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Getting the first word in voice search

By Olivia Atkins | Writer

November 9, 2018 | 3 min read

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Voice search technology has continued to grow of late, bringing many opportunities for brands to explore. In a report published by The University of Hertfordshire and Pi Datametrics, CTO and co-founder, Jonathon Earnshaw, sets out how and when consumers use voice-activated search, also considering the sort of consumers that are most likely to use the technology.

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In a world of omnichannel marketing, it’s no wonder that shoppers are becoming increasingly distracted and disloyal to brands, however voice remains a powerful format for conducting brand searches and encouraging consumers to purchase.

“Voice is going to revolutionise search,” said Earnshaw, with the report predicting a significant rise in voice searches by 2020.

This will create numerous opportunities for brands, as voice searches are convenient and easy to use as well as being able to entice new audiences for brands.

Baby boomers and Gen Z are among the biggest users of voice technology, even becoming known as the “voice-first generation.”

From Alexa, to Google Assistant, Siri and Microsoft Cortana, consumers are seemingly embracing smart devices. But brands need to optimise their voice search technology and anticipate customer questions and provide information accuracy to improve a consumer’s experience of the voice tech.

Research revealed that voice search users predominantly asked for specific websites, followed by travel and recipe requests via their smart devices, something that will help brands understand how consumers used the technology. The research also suggested that the publishing, grocery and retail industries will suffer as a result of growth in this technology.

Questions remain over whether voice technology can be used as a shopping strategy for brands, although obviously they would have to consider how shoppers could navigate the screenless medium and whether they would trust purchasing products on it.

Certain suggestions for building a voice brand awareness strategy include seeking out untapped voice opportunities; maintaining continuous presence in searches; and ensuring searches are linguistically relatable to users.

Other tips for brands making the most of voice tech include selling low value products, as taking consumers are less likely to make impulse-buys on high value items via a screenless device. If brands are keen to sell high value products, they should be able to offer consumers lots of information too. Brands should also think about prioritising most sold and highly reviewed products as these will be most trusted by consumers.

Ultimately, the report suggests that there’s undeniable potential in voice search and urges brands to look at possible steps into implementing it as part of their strategy.

Read the full report by filling out the form below.

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