Talking to Technology: The Rise of Voice Advertising

When search technology first entered the market, brands were slow to realize the value of digital channels. With voice integration, search is given new life, and brands have a new opportunity.

Google says it will be years before the company is ready to monetize voice search, so you have the time to get started and get it right.

Is It Too Early to Invest in Voice Advertising?

Any change that involves a serious reworking of your existing content portfolio deserves a more than surface look. With voice advertising, the potential market has expanded rapidly. In terms of adoption, voice advertising goes hand in hand with mobile and adds in smart speakers.

Every smartphone on the market includes access to Siri or Google’s voice assistant. In addition, smart speakers, some that add Amazon’s Alexa to the mix, are projected to be in half of all American households by the end of 2018. With so many users already positioned to respond to voice advertising, early marketing adopters have a real opportunity, particularly for certain use cases.

How Consumers Use Voice Assistants

What people use voice assistants to accomplish should play a big role in how you approach this marketing channel. Since delivering relevant content is always the goal of search technology, in voice or typed modalities, the current use cases for the technology should play a role in any optimization and advertising efforts. The most common uses for VA tech include:

  • Music
  • Weather
  • Scheduling/Alarms
  • Asking Fun Questions
  • Online Search
  • Accessing the News
  • Asking for Directions
  • Checking Traffic
  • Shopping
  • Food Delivery
  • Travel Research

This list is not exhaustive, but it does cover some interesting options for brands seeking to connect with consumers. If you have a local store, optimizing for voice means easy access to directions and showing up on a list for nearby shopping options.

Optimize, Don’t Advertise

With monetization a distant cloud on the horizon, it’s important to realize that advertising through voice doesn’t mean the same thing as it does through other channels. You can’t pay for a spot and have a voice assistant play your recorded message. What you can do is optimize your digital content around the natural language used in voice search.

Preparing for Voice

When first exploring search engine optimization, keyword research and how to properly focus on specific searches was a big part of the learning curve. For voice, that process starts all over. Users talk differently than they type. Effectively using voice search for marketing starts with a better understanding of how this search technology works and how to rank high enough to make the spoken list.

Start Local and Interactive

For most brands, voice search today comes with two basic types of opportunities. It can help funnel foot traffic to your store, or it can help build awareness and encourage additional interest.

With voice-friendly local listings, easy reservation systems, and the ability to check store stock without a visit to the website, brick and mortar locations can offer frictionless buying via mobile. Restaurants, beauty salons, big box stores, and other retailers can all benefit by streamlining buyer journeys with voice.

When you don’t have a brick and mortar location, you can still use voice to build engagement and awareness. Asking fun questions and online search are some of the top ways users engage with voice assistant technology. Be a source for information about your niche, and you could add another line of communication with potential customers.