If there is one piece of technology that has captured marketers’ imagination this year it is voice recognition. Amid the rising popularity of voice-controlled devices, including Amazon’s Alexa and Google Home, brands have jumped on the voice bandwagon – coming up with their own ‘skills’ (what Amazon calls voice-driven apps on the Alexa platform) and even, in the case of Burger King, using an ad to trigger voice searches on a viewer’s computer.
These are all valid ways of thinking about voice. Voice offers a new and innovative way to reach consumers that technologically advanced brands can take advantage of.
Domino’s Pizza, for example, sees voice as a way to sell more pizza and so has enabled customers to order directly through Alexa using voice. The brand’s digital boss Nick Dutch admits it isn’t seeing huge sales from the channel now but it expects to in future and is “preparing for the fact this technology will be something people use”.
However, perhaps the bigger transformation for brands is in search. Google claims 20% of mobile search queries submitted via its app are already done using voice. Meanwhile, comScore estimates 30% of searches will be done without a screen by 2020.
That will have a big impact on search results and therefore SEO strategy. Instead of consumers seeing a long list of results and being able to pick the most suitable one, most voice results will probably serve up just one answer.
The types of search queries are different too. When typing, people generally input queries such as ‘weather’ but in voice they might ask ‘do I need an umbrella today?’. That offers more context and therefore more chance for brands to show up relevant content, but that requires a change of approach.