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What Does Voice Search Mean for Your Business?


Hey Siri, are you single?

The popularity of voice assistants has been on a steady rise since Apple pioneered Siri in April 2011 (yes, it HAS been 7 years!). Since then, Google (Google Assistant), Microsoft (Cortana) and Amazon (Alexa) have also joined the game. International players are not behind. Chinese giants Baidu and Alibaba also have their own assistants (DuerOS and AliGenie, respectively). Who hasn’t tried asking Siri if she has a boyfriend or girlfriend? (“Why? So we can get ice cream together, and listen to music, and travel across galaxies, only to have it end in slammed doors, heartbreak and loneliness? Sure, where do I sign up?”) or if she watches Game of Thrones (“Who me? Siri, First of the Name, Siri Siliconborn of House Apple, Rules of the Alarms and the Reminders, Guardian of the Calendar Appointments, Keeper of the Ontologies, Flipper of Coins. Yes, I am watching”).

Smart speakers are taking over

While initially voice search was limited to smartphones, smart speakers are taking the world by storm. Amazon launched first such device (Amazon Echo) in 2014 and ever since then there’s been no going back. 10% of UK households already own a smart speaker, with OC&C Strategy Consultants projecting the growth to hit 50% of UK households by 2022. comScore predicts that that voice search will account for 50% of all search activity by 2020. These are big numbers.

Now, this still doesn’t mean much for your business. Who cares how many people talk to their devices and ask them to turn off the lights or to give them a compliment. What DOES matter for your business, is that while UK voice transactions through smart speakers are worth £0.2bn now, they are expected to increase to £5bn in the next 4 years. Even with the current 10% penetration rate, nearly half of owners (44%) made a purchase using their smart speaker in 2017. Groceries (20%), Entertainment (19%) & Electronics (17%) dominated voice shopping product categories in 2017 but as the popularity of voice e-commerce grows, so will the types of voice purchases.


Voice search optimisation

With the new type of search, new ways of optimising for search will inevitably emerge are already emerging. To rank in voice search, you need to rank in position #1 – there is no page one with 10 organic results. There is only result #1 and a “winner-takes-all” market.

Satisfying user query will be increasingly more intent-dependent. Google calls it “Micro moments”:  purchase moments, research moments, and discovery moments, just to name a few. Consumers experience them on average 150 times a day: I-want-to-know, I-want-to-go, I-want-to-do, I-want-to-buy moments.

With voice search, focus shifts to conversational, long-tail search terms and the meaning behind a query, instead of a specific keyword. What naturally spoken questions may customers be asking about your brand or products/services offered by your brand? Do you already answer such questions on your website? Do your pages trigger featured snippets? Have you mastered the use of Schema Markup?

Further down the line, brands will need to develop a “skills” strategy, alongside their other strategies. Voice-command “skills” for smart speakers such as Google Home or Amazon Echo can range from planning, ordering, looking things up, or controlling other devices (such as turning lights on or changing thermostat temperature).

Headache just thinking about it? Have a relaxing cocktail! Not sure what to go for? Don’t worry – you can consult Ask Patron, Patrón tequila’s new Alexa skill! Ask Patron will help you no matter the type, flavour, occasion or ingredients you have available. Feeling adventurous? “Alexa, ask Patrón to surprise me.”

The future is here.

Call us on 020 3773 9289 or get in touch to talk about the future, and what it means for your brand.