It’s no secret that the work we do as marketers and the strategies we deploy are widely dictated by changes and innovations in the wider digital and technology space.
Mobile web browsing overtook desktop search as smartphones got better and more accessible, meaning web developers, brands and search marketers were forced to be a whole lot more focused on designing, writing and marketing for the smaller screen. This is just one recent example – there are countless others.
As new technologies become available to consumers, those innovations have a direct impact on the way marketers and brands communicate with audiences. We’re seeing this happen with voice search right now as mobile use has evolved to replace typing with talking. Google predicts that voice search will be a key digital disruptor this year but it’s not just restricted to voice search from a mobile device.
The smart speaker or voice interfaces portion of the tech scene is rapidly advancing and growing too. More and more of the major tech brands are releasing dedicated products in this area with Google, Amazon and Sonos leading from the front. Data released in late 2018 by Juniper Research indicated that over 50% of all US households would have at least one installed voice interface within the next five years. By 2022, there will be over 200million devices like this in American homes alone.
Virtual assistants are nothing new. Apple’s Siri characterised this new genre of interface for us and has since been followed by the likes of Alexa and Cortana. Until now these artificial intelligence user interfaces have been predominantly search driven and had been focussed on providing a service powered through a user’s mobile device.
With smart speakers entering the mix and a new generation of wearable tech particularly the smart watch category continuing to find traction, these interfaces are becoming considerably more influential. They are a bigger part of daily consumer tech use and therefore, must be factored in to marketing efforts too.
Simply by acknowledging the sales trends and direction of the home tech and wearables tech innovations, it’s clear to see that voice interfaces and therefore voice search is going to be more and more significant for most retail brands. It must now be a consideration when search strategies are defined, keywords are selected and content is created. What is not so clear at the moment is how hardware/software companies producing these devices will link their interfaces with search engines and indeed if there will be any major bias in this area.
The development of voice search is at a very interesting junction and on that we’ll be keeping an eye on as progress deeper into 2019.