Voice is the newest frontier in search but there are challenges and expectations for brands.
A brand new study has delved deep into consumer sentiment to voice search in a bid to help brands understand what is expected of them and what steps they need to take to meet user demands in this new frontier of search.
The Rise of Voice Search research study was carried out over four months by Publicis Media. It focused on 70 “highly engaged” voice search users in order to find out what drives their use of voice search, what they expect from brands and what stumbling blocks still exist.
Figures from Juniper Research suggest that a voice search enabled smart device, such as Google Home or Amazon’s Echo will be present in over 55% of US households by the year 2022. That equates to over 175 installed devices. When other voice enabled devices such as smartphones are added, Juniper Research figures point to 870 million devices by 2022. This is backed by a forecasted $19 billion global ad spend by that same year.
Despite these encouraging figures, The Rise of Voice Search says that brand marketers are still not clear on how best to approach this new opportunity.
In order to determine how consumers really interacted with voice search and voice assistants, the Publicis team studied 70 voice assistant users, which it described as “highly engaged” for four months and conducted biometrics on 152 users from the USA. It also referenced data pulled in from approximately 20,000 reviews online relating to smart speakers.
Positive report findings
According to the report analysis, voice was a better driver of brand recall than other mediums such as TV. It suggests that this recall is driven because of the more conversational nature of voice search, with information placed in context for the user, which increases relevancy and therefore, becomes easier to remember.
Families and parents have been quick to adopt voice search and embed it within their daily habits. The report author, Vanessa Evans, svp, director of analytics and insight pitches this as being a positive for brands. She suggests parents use voice because it fits easily into their day with voice assistance making some day-to-day routines both easier and more fun.
Increasingly, the report found that voice assistants are encroaching on territory traditionally occupied by TV, radio or newspapers in family homes. They are being used to serve a number of purposes, such as keeping up with the latest news events, checking traffic or getting a weather update.
The study notes, “[voice search experiences are] …extending a parent’s potential and reach by streamlining the problem-solving process, enabling them to be more responsive and effective in answering the complex demands of children.”
The challenges of voice search for brands
On the flip side, Publicis’ research found that voice search users are wary of sharing too much personal information via their smart device. While they want and expect brands to provide deeply personalised experiences via the medium, they don’t want to give up too many intimate details that might facilitate that.
The voice commerce experience also has a long way to go the report finds. Evans says there are some technical barriers and user experience issues to overcome before brands can expect voice search to deliver a lift in sales. She says, “…lack of visual confirmation, high potential for mis-ordering and inability to easily compare prices and availability are key barriers.” The study further notes that, “The truth is that shopping with a smart speaker—even with a screen—is currently not a better way to shop compared to mobile or a computer.”