A groundbreaking study has found that almost 1 in 3 consumers will make a purchase using a voice-search device over the next year. The study conducted by Walker Sands tapped the insights of more than 1,600 US consumers and found that voice search technology is changing consumer behaviors, and these behaviors are changing the customer experience for retail brands.
The study highlights how 46% prefer to shop online rather than in the store. There are also 19% of consumers who already make purchases using voice-search. Experts say retailers are being forced to change their operations to adapt to the latest technology and to cater for online-based consumerism. Figures show that 77% believe the online customer experience will eventually overtake the traditional in-store shopping method.
Who needs fingers?
According to Forbes, a change has been happening in the SEO world over the past three years and is set to change dramatically in 2017 and beyond. According to a Google study, more than 50% of US teens and 41% of adults use voice search daily. This number is set to grow at a rapid rate as more and more people turn to voice activation rather than typing.
The launch of several digital assistants has seen the voice-search bubble grow at a rapid rate. Microsoft (Cortana), Apple (Siri) and Amazon (Alexa) have seen sales rise over recent months. Google Assistant is also proving extremely successful with one in five searches being made in the US using voice search.
Optimize for Voice Search
According to experts, marketing executives must optimize for voice search to ensure SEO success in 2017. A change is afoot. “Because voice-based search queries can be drastically different than typed queries, businesses will need to tailor their optimization efforts toward longer queries that fit with voice search terms, as opposed to shorter keywords that were common with traditional search,” Forbes writes.
Search Engine Land predicts that by 2020 more than 50% of all searches will be conducted by voice. Google says that more than 20% of its mobile searches were conducted by voice last year, and more and more customers are using the service daily. The website highlights three principal areas where voice searches are to be conducted and the areas the marketing industry should focus on.
- Focus on mobile: Improve page load speeds, remove intrusive interstitials, abandon drop-down navigation menus and format videos.
- Target long-tail keywords: Voice search queries will be longer than text queries. Take that into account and use more conversational language.
- Target featured snippets: Google shows answers at the top of the results in a featured snippet — sometimes referred to as position zero. Ensure you optimize for this service as it drives traffic.
Voice-search is on the Rise
According to prweb, voice-controlled or voice-search devices are on the rise, making technology a more integral part of consumers’ everyday lives. According to figures put forward by Walker Sands, smartphone penetration has reached a high of 78%, other device adoptions are also on the rise. Twenty-four percent of consumers own a voice-controlled device, and the percentage of electronic devices in the home is rising fast.
Experts say the “always available” ethos of organizations like Amazon has created a culture driven by speed and price. Free and fast shipping remain the top incentives for consumers to purchase online. Younger audiences tend to shop more in-store, so they can try on clothes and experience a hands-on service. As the shopper gets older, with less time to hand, they tend to switch to online. Voice-search caters for both markets.
Monetizing Voice Search
According to Search Engine Watch, the biggest challenge facing voice search providers is how to monetize it. The recent Beauty and the Beast ad controversy was seen as invasive but still managed to get in a plug for when the film was opening in theaters. The question of how to monetize voice search without proving such an annoyance is still being debated. Google is currently putting together a plan for the best way to monetize voice search and will set the wheels in motion in the very near future.