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What Is Voice Marketing?

What Is Voice Marketing?

Moritz Fischer

Moritz Fischer

June 27, 2018

Havas Singapore’s Moritz Fischer looks at the impact voice has on the marketing landscape in Singapore.

"Smart assistants have the highest adoption rate of any consumer device ever; one in six US adults owns one already."

Before we look at the impact voice has on the marketing landscape in Singapore, we need to understand voice.

What is voice?

The topic voice can be categorized in the following three sub-categories:

Voice Technology

To be able to communicate with machines, they need to understand us in the first place, which is where artificial intelligence (AI) voice recognition comes into play. In the past, poor recognition accuracy has been preventing this technology from taking off.

But not anymore: According to Mary Meeker’s annual Internet Trends Report for Kleiner, Perkins, Caufield & Byers, Google’s machine learning-backed voice recognition—as of May 2017—has achieved a 95 percent–word accuracy rate. That current rate also happens to be the threshold for human accuracy.

Voice Search

Today, Google Voice Search is fully compatible with dozens of products and applications. In fact, voice search has become an integral part of the Google experience and has even shaped how Google’s algorithms handle specific types of queries.

Even before voice search, users started to type in whole sentences or questions, instead of just keywords, in the Google search box. This was officially acknowledged by Google when they rolled out the Hummingbird update to their ranking algorithm, which basically put more emphasis on semantic search, or the implied meaning of search queries.

Today, more than 30 percent of all searches on Google are voice searches and comScore predicts that 50 percent of all searches will be accomplished by voice search in 2020.

Website owners should take this trend seriously and optimize their website, for voice searches with the following topics in mind:

Speed: Google ranks fast-loading websites higher than slower ones. Delivering a fast reply for voice searches is more important than ever.

Secure: Any website in 2018 should be secured through https, not just to rank higher but also to provide a secure environment for the visitors.

Concise and Simple: As with regular SEO, content is king both in long-form content as well as short-form replies that deliver simple, concise answers to user queries.

Relevance (Traditional SEO): The traditional website ranking is still the most important factor: If the search result ranks in the top three on Google, the result is extremely likely to be considered for voice because it is relevant to what users are searching for.

To summarize, voice search is just a logical extension of regular searches. As users look more and more for solutions, we will see those two concepts blend into one.

Smart Assistants

This is the third and final voice sub-category. This category initially began on smartphones with Siri and was shortly followed by Alexa (Amazon), Cortana (Microsoft), Google (Google Assistant), and others (such as Samsung Bixby).

With more and more households buying IoT devices, these Smart Assistants have easily found purpose in controlling devices within the house and beyond. In fact, Google Assistant (the most popular device in this category at the moment) can be found on the following devices:

  • Smartphones (both iOS and Android)
  • Smart TVs
  • Cars
  • Google Home
  • Android Smart Watches
  • Smart Home Devices

This also means that the central brain, in this case Google Assistant, has become a true omni-channel that can be deployed on almost any device that has either a screen and/or a loudspeaker/microphone.

Smart assistants have the highest adoption rate of any consumer device ever; one in six US adults owns one already. Globally, 500 million people are already using Google Assistant on a daily basis and this number is growing quickly.

The Google Home was only launched on April 18 in Singapore, so no official statistics are available yet, but a similar adoption rate is expected.

There are several reasons why smart assistants are so popular:

Ease of use: Although the user experience has greatly improved since the age of VCRs, setting up and using new technologies like Smart TVs can be a daunting task. Smart assistants, on the other hand, are set up in seconds and can be controlled by just saying, “Hey Google” (for Google Assistant), you can even ask it what it can do.

Intuitive: Conversational user interfaces (CUI), such as smart assistants, mimic our natural way of communicating, so interacting with them comes naturally.

Speed: At the moment, no other channel is faster in providing a solution than smart assistants. For example, Domino’s Pizza in the US allows customers to order a pizza by just saying “OK Google, order my favorite pizza from Dominos.” There’s no need to open a browser or login because everything, including payment, is handled within the Google ecosystem.

"72% of people with a smart assistant say their devices are often used as part of their daily routine."

Who are the main players in Singapore?

In Singapore, the Google Home is the only smart assistant that is officially available. The second biggest player is Echo from Amazon, which is not officially sold in Singapore and lacks local support.

What is the impact on consumer behavior and its implication on marketing?

Although smart assistants are relatively new, they already have had a profound impact on consumer behavior. There are several reasons:

Omni-Channel Experience

As mentioned, the Google Assistant lives on many different devices and has a central brain in the cloud that connects them all. This means, that I can ask for directions on my Google Home and it will send them to my phone, for example.

With this great opportunity for marketers comes a new challenge to build customer journeys that can work across different devices and different screen sizes.

As the importance of voice grows, the need to measure the impact on business results will become necessary. This means marketers have to add voice to their current analytic framework.

Shorter User Journeys

Searching for information is currently the biggest use case of the Google Assistant (example: “When is Deadpool 2 playing?”). This usually triggers a regular voice search.

But Google also allows brands to develop “actions,” which are basically advanced chatbots that can be accessed through the Google Assistant (“Hey Google, talk to Domino’s Pizza”). This means the user can go from discovery to purchase within seconds, without having to register or enter their payment information.

Easier Shopping

Fifty percent of people in the U.S. who own a smart assistant have purchased something through it and 25 percent are considering it. The ease of buying items (see above) is why the conversion rate on these devices is much higher than with traditional channels, especially for smaller items such as groceries. This obviously creates new e-commerce opportunities.

If I want to subscribe to Bloomberg online, for example, I have to enter my personal information, my credit card number, and confirm everything with an email link. On Google Home, I can just say “yes” and verify with a fingerprint when the service asks me if I want to subscribe.

Ad Placement

Google currently has no ad model for voice search. At the same time, PWC’s Consumer Intelligence survey shows that ads will be seen as an annoyance in the current customer voice experience. So the question will be: how will Google monetize voice search? Could one way be through paid or sponsored actions?

Consumer Studies

In a post from earlier this year, Google’s Head of Ads Research and Insights Sara Kleinberg looks at consumer behavior—as occured in the US, but we can assume that the insights are applicable to Singapore as well—and highlights how well received this new medium is with consumers.

  • 72% of people with a smart assistant say their devices are often used as part of their daily routine.
  • 41% of people say it feels like talking to a friend or another person.
  • 44% order products like groceries, household items, etc.
  • 58% create and manage shopping lists.
  • 52% would like to receive information about deals, sales, etc.
  • 62% would like to buy something through their smart assistant.

Outlook

The future will be dominated by conversational user interfaces (a mix of messaging, voice, and display). Within this future, Google will remain a very dominant player for the following reasons:

Global Reach and Insight

Google’s search business gives it unparalleled access to consumer insights that it can use to position its products perfectly within the customer journey.

Best Experience

A study (by Stone Temple Consulting) across 5,000 sample queries found Google to be the most accurate solution, by quite some margin: It can answer more than 68 percent of all user queries and is close to 90 percent correct. This has to do with its highly advanced AI technology, which powers natural language understanding, voice recognition, etc.

At Havas Singapore, we believe this is a consumer-friendly technology that could quickly become mainstream quickly in the next couple of years, and we are already prototyping our own voice experiments. The question is: Are marketers ready to embark on this new frontier?

"Smart assistants have the highest adoption rate of any consumer device ever; one in six US adults owns one already."

Before we look at the impact voice has on the marketing landscape in Singapore, we need to understand voice.

What is voice?

The topic voice can be categorized in the following three sub-categories:

Voice Technology

To be able to communicate with machines, they need to understand us in the first place, which is where artificial intelligence (AI) voice recognition comes into play. In the past, poor recognition accuracy has been preventing this technology from taking off.

But not anymore: According to Mary Meeker’s annual Internet Trends Report for Kleiner, Perkins, Caufield & Byers, Google’s machine learning-backed voice recognition—as of May 2017—has achieved a 95 percent–word accuracy rate. That current rate also happens to be the threshold for human accuracy.

Voice Search

Today, Google Voice Search is fully compatible with dozens of products and applications. In fact, voice search has become an integral part of the Google experience and has even shaped how Google’s algorithms handle specific types of queries.

Even before voice search, users started to type in whole sentences or questions, instead of just keywords, in the Google search box. This was officially acknowledged by Google when they rolled out the Hummingbird update to their ranking algorithm, which basically put more emphasis on semantic search, or the implied meaning of search queries.

Today, more than 30 percent of all searches on Google are voice searches and comScore predicts that 50 percent of all searches will be accomplished by voice search in 2020.

Website owners should take this trend seriously and optimize their website, for voice searches with the following topics in mind:

Speed: Google ranks fast-loading websites higher than slower ones. Delivering a fast reply for voice searches is more important than ever.

Secure: Any website in 2018 should be secured through https, not just to rank higher but also to provide a secure environment for the visitors.

Concise and Simple: As with regular SEO, content is king both in long-form content as well as short-form replies that deliver simple, concise answers to user queries.

Relevance (Traditional SEO): The traditional website ranking is still the most important factor: If the search result ranks in the top three on Google, the result is extremely likely to be considered for voice because it is relevant to what users are searching for.

To summarize, voice search is just a logical extension of regular searches. As users look more and more for solutions, we will see those two concepts blend into one.

Smart Assistants

This is the third and final voice sub-category. This category initially began on smartphones with Siri and was shortly followed by Alexa (Amazon), Cortana (Microsoft), Google (Google Assistant), and others (such as Samsung Bixby).

With more and more households buying IoT devices, these Smart Assistants have easily found purpose in controlling devices within the house and beyond. In fact, Google Assistant (the most popular device in this category at the moment) can be found on the following devices:

  • Smartphones (both iOS and Android)
  • Smart TVs
  • Cars
  • Google Home
  • Android Smart Watches
  • Smart Home Devices

This also means that the central brain, in this case Google Assistant, has become a true omni-channel that can be deployed on almost any device that has either a screen and/or a loudspeaker/microphone.

Smart assistants have the highest adoption rate of any consumer device ever; one in six US adults owns one already. Globally, 500 million people are already using Google Assistant on a daily basis and this number is growing quickly.

The Google Home was only launched on April 18 in Singapore, so no official statistics are available yet, but a similar adoption rate is expected.

There are several reasons why smart assistants are so popular:

Ease of use: Although the user experience has greatly improved since the age of VCRs, setting up and using new technologies like Smart TVs can be a daunting task. Smart assistants, on the other hand, are set up in seconds and can be controlled by just saying, “Hey Google” (for Google Assistant), you can even ask it what it can do.

Intuitive: Conversational user interfaces (CUI), such as smart assistants, mimic our natural way of communicating, so interacting with them comes naturally.

Speed: At the moment, no other channel is faster in providing a solution than smart assistants. For example, Domino’s Pizza in the US allows customers to order a pizza by just saying “OK Google, order my favorite pizza from Dominos.” There’s no need to open a browser or login because everything, including payment, is handled within the Google ecosystem.

"72% of people with a smart assistant say their devices are often used as part of their daily routine."

Who are the main players in Singapore?

In Singapore, the Google Home is the only smart assistant that is officially available. The second biggest player is Echo from Amazon, which is not officially sold in Singapore and lacks local support.

What is the impact on consumer behavior and its implication on marketing?

Although smart assistants are relatively new, they already have had a profound impact on consumer behavior. There are several reasons:

Omni-Channel Experience

As mentioned, the Google Assistant lives on many different devices and has a central brain in the cloud that connects them all. This means, that I can ask for directions on my Google Home and it will send them to my phone, for example.

With this great opportunity for marketers comes a new challenge to build customer journeys that can work across different devices and different screen sizes.

As the importance of voice grows, the need to measure the impact on business results will become necessary. This means marketers have to add voice to their current analytic framework.

Shorter User Journeys

Searching for information is currently the biggest use case of the Google Assistant (example: “When is Deadpool 2 playing?”). This usually triggers a regular voice search.

But Google also allows brands to develop “actions,” which are basically advanced chatbots that can be accessed through the Google Assistant (“Hey Google, talk to Domino’s Pizza”). This means the user can go from discovery to purchase within seconds, without having to register or enter their payment information.

Easier Shopping

Fifty percent of people in the U.S. who own a smart assistant have purchased something through it and 25 percent are considering it. The ease of buying items (see above) is why the conversion rate on these devices is much higher than with traditional channels, especially for smaller items such as groceries. This obviously creates new e-commerce opportunities.

If I want to subscribe to Bloomberg online, for example, I have to enter my personal information, my credit card number, and confirm everything with an email link. On Google Home, I can just say “yes” and verify with a fingerprint when the service asks me if I want to subscribe.

Ad Placement

Google currently has no ad model for voice search. At the same time, PWC’s Consumer Intelligence survey shows that ads will be seen as an annoyance in the current customer voice experience. So the question will be: how will Google monetize voice search? Could one way be through paid or sponsored actions?

Consumer Studies

In a post from earlier this year, Google’s Head of Ads Research and Insights Sara Kleinberg looks at consumer behavior—as occured in the US, but we can assume that the insights are applicable to Singapore as well—and highlights how well received this new medium is with consumers.

  • 72% of people with a smart assistant say their devices are often used as part of their daily routine.
  • 41% of people say it feels like talking to a friend or another person.
  • 44% order products like groceries, household items, etc.
  • 58% create and manage shopping lists.
  • 52% would like to receive information about deals, sales, etc.
  • 62% would like to buy something through their smart assistant.

Outlook

The future will be dominated by conversational user interfaces (a mix of messaging, voice, and display). Within this future, Google will remain a very dominant player for the following reasons:

Global Reach and Insight

Google’s search business gives it unparalleled access to consumer insights that it can use to position its products perfectly within the customer journey.

Best Experience

A study (by Stone Temple Consulting) across 5,000 sample queries found Google to be the most accurate solution, by quite some margin: It can answer more than 68 percent of all user queries and is close to 90 percent correct. This has to do with its highly advanced AI technology, which powers natural language understanding, voice recognition, etc.

At Havas Singapore, we believe this is a consumer-friendly technology that could quickly become mainstream quickly in the next couple of years, and we are already prototyping our own voice experiments. The question is: Are marketers ready to embark on this new frontier?

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