The Year of Voice. If the decade-long ‘Year of Mobile’ was any indication, we’ll be hearing this statement for quite some time. It’s unquestionable, though, as marketing professionals and business people, we need to make our Voice roadmap a priority. From interns to the C-suite, understanding the broad categories will help advertisers organize how we want to think about Voice trends and implications.
As a performance agency, we focus on Voice in three distinct ways:
- Voice Search
- Voice Advertising
- Voice Productization
How do we see each?
There are so many “right now” implications for Voice Search. First and foremost, Voice Search via digital assistants and devices means more complete sentences, long tail phrases, and actual questions (where is Ask Jeeves when you need him?). Search professionals must consider:
- Updated optimization and campaign build strategies for paid search to capture the long-tail queries.
- More conversational content for websites, landing pages, and even social media content. This impacts content calendars, copy, and the strategy around how many paid search landing pages are needed. For the latter, it implies that dynamic landing page solutions are even more important.
- The importance of website markup language being up to date and well thought through. We want digital assistants to understand us, just as we want to be prepared to understand the user.
As Voice queries increase, search engines layer on more AI, trying to add in context; past searches, current location, and more. They’ll try to better predict needs and be more personal (to the extent that someday, you won’t even have to search it). So, we need to better understand what customers truly mean:
- With more long tail searches creating an unmanageable volume, group them into types, trends, etc to define intent.We do this with our proprietary Audience Intent Analysis.
- For the spaces in which we can’t yet perfectly predict what the user intends, AB and multivariate testing in real time become very important.
- Did you pick up on that “current location” bit above? It has big implications for Local Search as well. More on that later from Ryan.
Our resident expert, Ryan Gudmundson, will tell you more about the intricacies of Voice Search in his Voice Search series of Insights posts launching next week. He’ll cover things like Voice impact on local search, Voice implications for schema markup, and why Voice trends may mean less traffic to your properties, yet better business results.
While Voice advertising doesn’t feel as right now, there are certainly right now implications. Of course, the logical question for a performance agency is what are the opportunities to advertise within the Voice Search experience without making users head-explodingly angry? All growing technologies face this dilemma.
Last year, Amazon killed ad integration and ad network integration in its Skills platform. Google home tried to test ad integration on the sly and it didn’t go over so well.
So if acceptance of ads in the Voice experience isn’t happening anytime soon, what can advertisers do? They need to create Voice experiences rather than interrupt them. This requires heavy strategy and innovation. Could you develop a skill? Create ads that interact with Voice experiences? How could you leverage things like Alexa for work in the B2B environment?
So now we see that many ways, Voice advertising today is actually Voice productization. With 50% of all searches estimated to be Voice Searches by 2020 (ComScore), we can’t ignore it. By integrating Voice productization into our roadmaps, we will ensure we stay on top of the innovation necessary to stay relevant. Think through Google actions, Alexa skills, and more. What makes the most sense for your business? Do you have the internal expertise to bring a product to market or a dedicated partner (like our sister agency Sitewire) who can get you there? Now is the time to start brainstorming.