My question to you: why type when you can talk? No, this is not a riddle, but a simple question that targets the new and increasingly popular trend of AI-driven virtual assistants.
How does it work?
Voice searches, aka screen-free, deliver a single audible result and prevent customers mindlessly scrolling through pages of results. Many consumers are already using the latest tech devices – i.e. Amazon Echo and Google Home – and opting for voice searches over typing.
This usage is set to rise.
Predictions by Gartner Research suggest that 30% of internet browsing will not use a screen by 2020. It goes without saying that this will have big implications on marketing approaches. Gartner forecasts that if brands optimise their websites for voice and visual search, their e-commerce revenue could grow 30% by 2021.
Did you know audio marketing isn’t brand new?
Think radio advertising in the 1950s. It faded in popularity when televisions and computers dominated, but with the ascent of podcasts, voice search and AI-driven virtual assistants, audio is the fastest expanding marketing trend approaching 2020. And of course, today this approach is targeted more than ever.
In the last couple of years, Google has increased its word recognition accuracy rate from below 80 to over 90%. Voice and audio tech are changing SEO practices, customer experience, and website traffic. So, if you want your business to stay ahead of the game, you need to be on board with voice and audio tech – and fast!
Here are our top tips:
1. Use content that mirrors natural language
When updating your website content, consider what customers are likely to ask e.g. ‘I want to know’, ‘how can I’, ‘where can I’, and mirror this language to increase the likelihood that AI-driven algorithms will put your website at the top of its search results.
2. Predict industry specific questions to elevate your SEO
To get high voice search engine rankings, you need to create content which will answer the questions presented by the consumers e.g. instead of using ‘weather’ as a keyword, think about what a searcher would say – ‘will it rain today?’ – and use this to shape your content.
3. Upgrade your content to audio to drive traffic
Podcasts are on the rise, so why not try converting successful older content into a podcast or video? This will give your customers an alternative way of absorbing the useful information. Next on the cards…an audio newsletter.
So what's next?
Interestingly, John Vary, futurologist (yes that’s a real job!) at John Lewis Partnership says: “Ultimately what we could see is a ‘brandless’ future, as consumers search by product rather than the label. This should give brands motivation to ensure that consumers are searching specifically for their product.”
For better or for worse, voice is changing the way people interact with brands. It has created a unique and optimized customer experience that will help foster relationships and build brand loyalty.
Plus, in the world of ‘time is money’, voice search interactions take a lot less time than text-based ones. Global sales of smart speakers are expected to have topped 100 million in 2018, evidence that people have been drawn to this new level of day-to-day convenience.
If you’re willing to put in the time and invest in voice strategies, your business could be rewarded with higher web traffic leading to a greater consumer reach.
Need help finding your voice? Contact Ian Reeves for more information about how Flourish can help adapt your business to the future of voice.