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Trends to Watch: Voice Search

While not new, one of the most important trends to watch in 2019 will be voice search.  Your audience is starting to take advantage of Siri, OK Google or other voice search providers to initiate their online searches.  While voice search is still seen as being primarily on the consumer side it is moving rapidly to B2B as it gets wider adoption.

Here are some quick facts from Alphametic blog post that we should consider:

  • 1 in 6 Americans now own a Smart Speaker (Source: TechCrunch)
  • 40% of adults now use voice search once per day (Source: Branded3)
  • By 2020, 50% of all searches will be voice searches (Source: ComScore)
  • Google’s AI read over 2,865 romance novels in order to improve its conversational search abilities (Source: BuzzFeed News)
  • Voice commerce was a $1.8 billion retail segment in the U.S. in 2017 and $200 million in the U.K (Source: Voicebot.ai)
  • 20% of mobile queries are voice searches (Source: Google)
  • 72% of people who own a voice-activated speaker say their devices are often used as part of their daily routine (Source: Think With Google)

As you are reading these stats you are thinking, “Wow, that’s growing fast but people are not using it at work.”  Wrong! In this study by Stone Temple consulting, voice search is being used in the office both alone and with coworkers.

The next question quickly becomes how do I modify my current SEM campaigns to take advantage of voice search and maximize my results?  Here are some tips:

  1. Use Long Tail Search Terms:  When using voice search your audience will typically be asking a question or using a 5 to 6-word phrases. By looking at your current search terms that start with Ok Google or Hey Alexa you can see what voice searches your ads are currently be displayed with and what types of phrases your customers are looking for, so you can add those into the campaign.  Voice searches are often in the form of a question, so adding “who, what, where, how, etc” into the long tail is a good general practice.
  2. Negative Keywords:  When you look at your current voice searches, you will also identify areas where you can use negative keywords to tighten up the ad spend.
  3. New Keywords Based on Behavior: Think about how, what and why your audience would be searching for your products and services.  Test them out on your own voice search and look for unique ways that your customers might be searching.
  4. Test Voice Search Specific Keywords: Separate your dedicated voice search keywords into their own ad groups and write your ad copy to answer the questions your customers are asking.
  5. Mobile:  Make sure your site is optimized for mobile traffic! Most voice search is still be used on mobile phones.  And give the user the quickest route from the ad to the answer on the website they’re searching for. For example, if an ad group is targeting “how much is a pass to X event?” then link that ad directly to the passes and pricing page.

Voice search is here to stay and will become a larger percentage of search each and every year.  Now is the time to start investigating the current voice searches and their patterns so as it grows you are maximizing your search marketing results.