less friction.

– Should smaller/growing businesses take note?

Yes, and there are gains for early movers in this space to ride the wave faster than more established businesses but with any technology investment you need to understand the gains in relation to the effort and investment required to move the needle.

– How does it differ from text search (non obvious ways if there are any)?

There are a number of challenging use cases for voice search. It’s terrible for image based search for example. However, recently Amazon released a new range of wearable voice assistants (a ring, glasses frames and earbuds) to give you access to your assistant on the go. This signals a direction where your assistant available through voice search has a lot more contextual information about what you are trying to achieve and you will end up delegating more tasks to this assistant.

– What do marketers need to do take advantage?

Start. The brands that have been experimenting for a while have a good view of the landscape, exactly where we are in the adoption curve and a voice strategy. You learn the most by doing and it will get you a leg-up on your competition.

To what extent is this a real opportunity for brands?

Humans respond better to a 2 way dialogue than one way messaging. With engaging voice experiences you can grow real brand evangelists and deepen the connection with the brand through experience or utility. We wrote an article about the part voice plays in the customer decision journey here.

– What is your golden tip for people looking to capitalise on voice search?

Good web SEO is a good start but think about how the voice landscape is going to evolve over the next 5 years and the opportunities for you to reduce friction for your customers.

About the author:

Charles Cadbury is CEO and Co-Founder of Say It Nowthe UK’s leading premium developer of Voice Assistants and Messenger Bots specialists in Natural Language Processing, the sub-field of Artificial Intelligence that enables computers to process and analyse large amounts of natural language data. Feel free to connect.