Voice assistance: The new niche for brands and marketers

It's time brands build in compatibility with devices such as Google Home and Alexa so that their customers can seamlessly and effortlessly consume their products or services

e4m by Nafisa Shaheen
Published: Jul 30, 2019 8:05 AM  | 4 min read

Voice-based virtual assistants like Google Home and Alexa are surely the future of marketing and advertising. Instead of typing to search something on Google, users are more likely to speak to their voice assistants like Siri and Alexa. Marketers estimate that 50 per cent of all searches by 2020 will be by voice, and by 2022, it will play a major role in e-commerce as well. So, what is the takeaway for brands and marketers?

Voice technology has been everywhere and every time. The difference today is just its immense popularity. Voice assistance is increasing web traffic and resulting in better content and better stories. Recently, Amazon has offered advertisers an opportunity to try audio ads. This is Amazon’s first move towards paid product placements along with Alexa. 

Popular brands such as Dominos, Xiaomi, Amazon, fbb, Google are using voice assistance to enhance personalisation and enable retention of content.

According to Chandni Shah, Co-founder and COO of Social Kinnect, voice search is going to be a major disruptor in the digital landscape this year, and huge among India’s millennial population.” Social Kinnect handles fbb’s digital media business.

“fbb has been always been a digitally-savvy brand. Since it continuously invests in trending ideas, voice search was perfect for the brand. It enabled an interface that allowed real-time communication between consumers and the brand,” says Shah.

She adds, “The strategy for the upcoming year is to maximise conversations with the youth of India through relevant content and cutting-edge marketing touchpoints. The introduction of the fbb online chatbot on Google Assistant is one such touchpoint. We are also looking at interacting with the online shoppers of India by bringing a fresh version of to them.”

Brand expert Kiran Khalap, Co-founder & Managing Director of Chlorophyll Brand & Communications Consultancy Private Limited, believes that brands need to rapidly begin building the technology to support voice-based assistance.

“Former Google India head Rajan Anandan had said that India's digital explosion was driven by three Vs: video, vernacular and voice. According to an estimate by India’s leading YouTuber Ranveer Allahabadia, not more than 3 per cent of the YouTube videos in India will be in English by 2020. Apparently, India is the only country where Uber needs to have a call center. So the future is clear for marketers: India is an oral country, and technologies have emerged that support this ancient proclivity. And hence, the future lies in the three Vs,” Khalap explains.

Talking about the takeaways for brand and marketers, Deep Mehta, Co-founder, Digichefs, says the success of voice assistants like Siri and devices like Google Home and Alexa clearly put forward an indicator to marketers that they need to pay close attention to what queries they're using on their website.

“The keywords brands choose while fixing up their SEO & website content strategy definitely need to include conversational and long tail key phrases. That's simply because users tend to speak longer sentences on voice search compared to a typed query. A lot of voice searches are local queries, and hence, local businesses need to step into the bandwagon of voice search optimization as soon as possible,” he stresses.

“For brands, it's time they build in compatibility with devices like Google Home and Alexa so that their customers can seamlessly and effortlessly consume their products or services. Imagine ordering food from Zomato without having to lift your phone!,” adds Mehta.

Giving a perspective on consumers adopting and using new technologies, Mehta says since India is still in the very early stage for voice search adoption, there will be a section of early adopters who will start using voice search to save time and be up to date with the latest technology, but mass adoption is still far away for India.

“Consumers who like to own the latest tech in their army of gadgets will surely start using something like a Google Home to set up alarms or reminder, play music, call people etc., but the pathbreaking integration using IoT in the form of say fully automating their homes, placing transactions via voice is still a dream far away from today,” he concludes.


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