LONDON: By 2021, as many as two billion people will interact with the internet using their voice, with a significant proportion of those interactions demonstrating purchase intent, so understanding the form of vocal interactions and thinking about where brands can fit into this new ecosystem will be crucial.

This is according to Scott Abbott, head of global PPC at performance marketing agency iProspect, speaking at WARC's Toolkit 2018 event, who explained that as the technology spreads to cars and fridges, the use cases and opportunities for brands are growing.

These emerge as one begins to examine the behaviours that voice attracts. For around a fifth of people, voice is used for repetitive actions, checking the weather or playing music. But as many as 25% of users issue commands that demonstrate purchase intent – “be that finding a store location, purchasing or ordering something, or researching a purchase”.

Across this spectrum, Abbott observed, there is at one end “utility, delivering against basic human needs and fulfilling purchase intent. At the other end we have niche opportunities to create new content and conversations to entertain and engage much further up the funnel.”

In addition, voice queries contain far more information than text-based search. The impact on brands will be in thinking about keywords and content labelling in order to capture theses new behaviours.

Notably, more and more questions asked to intelligent assistants are beginning with ‘where’. Here, the opportunity for brands is in becoming part of the answer to questions demonstrating offline intent.

While there is some opportunity in creating apps or skills for smart speakers, the dominant device people use for voice is still the smartphone. Designing for a smart-speaker carries its own challenges, as AKQA’s Kathryn Webb explained. (For more, read WARC’s report: How to become a habit: Arsenal F.C. & Alexa).

Making sure your brand (or skill) is memorable to users is the main consideration. This has been a key difficulty: research from VoiceLabs in the US last year found that just 6% of voice apps continue to be used after a week.

Instead, Webb said, speaking at the Toolkit 2018 event, the challenge is to find the habits that users already possess and work out how voice can fit into these. That will be the key challenge of skill designers in the future.

Sourced from WARC