With children comfortable using voice search as their primary means of product discovery, now is the time for marketers to get ahead of the game, says Marin Software’s Wesley MacLaggan.

With more and more consumers using smart speakers and voice enabled devices, it’s now imperative that brands incorporate voice search into their advertising strategy. Emphasising this was the launch of the new Voice Coalition, at Cannes by the World Federation of Advertisers, to help brands understand more about the impact voice will have on the way people shop.

Aiming to improve knowledge and understanding for brand marketers across all voice platforms, the coalition stems from a survey that found more than two thirds of 16-34 year-olds are willing to let Alexa recommend brands, while 77% are happy for Alexa to recommend an appropriate Amazon brand.

Furthermore, a recent survey by Microsoft revealed that over half of consumers expect their smart speakers to help them make retail purchases within the next five years, illustrating how vital the search format will be in the future.

The introduction of voice assistants, like Amazon Alexa and Google Home, is one of the main drivers behind the increase in voice searches but it seems we are now at a pivotal moment where brands must consider maximising their voice strategy.

As voice recognition technology continues to improve, consumers are building a deeper and more trusted relationship with these voice assistants. Our smartphones have adapted to this increased dependence as well, with Google releasing figures last year showing their voice search engine data had developed a 95% accuracy rate.

The UK public has already made retail transactions worth £0.2bn through smart speakers, with the OC&C expecting this to grow to £3.5bn by 2022. This extraordinary rise can be viewed as a consequence of consumers becoming more familiar with the technology and it becoming part of their everyday lives.

At Marin Software, we recently led a video study exploring how voice search is perceived by different age groups. While kids today are very comfortable using voice search as their primary means of product discovery, older generations continue to rely on typed search queries and are reluctant to change.

What does this mean for the future of digital advertising as the younger generation grows up and gains buying power? And what opportunities should brands explore when this shift to voice search happens?

  • Gain insight on consumers. Use voice search analytics to begin to understand how customers are talking about your brand. By reporting and analysing this new information, brands can gain the advantage of knowing their consumer needs now and in the future.
  • Improve user experience. Voice search allows you to create a unique customer experience that will help build stronger relationships and brand loyalty. Voice technology enables streamlined interactions between a consumer and a brand, making life more convenient for the ever-demanding consumer.
  • Drive traffic. Voice assistants will not only provide timely answers to user questions, they will also support brands by linking users to the source of the information thereby driving traffic volume.

It’s evident that brands who want to continue to appeal to consumers in the coming years will have to find a way to include voice search into their digital marketing strategies. Ultimately, now is a perfect time for marketers to get ahead of the game and start shaping up their strategy for increased voice search action.