Find out if Voice is the Next Big Thing in Marketing and What are the Best Ways to Leverage it!
Voice search is one of the hottest topics in marketing right now. As I come home from work and tell my TV to play “Orange is the New Black” or ask my phone for the “best 5 minutes abs workout”, I can understand why we’re all buzzing about the next big thing. However, as you start to get deeper into it, the main question is actually how big it is and when it is.
How Loud Will Voice Search be?
While some predict an amazing growth of voice search, others are more skeptic. There’s definitely a certain amount of hype involved and some statistics should be taken with a grain of salt, however, it’s clear that the volume of voice search is on the rise. Whether we’re talking about mobile or smart speakers, it’s clear that users are getting more comfortable using voice assistants (eMarketer 2018). As Siri (Apple), Google assistant, Alexa (Amazon), Cortana (Microsoft), and the rest become a normal part of our everyday lives (no one scratches their heads when you talk to your phone or watch or other smart devices anymore), the question of how to leverage this for advertising becomes more urgent.
The next generation or the one after it will eventually be the decision makers, so it’s not about doing voice search marketing right now, but being ready for all steps of this innovation as they hit. Getting ready for it actually doesn’t need to take away from the current marketing strategies you’re implementing. The changes that some brands are already undertaking make sense and will help position them even if voice search doesn’t live up to its sometimes-glorified predictions. Here are the steps you can take right now without leaning too much into it.
Optimize Your PPC Campaigns
First of all, it’s important to find out if voice search is already generating traffic on your account. You should look for searches that start with “okay Google” or that mention other personal assistants. The voice search terms are usually longer and include a question, such as “where can I find the best burger near me”. There’s also a lot of local searches, as people tend to use personal assistants when they are on the go and don’t have time to type. After you identify whether you’re ranking for voice search, it’s time to optimize. Add keywords that make sense and add negative keywords for the terms that don’t bring valuable clicks. For example, if your search ads are triggered by “how many hamburgers can a person eat at once”, you should add this to the negative keyword list in order to avoid low quality traffic. At the same time, if you blocked a lot of question type keywords in the past, it’s time to review and clear out the negative keyword lists. The search queries are not just a great resource for keywords and negatives, they are also indicative of what your audience is looking for and can be used to understand their feedback. For example, if you have a product that often appears in “how to fix” queries, this is highly valuable as a learning.
If you don’t have experience creating PPC campaigns, make sure you check our blog about the proper campaign structure and priorities.
SEO for Voice Search
As mentioned before, the voice search is changing the form and purpose of search queries. How does this affect SEO? Including FAQ form of content on your website will allow you to target these question type of queries, as well as talk about the things your users are most interested in. This in no way takes away from the SEO we’re all used to. Having in mind the importance of local search, it’s crucial to use the platforms such as Google My Business or Apple Maps and combine them with traditional SEO principles (AdAge 2018).
On the other hand, with voice-powered devices that only deliver one return instead of a list of options, it’s important to update metadata to reflect the user expectations. Pandora’s director of data science, Siddharth Patil talks about the importance of keeping up with song searches based on the user’s mood or activity (Digiday 2018). As voice technology advances and audiences get more used to it, brands will have to find new ways to adapt to the new formulations and purposes. It’s important to keep up with voice analytics and optimize both organic and paid search strategies based on findings.
Voice-Based User Experience
One thing that seems to be clear in all predictions is that voice-based customer service is on the rise. While chatting with Alexa, Siri, or Google Assistant in the safety of your own home seems natural, how natural will it be at a larger, more public scale (Forbes 2018)? What seems like the best option is having an option and choosing the communication way that suits the user. You should be able to recognize when a chatbot is an option and when people need to talk to an actual human being.
Google Actions and Alexa Skills
Some of the best voice-enabled tools are the applications within the voice platforms, Google Actions, and Alexa Skills. These apps enable you to converse with the users, however, keep in mind that they should integrate seamlessly with your brand experience. It should, as always, keep the user in mind and deliver value.
While the rise of voice is sometimes overrated, it’s still too big of a trend to be completely left out. Embracing the integration of voice in the early stages will position your brand as a thought-leader and enable new ways of customer communication and feedback in the process.