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Unravelling the vital conversation between your product and voice tech

By John Campbell, Managing Director

TIPi Group


The Drum Network article

This content is produced by The Drum Network, a paid-for membership club for CEOs and their agencies who want to share their expertise and grow their business.

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October 22, 2021 | 7 min read

Great branding for marketers is the golden ticket to create a strong visual identity for products to fly off the shelves, however, accurate product is labelling is just as, if not more important to be getting right. With higher than ever customer expectations set, particularly when it comes to allergy sensitive products, or ever-complex dietary requirements, granular information is a must when it comes to product labelling.

Rabbit & Pork present the opportunities in voice search for brands and highlight where there are gaps

Rabbit & Pork present the opportunities in voice search for brands and highlight where there are gaps

The power of not only brand discoverability, but up-to-date available information, is something that every brand should prioritise across every consumer touch point.

Voice is a crucial stepping stone to your brand

Research has shown that a sizable 30% of UK consumers have used voice search in the past month alone.

But what actually happens when a consumer using Voice technology asks a question about your product - is the information delivered correct?

In Rabbit & Pork’s recent FMCG voice search ranking report we tracked that in 85.7% of the results returned in the report, Google did not read out information from the brands’ official sites.

These non-owned results are where Google grabs the result from any website that contains the answer.

Websites need to be of a certain authority and quality to gain these results. But one very concerning point here is that users posting on popular forums or UGC websites could be providing these answers.

Brands that are yet to focus efforts on voice search optimisation run the big risk of delivering misinformation. Considerations such as can Alexa or Google recognise your product or brand name, is the information delivered correct, and where exactly is that information being pulled from?

How do brands know where to start with voice search?

The starting point of a voice search project will almost always be key phrase research. It's a similar process to traditional key phrase research for SEO, however there are a number of different tools and techniques to follow.

Firstly, use your own internal site search, or search console data. Internal site search and search console data can be a gold mine of questions that your customers have already asked. However, you need to filter to find the voice-friendly searches over generics. For example, an internal search of 'vegan' isn’t useful but 'is x vegan friendly?' is the type of query you are looking for.

Internal site search is often tracked by tools, such as Google Analytics and public search data can be gathered via Search Console or the key phrase planner in Google Ads. Search data can then be filtered by using regular expressions, such as are, why, how much, when and so on. You will then be able to effectively identify searches that are likely to be voice searched.

Secondly, free tool Answer The Public, can be used a couple of times again and will show you the most common questions associated with a ’seed’ key phrase. Your seed key phrases should be your product or brand name.

If your product has a generic name you might need to include an extra term as well. ’Skips’ will bring up questions about building skips, or the physical activity, so the user will need to search for ’Skips crisps.’

Many other SEO tools such as Search Metrics, SEMRush and AHrefs have similar tools that provide key phrases that will most likely answer questions. Such key phrases are the opposites to ’generic key phrases’. The ’voice friendly key phrases’ tend to be longer, conversational and will often start with one of the Five Ws – what, when, why, where, how.

Call centres are not only a source of questions but also a source of answers. Often customer service teams have pre-written content to answer questions from customers calling, emailing or writing in.

At Rabbit & Pork we’ve found that this source of data often doesn’t have a huge amount of coverage, however it will cover the most asked questions. For example, answer these questions and you’ll be covering off 90% of the questions customers have about your product.

Finally, ‘People also ask’ are the questions that appear in the search results on Google which are generated from people searching on Google - and are an excellent source of insight into what users want to know about your brand.

There are a couple of tools there that can extract this data for you including Also Asked and Search Reponse.

It's worth noting that PPA questions do change and evolve, so brands should revisit this data source over time to ensure you are up-to-date and making the most of this insight.

Understanding where your brand answers are coming from

Both assistants use a wide range of sources to answer questions. The majority of the answers for FMCG brands comes from scraping the web for answers. Google have been doing this for years to create answer boxes which sit at the top of search results on a web search.

One of the areas that Alexa struggles with is voice search. Google has the advantage of using all its search products in answering questions. Whereas Alexa uses more third-party integrations to supply information.

One solution to plug the gap is Alexa Answers. The platform live in UK, USA and Canada allows Amazon customers to answer questions that Alexa can’t answer. Users provide an answer which then is live on Alexa in minutes. Answers are then up and down voted to find the best answer.

Own the conversation

As you can see from our FMG Voice Search 2021 report, there are currently huge gaps for brands, in terms of what they are doing with voice search, and where opportunities lie. Taking complete control of your brand’s narrative and customer conversation is vital to any marketers' success; however, voice is unsurprisingly an easy touch-point to overlook, and it needs to not be. It should be a key part of planning from the start and form how you want to interact with your customer. With the growing rise of Voice usage, and certain brands already taking the front foot, it isn’t the time to be complacent with your Voice Search planning.

Download the Rabbit & Pork’s full Voice Search report, which focuses on FMCG brands, here.

John Campbell, managing director at Rabbit & Pork


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TIPi Group

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