Ensuring our clients win in today’s rapidly evolving digital economy is what drives iProspect every day. This means we have to be focused not only on identifying key industry trends, but also on staying ahead of the curve. We recently explored one such trend that is showing no signs of decreasing in importance: voice search.
iProspect experts in London spent two months gathering and analysing data from 1,181 UK consumers to create our latest whitepaper, The Future is Voice Activated. At a breakfast briefing hosted by CEO Stefan Bardega on 6 September, we revealed the results of this proprietary study and showed that while voice search is indeed the future, it’s time to join the conversation today.
Head of paid search, Scott Abbott, opened with an overview of the study: “We know through our research that 57% of interactions are via a mobile device, compared to only 13% done on connected devices such as Amazon Echo and Google Home. So the question is: how can brands personalise targeting and messaging to be relevant, particularly across all demographics?”
With 35 to 54-year-olds using voice search as much as 18 to 24-year-olds, it is clear that brands need a wide net as they look to create or expand their voice search strategy. Jack Swayne, chief strategy officer at iProspect UK, explained there are three key implications for brands when it comes to voice search and echoed Scott’s point about personalisation.
“The first implication is to embrace the long-tail conversation. If you look at an industry such as travel, a user might have a query such as ‘What is the cheapest flight from Manchester to Las Vegas’ and there is likely to be an ongoing conversation in this search.
“This then leads to the need for personalisation. Mobiles are the most personal devices we own and expectations are very high. Brands, where possible, should utilise first-party data to help manage declared intent and match this with the right content. The final implication is making your brand discoverable for voice search. For example, the introduction of semantic or schema mark-up, which is a type of code, can be a quick win that brands can implement today.”
The final segment of the morning featured a panel, chaired by our head of product, Caroline Reynolds, who was joined by:
Caroline asked the panellists whether voice search should prompt brands to invest more in the future.
From a client perspective, voice search is vital for future strategies, explained Benjamin at Diageo. For the global drinks brand, it is exciting to be able to mirror a user’s language and really get into the insights in a conversational way. The opportunity to frame occasions when people might enjoy a drink at home means the process is driven less by utility driven and more by intuition.
Mark from BrightEdge agreed and said that despite 69% of their customers not having a voice search strategy in place, brands should not panic. However, he did raise that in three years when it is projected that 50% of search will come from voice, it will be disappointing if brands are still calling it a ‘voice search strategy’! It is therefore important to build a complementary content infrastructure now.
For Simon at Google, voice is very much an additive quality: “When you look at mobile devices, which are now with us in our daily lives more than ever before, brands should think about situations that warrant the use of a mobile and how to leverage voice more as a result.” However, there are still complex tasks, such as researching a holiday, which are easier on a desktop.
The final point was on monetisation and what this will look like for brands in the future. Adrian at Bing shared a stat that reinforced the popularity of voice search for certain demographics: 740,000 people in the UK over the age of 65 are using voice search. This definitely demonstrates that voice search is indeed significant, and as most interactions are still happening where search results pages are present, there is existing monetisation to consider.
The insight from the panellists and our dedicated iProspect experts highlights that demand for voice search is high. While there are already many opportunities for brands to integrate it into their existing strategies today, brands should also ensure they are prepared for tomorrow because the future is, most definitely, voice activated.
For more guidance on preparing for the soon-to-be greatest tech boom in search history, download the full whitepaper here.
If you missed the Breakfast Briefing, you can watch it in full below: