Voice Everywhere – Everything you need to know about voice’s big leap
You might feel like voice is everywhere these days. Let me assure you, it’s not just yet. This is just the beginning. ‘Voice everywhere’ is coming, and it’s going to make voice more ubiquitous than ever before. So what is voice everywhere?
Simply put, it is the integration of voice tech into more and more devices, such as headphones, cars, kitchen appliances and many more. Amazon and Google are going big on this, and have already released a series of voice enabled devices. Amazon alone have already released a pair of earbuds, a pair of glasses, a ring, a microwave and an oven, all fully Alexa-enabled. So, what does this mean for marketers?
If you don’t have a voice strategy, you need one
Alexa is big, and getting bigger all the time. 20% of UK households have an Alexa-enabled device, and more are being bought every single day. Quite simply, if you don’t have a voice strategy, you’re going to get left behind. The addition of voice tech to more and more devices means that the technology is going to become ever more ubiquitous. You don’t want your brand to be on the back foot when the inevitable happens, and having a voice strategy becomes completely unavoidable. So how do you get started?
The first step is to get your website SEO optimised for voice searches. Even if you’ve got your traditional text-SEO strategy on lockdown, I’m sorry to say that it won’t cut it once digital becomes a voice-first landscape. The primary difference between text and voice SEO is the keywords you have to optimise for different keywords.
Voice keywords are much longer, and mimic speech patterns, rather than text keywords, which are written in a weird, truncated version of English. For example, let’s say you’re searching for a coffee shop in Vauxhall. If you were typing the search command you’d write something like ‘coffee shop Vauxhall’. This kind of command doesn’t work on a voice platform, because that’s not how people speak. A voice keyword for this search would be something like ‘find me a coffee shop in Vauxhall’. It’s this kind of long-form keywords that you have to optimise your site towards if you want to succeed once voice everywhere becomes a reality. I’ve written in depth about this here, so give that a read if you want a more detailed rundown of how it all works.
The next step is to build an Alexa Skill. Skills, like apps on a smartphone, are a vital part of the Alexa experience, and if you’re serious about your voice strategy, you need to develop an Alexa Skill for your brand. You may be asking why this is necessary. None of your competitors have one yet, so why do you need one? For one crucial reason; the market for Skills isn’t yet saturated. Therefore, if you get ahead of the competition in this space, your Skill is likely to become the definitive Skill in your industry. Think of the cab industry. Before Uber came along, it was normal procedure to phone up a cab company and pay for your journey in cash. Then Uber rocked up and changed the game. Many competitors – like Lyft, Kapten and others – followed in its wake, but Uber is still the king of ride-hailing apps. Be like Uber. Get ahead of the competition and start building your Skill that’s going to change your industry.
Get ready for voice enabled ads
With the ever growing popularity of voice everywhere technology, we’re going to see an explosion in the amount of voice enabled ads. Currently, via phones, laptops and other mobile devices, it’s never been easier to reach audiences while they’re on the move. However, with voice enabled ads it’s going to get even easier. Voice enabled cars, glasses, rings and earphones are on the market already, and no doubt there are many more similar products to come. In time, all of these products will be used by marketers to serve voice enabled advertising to consumers. So what is a voice enabled ad? Simply put, it is any audio ad that encourages a listener to take action by speaking a voice command aloud.
Voice enabled ads have already been rolled out by Spotify in the North American market, but aside from this it’s been relatively quiet. That’s all about to change in the next 12 to 18 months. Voice enabled ads are going to change the digital advertising game this decade in the same way that Facebook advertising did in the last decade. You need to be ready for the voice advertising boom for a very simple reason, ROI. When advertising platforms launch, their cost per click (CPC) or cost per impression tends to be incredibly low compared to other platforms. When AdWords first launched in 2000, a skilled PPC expert could get a CPC of pennies without too much hassle. These days, you’ll be hard pressed to get a CPC of under £1 unless you’re a real expert.
It’s likely to be a similar situation with voice enabled ads. Get in there early and figure out how it works, and you could reap the rewards with a high return for a low cost.
Device specific marketing
If you open up the Facebook advertising dashboard today, you can pick which platforms you’d like your ads to appear on. If you’re marketing an app, it would make no sense to send ads for it to desktop devices, so there’s an option to send them only to mobiles. It stands to reason that the same feature will exist for voice enabled ads. And, if you take a second to think about the potential possibilities this creates, the opportunities are endless.
Let’s say you’re trying to market a new brand of engine oil. You could target your ads specifically at voice-enabled radios in cars. If you’re promoting a new podcast, you could target your ads at devices that people might realistically use to listen to a podcast. So car radios, earphones and Amazon Echo devices would be in, the Alexa ring and glasses, not so much. If you have a new brand of bacon to sell, you might decide to send ads to an Alexa enabled oven or microwave.
Voice everywhere is coming, and early adopters are going to massively reap the rewards. Keep your finger on the pulse, don’t be afraid to try new things, and that could be you.