What’s faster than a keyboard, easier than a swipe, and doesn’t require any touch interface? Your voice. Alexa, play some music. Google, turn on the lights. Amazon has already sold over 20 million Alexa’s, and Google’s Home assistant has sold over 7 million units. Voice technology isn’t the QR code, it’s not some technology that is hot today but will be gone tomorrow. The adoption rate for voice is faster than an iPhone, what else can make that claim? With cost-effective models like the Amazon Echo Dot and Google Home Mini, marketing with voice technology in 2018 is going to be even more important for brands.
Voice offers an innovative way for brands to reach consumers, and plenty of brands have already jumped on the voice technology bandwagon. Domino’s Pizza has enabled customers to order directly from Alexa using voice. Burger King even has an ad to trigger voice searches on a viewer’s computer.
But even bigger than the clever ways brands are interacting with voice technology is the transformation it is having on search queries. Google claims 20% of mobile search queries are already done using voice, and that number will only rise. comScore estimates 30% of searches will be done without a screen by 2020. By that same year, it’s expected that the smart speaker global market will grow to $2 billion.
Consumers expect brands to be a part of this revolution. And we aren’t just talking consumer device companies. In today’s marketplace, every company is a digital company. You’re certainly familiar with the phrase, ‘there’s an app for that.’ Nearly all traditional brick and mortar companies have a digital presence, including your bank, car manufacturer, and local retailers. More than 35 million Americans use a smart speaker at least once a month. To compete in 2018, brands must start incorporating voice into their comprehensive digital strategies
All of that voice searching will have a tremendous impact on search results and SEO strategy. Rather than seeing a long list of results and expecting consumers to pick the most suitable one, most voice results will most likely serve up just one answer.
Voice technology also impacts the types of searches that users make. When they are typing most people generally input short queries like ‘weather,’ but in voice, they might ask ‘will it rain today?’. The longer voice search offers much more context, but for brands to benefit they will need a change of approach in their SEO strategy.
Marketers need to create keyword strategies that mimic the way real people talk and the way that they verbally ask questions. Take notes of frequently asked questions and incorporate the exact words customers use. Think about specific inquiries a potential customer might make rather than broad topics.
You’ve Got One Chance
Voice technology isn’t perfect, yet. In fact, 63 percent of consumers reported problems and frustrations. There is a learning curve to new technology. Sometimes users find the integration too difficult to set up or feel that the voice technology did not understand them. The fear for marketers is that consumers will blame them for their difficulties. While on the one hand brands want, and need, to take advantage of a popular new technology, they generally only have one chance to nail their voice experience with consumers. Many users say that they would not revisit.
How can brands tap into voice technology and deliver an exceptional voice experience in 2018? There are a few best practices to keep in mind:
- Be prepared: Anticipate the needs of your users. Put in the research during the development cycle. Listen and learn from early users in the design process.
- Be a Good Host: Make your users feel comfortable and welcome. Let them know where they are in the process. Guide them with what they can say or do at decision points. Remember Goldilocks? Give them just the right amount of information, not too much and not too little, at any given time.
- Be Natural: Voice technology should follow as naturally as possible. Look for ways to combine, simplify, or remove tasks. Review commands, responses, and confirmations to ensure consistency. Communication should be natural, and users shouldn’t have to learn a new language to communicate with the speaker or application.
In order to maximize growth and grow the engagement with their audiences, brands must incorporate marketing with voice technology in 2018 into their digital strategies. Brands should design their interactions with the user in mind, allowing the technology to achieve great experiences. Starting now will go a long way in being successful in the voice technology revolution.