Voice Search to be huge in next 3 years, say panellists on Indian Brand Conclave

Industry experts Anubhav Sonthalia, Gaurav Shitak and Sandesh Gupta shared their insights on the potential of search engine advertising, and the future of voice and vernacular search.

e4m by exchange4media Staff
Updated: Dec 3, 2020 10:21 AM
Panel Discussion - Voice Search

Search engines have grown to become a significant part of any brand’s marketing toolkit. It has moved beyond clicks and conversions, and is now also used to map the intent of the consumer and accompany them throughout the buying journey by increasing engagement. On a panel discussion on Day 1 of The Indian Brand Conclave, various expert panellists shared their insights on the potential of search engine advertising, and the future of voice and vernacular search.

The panel discussion was conducted on the topic ‘Steering Intent: Leveraging Search for Branding’ and the part of the panel were Anubhav Sonthalia, CEO, Merkle Sokrati; Gaurav Shitak, Vice President & Head- Digital Marketing, Sharekhan; Sandesh Gupta, SEO Head, Wakefit.co. The session was moderated by Rohit Dosi, Director, Microsoft Advertising, InMobi.

Opening the panel with how brands have been leveraging search advertising tools, Shitak said “Search is a very important and high intent-based marketing tool for any kind of marketing and to reach the audience. Search has evolved a lot over time. Based on their industry, or their business objective, the search tool is very important and useful to all marketers.”

Addressing the new phenomenon of trend jacking or moment marketing in search advertising, Sonthalia said, “Trend based search advertising is a very interesting phenomenon. However, it has very little value to add to the numbers. It is more important for people who have fundamentally aggregation plays and are continuously mining for search queries from those trends.” Shitak had a slightly different outlook towards trend jacking, he shared, “It should essentially be ‘test & learn’ rather than taking something from someone. For some trends like this, you have to even create

content around it very fast. If one’s target group is talking about that trend, then one should definitely go for it. And if the cost per click is low, one should go for it. However, for a mainstream brand, maybe you can reach out to a bigger audience with a TVC, then the numbers won’t add up.”

Gupta, who has done a lot of brand message integration during the IPL, shares what worked for him. He added, “With Microsoft search advertising, we use keywords with the right intent. It’s not very straightforward when you are using search for branding. When we were providing cashback during the IPL match hours, we saw decent conversions. It was a success in terms of getting traffic in non-branded products. The key learning has been to use the right messaging and right planning process.”

Sharing insights on the future of voice search and vernacular search, Sonthalia elaborated, “In a matter of two years, voice search will become a common phenomenon. The sheer numbers tell us that it already is mainstream. For the large part of India that is joining the internet now, the

voice comes more naturally to them than text. Typing is a hassle, while voice is natural. They are also more comfortable with vernacular languages, we have built for voice. Today, the issue is that most of the advertisement you can do around it is very creative and is content or innovation-driven than being volume-driven as there is no easy distribution for it.”

Shitak gave valuable suggestions on maximising search advertisement utility, he said, “Testing and learning is the way to go about it, nobody knows what will work best for your brand and what will be the business results. The second thing is investing time in understanding these technological advancements, with a better understanding one can guide the company in a better direction.”

Gupta shared suggestions along similar lines, he also added, “Experimentation is the key. One should always consider a pilot budget before putting money into it. It is important to balance between experimentation and the return on investment. Another important thing is to look for new extensions as they play a decent role in search advertising. In the e-commerce arena, shopping search is booming, so a combination of search and shopping can work well for your brand.”

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