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Voice Search | Voice-Activated Devices are Changing Consumer Behavior

By now, most of us have spent at least some amount of time engaging in quirky conversations with our assistants on voice activated devices. Speech recognition technology where users can simply speak their query into a device and get an answer is gaining momentum. The popularity of voice-activated devices like Google or Apple smartphones and Amazon Echo powered with Google Assistant, Siri, and Alexa, their all-knowing (almost) virtual assistants, is quickly changing how we interact with technology, access information, and conduct online searches. In fact, this evolving technology is shaping consumer behavior. Users now have to simply speak what they need to find and their device will provide them with a list of options. This emerging market has a promising future, and it presents a challenge for content marketers who are used to more traditional SEO strategies based on queries that are typed in browsers and search engines. This means existing SEO strategies will need to be revisited and optimized for voice-based searches.

From Smaller Screens to No Screens:

Amazon was quick to capture a share of the emerging market for smart home devices by developing its own voice-activated device Echo powered by its voice-service Alexa. The fact that it already had a thriving and growing consumer base meant all product search queries made using Alexa would easily be converted to sales on  Besides this, Alexa can play music, order a pizza, book and Uber, answer trivia, etc. In fact, as per the latest report, Amazon Echo is dominating the market. Google Home which comes with Google Assistant is the second most popular smart device after Echo. Google has its disposable is enviable search capabilities and its extensive eco-system that users can tap into. Other players like Apple and Microsoft have not been able to make their dent in the smart-speakers category.

Facts and Figures:

According to Google’s CEO Sundar Pichai, 20% of queries on Google’s mobile app and Android devices are voice searches. It is estimated that 50% of the searches done in 2020 will be voice-based. One report predicts that demand for smart home devices will overtake smartphones sales in the next 5 years, while another report suggests that 30% of all web browsing sessions will be done without a screen by 2020. In terms of commerce, one report suggests a $40 billion market for voice shopping in 2020, a major jump from $2 billion it holds today.  The report also stated that Amazon guided 85% of consumers’ purchasing decisions.

Decoding the Appeal:

So why are people shifting from traditional search methods to voice-based ones? The biggest factor would be the ease of use. Voice-activated devices offer more convenience when it comes to processing tasks. You don’t need to handle the device, just have to speak into it. Easy. It makes multitasking easier, saves time, and is generally faster. Need to set a reminder in the calendar? Just ask Google Assistant to enter it in your Google Calendar. Run out of toilet paper? Ask Alexa to place an order on Amazon. Don’t know the capital of India? Siri will find you the answer. People are view speaking to their devices akin to engaging with a friend. In fact, according to a Google survey, 41% people who use voice-activated devices say it feels like talking to a friend, while 72% of people said it had become a part of their routine. So, users definitely enjoy the experience on a more personal level. Voice-activated devices are here to stay and their influence on commerce will also rise significantly as more people make these devices a part of their home and routine. Content marketers must take this into account and prepare their SEO strategies to optimize for voice searches.

A quick guide to preparing your business for Voice Searches: Get the Conversation Going: Optimising for Voice Searches