Creating a voice search experience for your brand
The last thing I said to my phone was “Hey Siri, what are the best recipes for chocolate chip cookies?”
I was hungry and curious to know whether I had all the right ingredients. My voice search yielded two results, and I ended up making the cookies from the top result because it had the highest reviews, and I did have all the ingredients.
Two years ago, I probably would have typed that search into a browser and possibly looked through dozens of recipes, but with the rise of AI-enabled voice search, more and more consumers are finding it’s much easier to talk to their devices than type out queries.
In fact, according to Gartner, by 2020 voice search will account for 30% of all web-browsing sessions.
Right now, 25% of Americans have access to smart speakers, such as Amazon’s Echo, and by 2020, that number is projected to be as high as 75%.
Hyperadoption is the term experts have given the unprecedented increase in voice search, and as consumers increasingly become comfortable with new technology, brands that create customized, helpful voice search experiences during these early days will probably become the businesses that earn those coveted top spots in voice searches.
Content produced in collaboration with Ruder Finn.
Voice search is simpler
So why are so many consumers clamoring to adopt voice search?
For starters, it’s much simpler to talk to a device than to tap keys or screens.
Voice search also makes it much easier for consumers to to find the goods and services they need when they’re driving or otherwise occupied. Easy-to-use voice search is also incredibly appealing to the elderly, people with impaired mobility or sight, and even just younger audiences, who are often quicker to adopt new technologies than their parents.
And whereas voice search may have started out as an easy way to pull up a song or turn on the toaster, more and more, consumers are using their connected devices to search for businesses and even make purchases. And companies that offer consumers fun, personal experiences via smart speakers or other voice search-enabled devices are the ones customers will most likely ask for by name.
And can make brand interactions more personal
Typing “Good thai food downtown” into a search engine will probably yield some business names, customer reviews, and provide some links to restaurants.
But saying “Hey Alexa, what’s the best Thai food near me?” is a much more personal experience, more akin to asking a friend for a restaurant recommendation than asking a search engine for results.
Customers who use voice search are looking for personalized experiences that provide immediate value. The widespread adoption of AI-enabled devices is set to completely change the way companies interact with consumers.
According to Niraj Dawar, professor of marketing at the Ivey Business School.
“AI assistants will transform how companies connect with their customers,” Dawar writes for the Harvard Business Review. “They’ll become the primary channel through which people get information, goods, and services, and marketing will turn into a battle for their attention.”
But it’s a race to the top
A huge part of winning those coveted top spots for voice search is creating unique, memorable experiences that consumers want to ask for.
For example, Bayer’s Science Studio recently created a Skill for Amazon Alexa that focuses on kid-friendly experiments that can be done using household items, such as building an Alka robot or making slime.
While users might not think to say “Hey Alexa, what should I do with my bored kid while it’s raining?” thousands are now using the Skill for fun experiences and even homework help.
Getting customers to ask for you by name is key
Another important way to get to the top of voice search results is to encourage customers to ask for your brand by name.
Saying “Hey Alexa, where’s the closest pizza” might not put your business in the top spot, but having customers ask for your pizza shop specifically is a sure way to make sure you’re beating out the competition.
That’s why pizza chain Domino’s has been an early adopter of voice search technology. The brand recently created a Skill that allows customers to order pizza by using just six words: “Alexa, ask Domino’s to feed me.”
Asking for Domino’s by name means that customers can order from the closest location much faster than online ordering systems that require imputing a lot of information or, gasp, calling a location on the phone (does anyone even do that anymore?)
Brands that invest in creating personalized, engaging voice search experiences early, like Bayer’s Science Studio and Domino’s, are probably the ones that will see the biggest returns on their investment, as the space is currently relatively uncrowded.
For more information about how to create a customized voice search experience for your brand, download Ruder Finn’s white paper “Giving a Voice to Your Brand.”
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