Water Cooler: Voice Search Offers Major Marketing Potential For Brands

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Nearly six in 10 consumers in the U.S., UK and Germany use voice search technology, and as many as one-third of them do so every day, according to the Voice Consumer Index (VCI), a new report conducted to identify consumers’ attitudes on voice assistants and the marketing potential this technology offers brands. The study, published by Vixen Labs, a UK-based, full-service voice search agency, in collaboration with the Linux Foundation’s Open Search Network—an organization with membership including Target, Microsoft and Wegman’s—surveyed 6,000 consumers, ages 18 and older, across the U.S., UK and Germany. It revealed that 80 percent of consumers use voice search assistants to search for products, but more than four in 10 (41 percent) are also using it to make purchases.

“Voice assistant technology has advanced massively since we said ‘hey’ to Siri 10 years ago,” James Poulter, CEO and co-founder of Vixen Labs, stated in a news release. “Parallels can be drawn from the early days of the search engine and social media to show the opportunity available to brands that utilize this technology effectively, regardless of the industry. Currently, there is a lot of white space for them to move into; the customer base is ready and waiting, but in order to tap into this new marketing channel, brands need to optimize, create and integrate their products and services with voice technology.”

When asked about their usage, 57 percent of U.S.-based recipients said they use at least voice search assistant, with the top player being Apple’s Siri for 60 percent of U.S.-based 18- to 24-year-olds and Amazon’s Alexa for 38.5 percent of U.S. respondents ages 35 and older. The report also revealed that U.S. consumers use voice search assistants most often while at home on a smart speaker (32 percent) and on their phone (31 percent), and while outside the home and on their phone (18 percent). The highest percentage of U.S. respondents (37 percent) said they use voice assistants regularly as a search engine function, or to ask a question, while 22 percent said they regularly use it to search for information on products and services. When asked about specific functions, 35 percent said they regularly use voice assistants to check the weather, 33 percent said to play music, 22 percent said to make calls and 18 percent said to send messages or emails.

With consumers worldwide using voice search assistants more commonly, the report determined the likelihood for consumers to use keywords that pertain to certain sectors; a finding that may encourage businesses operating in these respective industries to explore more in depth the benefits that voice search, and also search engine optimization (SEO), can offer them. In the U.S., it was determined that each user has a 71-percent probability of mentioning something related to weather, followed by music (66 percent), news (54 percent), entertainment (52 percent), retail (44 percent), health care and wellness (42 percent), food delivery and restaurants (39 percent), local services (36 percent), consumer-packaged goods (36 percent), travel (34 percent), fitness (34 percent), restaurant reservations (33 percent), fashion (31 percent) and finance (30 percent).

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Danielle Renda is associate editor of PPB.

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