With recent advancements in artificial intelligence and natural language processing, people can’t get enough of voice-enabled digital assistants like Alexa, and the voice-enabled speakers they call home. As a marketer, you know what this means, right? Ready or not, voice-enabled technology is the next big platform for marketing and advertising.
Several leaders in the industry have called this technology the user-interface of the future or a marketer’s new best friend. And although this may seem like a sweeping claim, there is some evidence to back up this theory.
First and foremost, these systems are being integrated into everything from smartphones and speakers to vehicles, appliances, wearables and more. Not only that, but they are also generally perceived by their users as more utilitarian than disruptive, unlike other marketing platforms. If done right, this perception can pay off for brands looking for ways to engage in more conversations with users. Secondly, and maybe most importantly, these systems are activated by users to serve their needs. Alexa and Siri, don’t disrupt people’s day to deliver unsolicited ads or marketing messages. These systems exist to respond to users’ needs, making them different from traditional marketing and advertising channels.
Marketing aside, there are tech wizards and business titans claiming that voice-enabled technology will be the user interface of the future. As someone who talks way too fast for most voice-enabled systems, I’m not convinced that voice-enabled technology will ever replace all other user interfaces. However, even I can’t argue with the latest statistics from eMarketer that show this platform is in fact the next big thing marketers need to figure out.
1. 20% Of Mobile Searches On Google Are Made Via Voice
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With voice-enabled search technology, mobile devices are even easier go-to devices to use for people of all ages. Although, if you are going to allocate marketing dollars toward voice-enabled technology, smartphone voice assistants are not used as frequently as voice-enabled speakers. Either way, finding a way to take advantage of the growing voice search trend is definitely a no-brainer for marketers and advertisers.
2. 60.5 Million People In The US Currently Use Digital Assistants
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In 2017, it’s estimated that 18.5% of the population is estimated to use voice-enabled digital assistants on (at least) a monthly basis. Unsurprisingly, the largest percentage of voice assistant users are Millennials, but Baby Boomers are not far behind. For B2C marketers looking to engage with wider audiences, be sure to find ways to put your products or services front and center through voice apps or recommendations.
3. 87% Of US B2C Marketers Think Virtual Assistants & Chat Robots Will Play A Key Role By 2021
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Chatbots have already proven their value for customer service purpose. With the amount of work on every marketer’s plate these days, the industry is primed to invest more productivity boosting innovations. Although early adopters will undoubtedly benefit from jumping in early, it could be equally valuable to wade in slowly and learn from early mistakes with these technologies.
4. Most Of The Downloaded Smart Speaker Apps Are Not Used Again After 2 Weeks
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Similar to smartphone apps, voice speaker manufacturers are having a hard time getting apps to stick with users. For instance, research shows that although the Amazon Echo has more than 7,000 skills, many of them are not heavily used – especially the more complex ones. Considering that roughly 50% of users rely on digital assistants for basic tasks like playing music or audiobooks, that seems to be the best opportunity for brands to get in front of users.
5. 63% Of Internet Users Worry About Voice-enabled Technology Spying On Them
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More than half of US internet users are (unsurprisingly) concerned about voice-enabled speakers and assistants spying on them. This comes as no surprise with all of the concerned voiced by consumers about the government listening to them via the mics on their smartphones or desktop computers. If your brand is considering voice technology as a platform – or is already integrated with it – there are benefits to being transparent about these concerns and educating audiences with concerns.
As natural-language processing and AI become more advanced, there will be even more features and functionality added to the ever-growing market of voice-enabled systems. Only time can tell what new exciting innovation is coming next with this technology. However, one thing that marketers can’t deny is the exciting opportunities that this new platform presents a creative new way to reach wider audiences and engage in a meaningful dialogue.
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* Adapted lead image: Public Domain, pixabay.com via getstencil.com