Speaking the truth: the power of voice search
As part of The Search Awards Programme we hear from Ravleen Beeston, UK Head of Sales at Bing Ads who talks about the power of voice search.
By 2020, it is predicted that at least half of all searches will be made through voice[i]. This statistic marks a distinct change in consumer behaviour, marking a pivotal shift in how people engage with technology to achieve what they want to know. Nowadays, most devices people use in their everyday lives, both at work and at home, have an embedded element of voice search. For example, people can use voice search in their car to send a text message while driving, or speak to Cortana to add an appointment to their calendar. Using voice search is now becoming second nature.
With the changing shift in consumer behaviour, advancements in voice search are developing - specifically on mobile, as voice search becomes more frequently embedded within apps. Mobile is fast adapting to become the most personal and trusted device, becoming an extension of self and creating an arena ripe for personalisation. For instance, Microsoft has integrated Cortana into Windows 10 to power both text and voice search on all devices from your PC to your phone to the Xbox One. From this increased accessibility to consumers’ everyday touch points, search patterns and online behaviour, a shiny new web of connective fabric has been unveiled. This provides a host of valuable insight for marketers to help inform their advertising strategies.
Over the last 15 years we’ve learnt to express ourselves in very few words, for the purpose of search engines. But with the rapid growth of voice search, marketers now face an additional challenge of acting on the advancement in query types. For example, voice search queries tend to be longer than their text counterparts and often explicitly ask a question, with the expectation that the search engine will provide an answer back. The users’ semantic decisions provide useful context about their intent. This can provide advertisers with increased insight that text-only search could never provide. The spoken word has an immediacy, convenience and intimacy that draws out a different form of input from its users. Marketers will need to adjust their marketing strategies to match this demand and make the most of the opportunities this new technology presents.
At Microsoft, we provide brands with the opportunity to engage across different platforms, screens and services, empowering marketers with real connections at scale. We use search across our services to make them more intelligent by welcoming a wealth of data to better our understanding of consumer behaviour online. Bing’s evolving proposition is useful for not only those searching, but also those looking to engage a captive audience through personalised experiences. For us, search goes beyond the ‘blue link’ results and we believe that voice search is no longer a thing of the future – it’s here today. It’s time for marketers to make sure they’re ready to take advantage of the promise voice search can deliver.
Ravleen Beeston, UK Head of Sales at Bing Ads