Marketers Need To Focus On Voice Search Right Now

Marketers Need To Focus On Voice Search Right Now

In this opinion piece, Performics Australia performance content account director Steve Robinson (pictured below) dives into the hazy relationship between marketers and voice-activated technology.

From settling family disputes, (“Hey Google, are fossil fuels really made from dinosaur bones?”) to running a household, (“OK Google, add toothpaste to my shopping list”), voice-activated systems are becoming more entrenched in family homes around Australia.

Google Home, the first to hit the local market in mid-2017, was a popular gift at Christmas.

Now, Apple HomePod and Amazon Echo are adding to the noise, giving consumers more options around aligning a smart device with the technology they already use within their homes.

The growing popularity of voice activated devices marks a new paradigm for marketers.

Just as mobile heralded a new era for location-based search, voice activated search is shifting the goal posts once more, with tactics like optimising for featured snippets and ‘near me’ phrases coming to the fore.

We’re entering a new era, in which marketers need to start optimising for voice – to help vocal searchers to find what they’re looking for. Have you started?

Following the US Lead

In the US, it’s estimated that the number of voice-enabled digital assistant users will rise by 14.1 per cent to 69 million in 2018, with 45.4 million of these users relying on smart speakers*.

Whether it’s via their smartphone or smart speaker, US consumers are using voice-enabled technology for things like: online searches (69 per cent), asking questions (67 per cent), making a call (61 per cent), finding a local business (58 per cent) and product research (53 per cent).

According to Google, the vast majority of people (72 per cent) who have a voice-activated device use it as part of their daily routine.

They see their virtual assistant as a means to multitask, get things done faster and find answers in an instant.

As the US experience shows, these devices are behaviour-changing. It won’t be long before voice-activated search hits its stride in Australia, and marketers need to be ready for it.

Challenges and Opportunities of Voice Search

The rise of voice search will require a shift in tactics for marketers who currently invest in SEO. Think about it. Voice-activated search doesn’t use Search Engine Results Pages (SERPs).

There’s no screen to scroll down; no scanning search results. Rather, your handy home assistant will throw up one answer – that from the holy grail of SEO, ‘position zero’.

Featured Snippets

Featured snippets (that is, position zero) are key to voice search success.

And figuring out how to rise above all the noise and get your search results up top is going to be a key challenge for marketers – particularly given that there is still no way of accurately determining which query will land at which featured snippet.

It’s still a volatile space; but by being aware of its importance now, you’re one step ahead in the race for voice search rankings.

Search Behaviour

Another challenge – given the infancy of voice search in the Australian market – is knowing how consumers will use their smart device to search up businesses or brands.

Will they be using it to order a pizza? Find out what time the local shopping centre closes? Look up a recipe and order the ingredients? Research new dishwashers when theirs breaks down?

Or, like mobile search, will we see a continuing trend for ‘near me’ and ‘opening hours’ type phrases to be used?

Early data coming from voice search says that these types of phrases will continue to be used, but may be woven into lengthier questions.

Instead of typing into a browser “Domino’s opening hours” you might ask, “What time is Domino’s open until?”

We’re seeing much longer search queries emerge, as well as the rise of long-tail search queries. This cool study from the States found 41.7 per cent of searchers use 5+ words; and 96.5 per cent of search queries have less than 50 searches per month.

In other words, they are longer and quite unique. These stats line up nicely with how users search via voice.

Voice Search Results

And we’re also seeing data emerge around how voice search works. This study on voice search SEO measures a range of SEO ranking factors – like PageSpeed, Schema

and HTTPS – and throws up some interesting results. For example, Google prefers concise answers to voice search queries, with the average result being just 29 words in length – and it’s written in language aimed at 9th graders. In other words, short and simple.

Getting Started

With voice search, things are changing fast. Marketers must keep a keen eye on the data that is being collected about how people are using voice-activated systems.

The good news is this data is growing day by day, presenting an opportunity to start putting plans in place to enable your brand to get a clear lead in the voice search revolution.

Brands need to start the research now and be ahead of their competition when it comes to voice search. This will be a game changer in Australia so now is the time to get on board.


* eMarketer’s 10 Key Digital Trends for 2018: Our Predictions for What Will Matter to Marketers.

Latest News

Slew Of New Promotions & Hires As Thrive Announces Melbourne Leadership Team
  • Marketing

Slew Of New Promotions & Hires As Thrive Announces Melbourne Leadership Team

Thrive PR Melbourne has kicked off the year with new appointments, promotions and a new leadership team, marking the delivery of a transformation strategy that’s seen the agency diversify and strengthen its corporate, consumer and integrated digital service offering in Victoria. Lead image:  (L-R) – Sophie Maguire, Melanie Campbell, Nathan McGregor, Zoe Raknes, Erika Rutledge, […]

Leos Appoints Clare Pickens As CEO
  • Advertising

Leos Appoints Clare Pickens As CEO

Reports of Pickens demanding new corner office with wingback chair greatly exaggerated, says Publicis PR team.

Russel Howcroft & Freddie Young Headline AdMission Podcast
  • Advertising

Russel Howcroft & Freddie Young Headline AdMission Podcast

Iconic Australian ad guru Russel Howcroft and industry up-and-comer Freddie Young from Good One Creative have today launched their experimental, no spin advertising podcast, AdMission, in partnership with 9Podcasts. AdMission tells the uncensored stories behind the world’s most talked about brands, ideas, campaigns, advertising news and industry screw ups, as well as offering sharp insight […]

CPR First Aid Study: Weight Loss & Healthy Eating Among Most Googled Personal Goals
  • Marketing

CPR First Aid Study: Weight Loss & Healthy Eating Among Most Googled Personal Goals

According to a new study from CPR First Aid has revealed that Aussies’ most Googled personal goal in the summer is losing weight, new research has found. Their next most researched summer objective is healthy eating, followed by drinking more water. This time of the year, Aussies want to stop snoring and quit smoking more […]

Twilio: Customer Data Platforms Are “Critical Foundation” For AI-Driven Customer Insights
  • Technology

Twilio: Customer Data Platforms Are “Critical Foundation” For AI-Driven Customer Insights

Businesses are integrating customer data platforms with AI and analytics to personalise customer experiences and drive business success, according to a new report from Twilio Segment. Lead image: Kathryn Murphy, SVP of product and design, Twilio. The fifth annual Customer Data Platform Report, which reflects the findings of anonymised usage data from Twilio Segment’s more […]

Word of Mouth Digital Welcomes Six New Brands To Its Growing Portfolio
  • Marketing

Word of Mouth Digital Welcomes Six New Brands To Its Growing Portfolio

Word of Mouth Digital, a Sydney-based full-service digital marketing agency, has announced the addition of six diverse brands to its expanding client portfolio. Lead image: Alex and Tash Williams These new partnerships span various sectors, including pet care, cognitive health, home construction, wellness, and retail, showcasing the agency’s commitment to fostering growth through strategic collaboration […]