Nathan Sykes
October 11, 2018

From Alexa to Podcasts: The Power of Voice in Modern Marketing

The Power of Voice in Modern Marketing

Voice marketing, in general, is nothing new. Thanks to radio and television broadcasts, it has existed — in one form or another — for close to a century. But the format is evolving rapidly thanks to the emergence of new, modern technologies.

Smart speakers and voice assistants like Siri, Alexa, and Google Assistant have irrevocably changed the game. These voice recognition tools mean that a brand’s voice is becoming…well, an actual voice. Couple that with the popularity of streaming audio and media platforms like YouTube, Spotify, and Pandora, and you can instantly recognize that the power of voice in modern marketing is instrumental to success.

Statista projects that over 56 million smart speakers will ship out throughout in 2019. Closer to home, there were already over 43 million shipments in 2018 alone. It’s modern marketing in the age of Alexa.

Voice Recognition Tech: Closer to Consumers Than Ever Before

Over time, brands and teams may experience certain watershed moments where they’re given the opportunity to interact and move closer to their target audiences through important developments in the field. This is one of those moments.

Any brand or organization that wants to remain relevant in the foreseeable future must be prepared to invest in and enable voice search technologies. There are several reasons for the change, but we’ll just highlight the most important:

  • Voice assistants heavily utilize the Featured Snippet in web searches.
  • Voice assistant devices will soon yield more web traffic and search results.
  • They’re a completely new form of advertising, and they’re introducing even further opportunities.
  • They enhance consumer personalization thanks to voice recognition and user preferences.
  • They offer an entirely new and innovative channel for customer insights and metrics.
  • They’re truly cross-platform, available on mobile, wearables, smart speakers and a variety of connected tech.

But while many of these points are verifiable, they don’t quite explain what impact voice and voice technologies are having on modern marketing.

How Voice Impacts Modern Marketing

The biggest change in marketing as a whole is a push toward natural language and more direct speech. Almost 70 percent of requests to Google Assistant are expressed in natural language – not the usual keyword speak used for typed web searches.

Since voice will be used for human customer service through voice commands, web searches and queries — and also to shop through a variety of channels — it calls for an entire restructuring of the language and interactions used in conventional marketing.

Similar to the situation radio created, this evolution will see the rise of audio ads once again. A difference is that there will also be more contextual controls and experiences for customer support. Imagine a phone bot that can understand natural speech and communicate in the same way. Siri and Alexa are remarkably close. These systems will be designed to react and respond to varying commands as well – not just a single panned response. Consider a few:

  • “Alexa, buy this item.”
  • “Alexa, can you order this item for me?”
  • or “Alexa, I need item X.”

There are many more ways to make the same request, and these devices will be designed to recognize and understand almost every single one. That makes for challenging campaigns going forward, as it relates to accuracy. But it’s also exciting because it means that there are many new and engaging ways you can collaborate with your audience.

Through all of this change, however, voice search is the real deal.

How Do You Maximize for Voice Search?

While voice search isn’t everything — users can also interact in a variety of ways through voice technologies — the focus still boils down to a simple question. How do you maximize your exposure in the world of voice search? How, for example, do you ensure your brand or product is positioned at the top of search results so that when users conduct a voice query, your brand’s information is returned to them?

Search engines are expressly designed to return a single answer to users after a query or summarize a list of results. Generally, the first entry is what will gain the biggest advantage. That’s why there’s such a huge push to land in Google’s Featured Snippets.

But the algorithms don’t just grab the first answer they see with every search. They use a combination of the user’s search history and behavior, along with data about the most relevant answer. If a user favors a particular site, the voice tools will opt for that as the first response. It will be expanded upon and adapted even more as voice technologies grow.

Tips to Maximize Exposure

The following four tips will help you maximize your exposure in this field:

  1. Instead of targeting popular keywords, you should focus on the conversational nature of varying queries. Explore the many ways that users or audiences might search for a particular answer or piece of information.
  2. Start with the question and work from there. Develop and generate a series of questions that might be asked, then create content that corresponds to them. A great solution is to put together an FAQ or Q&A page.
  3. Remember that your site, pages, and channels must all be mobile-friendly.
  4. Mobile voice search takes into account local sources when dealing with proximity. Phrases like “near me,” have become ever more heavily used. So make sure you’ve established your location and local markets.

On top of all this, Google Assistant and Alexa are designed to customize the experience to each user. This feature means that relevant information may be given not only when requested but also at the opportune moment. Results may appear during a person’s commute, while they’re at work or even while they’re out shopping for groceries.

The customization matters because it’s another angle you could use to your advantage in your marketing strategies. What are your users doing when your content or promotions are shared?

The Future of Voice

You’ll need to adopt a more conversational tone going forward – both as a user and marketer. This is worlds apart from the what you’ve become used to with keywords and semantic search. You’ll now need to incorporate entire sentences, phrasing, tone, and general topics into your campaigns.

Furthermore, you’ll need a deep understanding of the modern user experience and how audiences interact and make queries using the related technologies. But this should not be daunting. After all, you are on the other side of search queries more often than not. Use your own search habits as a basis for what to expect when people are searching for your product or service.

These developments are all happening at the same time that media campaigns must be tailored for voice as well. In advertising, the way in which you go about creating audio experiences is much different than that for video or print. What’s more, the target platform must also be a consideration. Voice search is available on a huge selection of devices, from mobile and wearables to smart speakers and living room TVs.

It’s sure to be a big change that we all need to be ready for — without a doubt, the power of voice in modern marketing is becoming clear.

What Do You Think?

Have you already started considering voice search in your blogging and marketing? Is such a change on the agenda for you? Would you like to add any of your thoughts to the above? Please leave a comment, below. Thanks!


You may also want to readHow to Optimize Your Website for Voice Searches

Voice Search: It’s Not Just for eCommerce

Why Voice Search is Making Q&A Pages More Relevant Than Ever

Featured image: Copyright: ‘‘ / 123RF Stock Photo

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Nathan Sykes enjoys new technologies and the ways in which they can be used to enhance business strategies. Follow him on Twitter to stay up to date with his latest articles.