Grey Area: Voice recognition marketing

Voice recognition is fast becoming a useful tool for mobile advertisers. Allowing for instant information at your command, voice recognition has improved massively in a short space of time. 41 percent of adults talk to their phone every day. While speech search is yet to truly dominate, it’s expected that by 2019, the voice recognition market will be a $601 million industry.

So, the way we interact with our devices is transitioning away from the keyboard and the touch screen, driven by this ever-growing need for fast answers. Google voice search helps deliver the content to users as quickly possible, by generating more direct answers. It’s still very much early days for the software, but it can only get better. Google reported word error rates of just 8 percent in 2015, an improvement from rates of 25 percent a few years prior.

With the rise of voice recognition, this means that marketers must learn to structure their content around not only key words, but conversational language. Searchers will be using key words that are imbedded with more natural, free-flowing language, and the searches are likely to be question-based. It could mean big changes for SEO and marketers will have to think carefully about what types of questions potential customers are asking about the industry.

It’s increasingly important that brands update their keywords to compensate for local, common questions relevant to their company, as well as optimising content for voice searches. Marketers should tailor messages to predict the behaviour and questions of the user. The more brands think about customer speech and intent, the better prepared they will be for the rise of voice recognition. It presents exciting possibilities for marketers, like the ability to create personalised ads where people talk directly to the ad, which would reduce the length of the customer journey.

In spite of the exciting prospects, voice recognition could cause certain problems for marketers. For example, if a person runs out of their favourite food, they’ll ask their device to order more and it will likely be from the same place as before. This is a problem for marketers, as brands obviously want to attract more customers. Naturally, customers will re-order the product from the same place they always purchase from, without looking at other options. Of course, marketers could place ads into the voice search, but this would be disruptive for the customer, particularly in the age of ad-blocking.

Ultimately, it’s hard to imagine that voice recognition won’t have a massive impact on marketing. There are some challenges brands will need to overcome, but voice recognition could pave the way for a truly personalised customer experience.

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