It was 2011 when Apple introduced Siri, the first voice-enabled assistant, and from there the voice-revolution started: the biggest leaders of the digital industry quickly released their own systems and now Alexa, Google Home, and many others are widely diffuse in our lives. Slowly, but steadily, voice technology is disrupting how we interact with technology.
In a recent research conducted by Microsoft and Bing, it was found that in 2019 45% of the respondents owned a smart speaker, against 23% in 2018. Interestingly, the opposite trend can be seen about the desire to not purchase a smart speaker: 47% of people in 2018 didn’t want to buy one, but the percentage has dropped to 29% in 2019.
How to explain this success? Natural conversation represents the main difference in this new communication channel: voice assistants are built to imitate human-to-human interactions as much as possible. Like a normal person would do, these systems react to the interlocutor when their name is called (“Hey Siri”) and can memorize relevant facts from previous conversations, giving a sense of continuity from past interactions.
Furthermore, voice assistants refer to themselves as humans: for example, if you ask Google Home “Okay Google, what do you think about Alexa?” the reply is “I like her blue light.”
This form of personification combined with a natural and spontaneous conversation flow can facilitate the development of closeness feelings between two interlocutors, as it emerged from a research conducted by Sangyeal Han and Heetae Yang.
Voice technology is at its infancy, therefore it’s not surprising that it is mainly used to listen to music and ask for the weather forecast. However, we are beginning to see the rise of voice commerce (vCommerce), where 40% of respondents to a recent survey have bought something using their voice through their smart speaker. The purchases ranged from very different items: 21% of smart speaker owners have purchased entertainment like music or movies, 8% household items, and 7% electronic devices.
Voice search is changing SEO practices. In fact, users interact with queries differently than when text searches are used. Voice questions are no longer two or three keywords, but are more natural, long and discursive sentences. People often formulate complete questions, so it is easier for artificial intelligence to comprehend what they want to know and give them correct results.
Another way that voice search is affecting SEO is the growing importance of local SEO, because a lot of the voice searches aim to find a nearby company or business. If you want to learn more about SEO and improve your website, read our article.
As we have seen, voice interaction creates a personal connection between brands and potential customers. After all, the voice is certainly the most natural way to communicate. This kind of interaction can create a deeper engagement between people and devices and big brands are leading the way with voice marketing. Check out their strategies:
In conclusion, voice technology seems to be the next big thing in the digital industry, and particularly in the marketing sector. Remember that your clients and their needs should always be at the centre of your marketing strategy, so if you decide to create voice skills for Alexa, you should try to solve actual problems for your customer. Integrating sounds, music, and voices could help create meaningful and seamless interactions with your brand.
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Nugno is a Branding & Digital Design studio. Founded and run by strategic branding & digital design experts that shares a love of innovation, design and digital connection.
We create strategy and design with production across all platforms. We’re masters of brand identity and on point with websites and apps. Our skills extend to designing books people want to read and environments they feel comfortable in. We also create engaging motion design and much more.
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Luca Amoriello, Director
Tel: +353 (0)87 383 2134
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