Voice search and voice control have changed our landscape over the last couple of years. From the phones in our pockets, to the speakers in almost every room in our homes, asking questions out loud to our devices has become the new normal.
Smartphones still hold the lead for voice assistant access because they are always with us, and because speaking into a phone already feels natural. But today, our homes, offices and automobiles are the battleground for many large tech companies. Amazon alone has sold over 100 million Alexa devices (Alexa is also available inside more than 150 third-party devices, as well, from smart speakers to refrigerators). And let’s not overlook the fact that people actively choose to buy devices with Alexa, while their smartphones simply happened to come equipped with a voice assistant.
Basically, people buy Alexa-enabled devices because they want Alexa, but they likely aren’t buying iPhones because they want Siri, per se.
Speed is also an important factor when it comes to voice search. The average person can type roughly 40 words per minute, but we speak at an average rate of 150 words per minute. That’s a huge efficiency gap. With the advent of voice search, consumers are discovering that answers can be found faster if we just ask our questions out loud.
Whether it’s the need to test Skills and Actions inside Amazon and Google’s voice assistant marketplaces, or optimizing to be the spoken answer by one of these services, voice has captured the attention of everyone from the CEO to the SEO.
For the search engine optimization specialist, this is a game of technical efforts meeting content—and consumer intent. For the CEO, this is about engagement, market share and owning a consumer’s top-of-mind awareness. Brand awareness will be more important than ever as companies compete to have consumers “say my name” out loud.
In fact, data from Google suggests that people are beginning to treat their voice assistants more like friends and family. In a study from 2017, Google found that 41% of respondents who owned a smart speaker felt that it was like talking to a friend or another person. This same survey uncovered that 52% of those respondents want to receive information on deals, sales and promotions from brands via their smart speakers. That human desire to treat these devices as a friend will ultimately translate to them treating brands that are useful in the same way—with trust and loyalty.
Now that voice search has a firm foothold in our lives, we should look at what’s coming next. The visual side of search is heating up, with several screen-enabled devices already in the market and enjoying popularity. No look into this future would be complete without also mentioning AI-powered chatbot systems and augmented reality.
Chat is poised to take over customer service, help with sales cycles and manage any number of other consumer touch-point engagements for us. And augmented reality is where every bit of data about your business will be needed to help consumers discover you on their daily journeys. If you’re not managing the data about your business effectively, it becomes fragmented, inaccurate and less trustworthy.
With answers merely a question away from consumers, it’s never been more important to be technically accurate and trustworthy.
To find out more about voice search, get this free ebook on how some top digital marketing experts are using voice assistants in their day-to-day lives. For more Yext insights, visit our resources page too.