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OK Google, Is Voice Search Really as Popular as They Say?

Amazon alexa

At one time it was the stuff of Sci-Fi movies, but voice search and assistance is here to stay, and it’s growing. Gartner predicts about 30 percent of all searches will be done without a screen by 2020. In fact, Echo Dot, a smart speaker in the Amazon family was the best-selling product on Amazon during the 2017 holiday season, according to TechCrunch.

Alexa (Amazon), Siri (Apple), Google and Cortana (Microsoft) are the names becoming more common in everyday lives as people ask for directions, recommendations and even purchase items through voice assistants. According to Google, 72 percent of people who own a voice-activated device use it as part of their daily routines. This familiarity and personalization for voice assistance is changing the search terms, making them more conversational and casual.

For example, instead of typing in “clothing stores near me” into a search engine, it’s more like “Hey Alexa, my jacket ripped. Where can I buy a new one for a good deal?”

At Lukas Partners, we counsel clients to seize opportunities to tap into the growing market of voice technology. There are a few things organizations can do without launching an entire marketing campaign to stay on top of voice search queries.

Mobile voice-related searches are three times more likely to be local-based than text-related searches, per Search Engine Watch. This means organizations of all sizes could look at their current SEO strategy to ensure it also includes conversational phrases to match a more conversational voice search.

Voice assistants are increasing web traffic, and since they are often verbally reading top results back to users, the importance of conversational language is more relevant in storytelling techniques used for blogs and other site content. We are no longer writing for the eye. The ear is listening as well.

Smart speakers are providing new opportunities for building and strengthening consumer relationships. For example, on Amazon, you can download “skills,” much like apps on a smartphone. These skills can keep track of your grocery list, play music, order pizza and so on. Purina, a national pet company, has “a skill” to find the ideal dog breed that fits best with your family and lifestyle. Using Siri, PayPal customers can send money by simply saying “Hey Siri, send Joan $30 using PayPal.”

Voice assistance users like the speed, convenience and quality that come from their new-found artificially intelligent friends, and they are left wanting more. More than half of voice-activated speaker owners would like to receive information about deals, sales and promotions from brands, according to Google.

Right now, Amazon and Google have cornered the smart speaker market, but it would not be surprising to see other brands embrace the technology, given the growing popularity.

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