Marketers across the globe are on the cusp of another technological revolution as the digital world makes way for voice search and its soon-to-be colossal impact on the way we interact online.
Yes, it’s been around for a while now (who isn't guilty of asking their phone how they’re doing and getting excited when it replies with a friendly, ‘I’m fine thanks, how’re you?’) but 2017 is making way for all kinds of companies integrating this technology.
The idea of being phoneless feels like a terrifying prospect, since the ability to find answers at your fingertips is effortless. Whether we’re looking for a nearby restaurant, the best hotels in Spain or simply how to boil an egg, the pressure on Google and other search engines to return quick, relevant and useful information is ever growing.
These so-called ‘micro-moments’ are connecting us closer than ever to our online resources and as a result, we become more and more dependent on them.
With results being compiled within a fraction of a second and the need for immediate resolution to the query, making sure your brand is within the top results for these moments is crucial. Despite continuous changes, to deliver a successful campaign, these three key factors - quality, reach and interaction - still reign in marketing. You need quality content, to reach the right audience, who will then interact with it.
Without question, amidst the ever-evolving world of marketing, quality content is not just a jargon term churned out time and time again but rather something that not only marketing experts strive for - Google and the general public are looking for this, too. With each update and algorithm, Google holds the power to push you right to the bottom of the food chain if your content isn’t up to scratch. This importance doesn’t lessen with voice search, but we do need to look more closely at our content strategies and the ways we can adapt.
Long-tail keywords are now more important than ever. The use of these keywords gives evidence to support belief that searches are more specific and therefore, optimising your strategy for this should theoretically be simpler.
Taking things back to the beginning, lies data. Before you can create quality content, research and data will be the foundations of your success for any savvy marketer. With long-tail keywords taking centre stage, we can begin to see that voice search will differ largely from search-box queries. It’s obvious to state a person can speak more words per minute than they can type. Adding to this, these search queries are then naturally more conversational and colloquial and with the prediction that by 2020 50% of search queries will be conducted by voice, the importance of these keywords is growing.
As a result of smarter technology, the opportunity to adapt your content to satisfy a larger audience is one to grasp. It not only increases your percentage of visitors, but also their satisfaction with your content is invaluable.
This means creating semantic content in order to keep ahead in the voice revolution. Figures are showing that it won’t be long until our personal assistants can not only tell you the weather for tomorrow, but that if it’s raining, where you can also buy an umbrella or if you need a taxi booking due to events in your calendar. Going beyond the search query and adding more related content will provide an excellent user experience when it comes to voice search.
Other content types we can consider when adapting to voice are Q&As and product/service reviews as these micro-moments demand quick answers.
For example, if you have a cooking or kitchen business, having content around recipes and ‘how to guides’ will increase your authority on that subject and provide potential customers with useful information. Reviews and testimonials further establish the credibility of your products or services and help answer potential customer’s micro-moment questions.
Something all campaigns strive for. Effort and time is wasted if you have great content which doesn’t reach enough, or the right type of audience. While all campaigns have varying audiences and requirements, a successful campaign will endeavour to understand its market in order to gain traction.
2015’s This Girl Can campaign took the health and fitness sphere by storm. Achieving 100% exposure to their target audience, 2.8 million women who saw the campaign took part in sport.
The campaign aimed to tap into the everyday female and make them feel a part of a community. Embracing every size, shape and age, immediately opening up the possibility for a large target audience, led to this campaign’s success in reaching thousands of real people who were actively interested in being part of the movement.
Although on a huge scale, this campaign proves that understanding your audience and investing time to truly grasp the needs and wants of your consumer will place you on the right path for success.
Research shows that in 2017, 76% of adults in the UK own a smartphone and the number of 4G mobile subscriptions rose to 52.4 million.
Growth in voice-led location based queries opens the door to new opportunities for businesses far and wide. According to the Internet Trends Report, in 2016 22% of voice searches were for local content and information.
Combining this with an estimation that 60% of voice searches are being performed on a mobile device, optimising your content strategy for both mobile and location is a must in order to take advantage of this growing market.
In order to reach this audience, smaller businesses that don’t necessarily have the budget need to make their presence known to directories, comparison sites and make use of tools such as Google My Business.
Strengthening your game further in the face of new technology is making sure your content is optimised for not only Google but Bing too. Amazon Echo defaults to Bing and although this is not yet an official partnership, with Google making its own mark in the personal assistant game, a partnership with Amazon would seem unlikely. Don't forget that Siri uses Bing as its primary search engine.
Pushing your marketing campaign into the realms of success can be measured by the interaction you receive. Once you have quality content, followed by a large audience, comes the value of interaction. It is this engagement with your content which not only brings in business but the way people use and respond to your content will also provide valuable and unique data to help understand your consumer’s needs and wants. One form of interaction is social media; a game-changer that businesses, small and large, are rapidly turning to, to drive online results.
Interaction online comes in various shapes and sizes. Sharing, likes, hashtags and click through rates are just a few ways in which social media allows interaction, and the web has opened up the arena for ways companies can assess the success of their content.
Using the example again of the This Girl Can campaign and how they got 1.6 million women exercising, highlights the power social media interaction can have on success. The initial 90-second ad was viewed more than 37 million times on Facebook and lead to 660,000 tweets. Not only did the interaction lead to irrefutable success, it also created a user-community strengthening the customer-brand relationship.
According to NPM’s smart audio report, 57% of people have ordered an item through their smart speaker. Companies such as Ryanair, who recently announced they are enabling Alexa to allow customers to search for hotels and flight information on their site. Pizza chain Domino’s are beginning to allow their customers to verbally place an order in conjunction with Amazon Echo. With this in mind, you have to ask yourself, can your site provide a call-to-action? This opens up the opportunity to get ahead of the game now and make sure you have content on your site that allows people to buy your product or book an appointment for one of your services.
So, with Christmas just around the corner and the strong possibility that there will be a rise of home assistants going forward into 2018, the time is now to make sure your content strategy is prepared to succeed in the face of new technology. With the figures showing that people are willing to make purchases through these devices, it highlights that voice is trusted to directly bring in business.
Looking at the technologies taking form as we near the end of 2017, there is more and more evidence to support the strong consumer desire for a hands-free lifestyle. With the emergence of products such as the drone-like selfie camera coming and the potential to link these devices with voice-led assistants, commands such as ‘Alexa, could you take a photo of us?’ may be closer than we think.
Further information on voice can be found here.
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