Voice search: a revolution in mobile experience
In its study "ZenithOptimedia's 2016 trends" the agency predicts that there will be three key factors driving voice search: 1) voice search is starting to become part of Generation Z’s mobile behaviour as they spend more times using apps, 2) enhanced voice search apps like Siri and Cortona are supported by AI technology and proactive voice concierge services and, 3) increasing ownership of wearable devices, which have voice control as a core feature. With voice search gaining momentum, it should be part of every brand’s search strategy to optimize voice search and deliver seamless services, all from the mobile platform.
Voice search is increasing at the expense of browser-based search (source: GlobalWebIndex). According to a new study commissioned by Google, 55% of users under the age of 18 use voice search apps - be it Google Now, Siri or Cortana - more than once a day, in comparison to 41% of adults.
The study also reveals that 57% of teenagers aren’t worried about etiquette when using their smartphones, compared with just 24% of adults. Brands will therefore need to react to how consumers "voice their search" as the keywords and approach differ from text search in a browser.
Tomáš Varga, Managing Director of the agency ZenithOptimedia Prague, says: "The smarter voice concierge apps not only support organisation of daily activities but understand also the context of a search, e.g. location and intent, based on previously browsed items. By understanding consumers’ search patterns, voice search apps will be able to pre-empt their needs and desires and deliver relevant help."
With Google’s soon-to-be-released "Now On Tap" feature, consumers can dip into Google Now without leaving the app they’re in. For example, when a consumer gets an e-mail about seeing a movie, Google Now will offer ratings, a movie trailer, and a link to buy tickets. Tomáš Varga adds: "To future-proof search strategy, brands need to take into account how to integrate the various apps with voice search to drive conversion across the consumer journey."
Where did the trend start?
Voice search evolved from speech recognition software, which originated eight years ago but was far from accurate. Recent improvements in the technology’s performance now finally make it fit for use by busy and impatient consumers.
What's the potential?
Voice search could revolutionise search as it changes the way we interact with our mobile phones. More colloquial phrase searches could replace or compete with keywords we use in typed search.
How should brands react?
Brands should try to understand how their consumers are likely to use voice search and how to respond to improve search results. It will be important to focus on consumer's experience with the brand so that companies can provide the consumer with ease, control and convenient results, based on their behaviour during the voice search. Tomáš Varga, Managing Director of the agency ZenithOptimedia Prague, says: "It will be important to analyse consumers’ digital footprint including their voice search habits (if any) and their written search and mobile behaviour so that brands can understand how they might use voice search in the future."
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