HO CHI MINH CITY: The use of voice search is growing in Vietnam, a development that is likely to be replicated across Asia and which brands and advertisers will have to factor into their marketing plans.

Balazs Molnar, head of search marketing at Google Southeast Asia, reported a "significant increase" in voice searches in Vietnam. And with the increase in mobile internet users – smartphone adoption has jumped from 36% to 55% in the past year – further growth is expected.

"In many Asian languages it's harder for people to type using a small keyboard," he told Campaign Asia-Pacific, pointing in particular to character-based languages such as Mandarin or languages with a lot of diacritical markers like Vietnamese.

"People find it easier to speak rather than type on their phones," he said.

Products and services are already being integrated with Google's voice API, so that users can, for example, send messages via WhatsApp without having to type anything. Instead they can just speak: "OK Google, send Johnny a WhastApp message saying I'll be late".

Google has made voice search the centre of its first-ever advertising campaign in Vietnam, which features four young scooter enthusiasts – the Scooterists – and shows their real-life uses of the application.

"They represent today's searcher – from asking the basics to the big questions about life that we don't even know yet," explained Nguyen Phuong Anh, head of marketing at Google Vietnam, as she outlined the campaign concept – "doing what you love starts with a question".

Writing in Admap last year, Matthew Maltby, head of thought leadership in Google's Performance Ads Marketing group, reflected that in twenty years search had gone from being non-existent to being ever-present with voice search being the next step.

"Brand marketers who can grasp and use search, will be there for their customers' and potential customers' moments of need, building brand love and driving sales," he said.

Data sourced from