The Impact of Screenless Searches: Webinar Summary

screenless voice search



Remember Ask Jeeves? The thought of this old search engine (now known as “”) from 1996 is sure to bring back some happy memories. Any questions we had, our personal butler Jeeves would answer.

With the age of Google, our queries became shorter. With the prevalence of mobile phone, search engines adapted. Now, with smartphones we tend to tap longer keywords.

For example, previously we might have searched for “women’s combat boots.” Now it might be “women’s combat boots for women steve madden.” With AI home robots entering the lives of more people, we’ve gone full circle.

We’re back to asking questions.

Approximately 10 million voice-first devices (Amazon Echo, specifically) are in circulation. Industry leaders predict that 2017 will be the year for voice-search devices. That’s precisely why we were so intrigued with finding out as much as we could about voice search.

Now, to get started here’s our methodology:

  • Conducted using Google Consumer Surveys.
  • Target: Owners of Amazon Echo and Google Home in the United States on the Google Consumer Surveys publisher network.
  • Sample Size: 500
  • Collection Start Date: December 10, 2016
  • Collection End Date: December 13, 2016
  • Focus: Amazon Echo and Google Home

1. 40% of People find Voice Search to Yield Inaccurate Results

What does this mean for retailers?
With voice search technology still in its infancy, there’s an opportunity for retailers to take advantage since it’s not a heavily saturated market, yet. Since 40% of voice search results yield inaccurate results, Google, Amazon, and Apple have plenty of room for improvement, especially in correcting their natural language processing. As these smart devices become more seamless, the fluidity of the conversational tone will be more human, making the whole experience for the user easier and faster.

We recommend focusing on enhanced structured data for SEO since this will make your content more crawlable. What retailers should do is insert a tag for a specific word in their coding to notify search engines what the content is about. As the prevalence of voice search gains momentum, it’ll be even more crucial to improve content so take advantage of it right now!

2. 51.5% of People use Voice Search to Research or Make a Purchase.

What does this mean for retailers?
About 50% of people said they turn to voice search to find information about a product they’re planning to purchase. About 65% of 18 to 49-year-olds are using voice search to research or make purchases, which shows the rapid popularity of this technology. Although they may not purchase in their first voice query, this may change as people become more comfortable with this cool technology.

Virtual assistant products like Google Home and Amazon Echo have clear barriers to voice search in terms of advertisements. No screen means no advertisements, right? Well, actually – right now, yes. If these voice assistant products included advertisements, this would have a negative impact on user experience.

Also, impressions and PPC models aren’t easily adapted to voice search and virtual assistant products. The development of a new monetary attribution model, such as Pay-Per-Transaction, will be necessary for the future.

Retailers should work to create conversational content for voice search. Conversational search consists of phrases, questions, and sentences; not just keywords.

Someone may ask, “Siri, where is the best place I can get flowers around here?”
If someone is searching for flowers locally, they want to find exactly what they’re looking for and fast. They don’t want to be informed about something off topic or they’ll be turned away from search through voice. Voice search has become a little more streamlined, accounting for natural pauses and phrases like “um” or “like” within your search. Amazon Echo and Google Home are training users to search in a conversational way, improving the experience with each interaction.

3. Breakdown of Purchases on Amazon Echo

What does this mean for retailers?
56% of users are making purchases with Amazon Echo. We estimate that if Amazon Echo and Google Home begin using ads, the biggest winner from these purchases will be big brands. Why? Think about it. Big brands have higher brand awareness, visibility, and a larger budget to spend.

For example, if you’re looking for mouthwash – you might just ask Alexa for Listerine instead of mouthwash. If you don’t know the generic or off-brand products, then you’ll always go straight to the first item you associate with said product. That’s the trouble with eponyms. People tend to think of the brand instead of the product. When you ask someone to search for something online, you might ask them to “Google something” instead of “search for x using Google.” Same concept.

The initial service winner in this whole scenario would be the apps. Amazon Echo is heavily app-reliant and they’ve partnered with several third-party vendors such as Uber and Domino’s. Next time you’re thinking of ordering pizza, your voice-search personal assistant may choose Domino’s instead of Romeo’s Pizza down the street. That’s where we get into the importance of local search.

Recommendation for Retailers
There’s still a huge gap of people not making purchases with Amazon Echo. We envision that smaller businesses will be able to really make a splash in this market, specifically by having a presence for “near me” searches.

How to Optimize for Local Search

  1. Prepare your business information.
  2. Update your local business data providers.
  3. Claim and optimize key local business listings.
  4. Optimize your website.
  5. Solicit and manage customer reviews.
  6. Check reviews and listings regularly.

With voice search becoming a major player in this year’s Search Marketing game, retailers need to start making moves. Just making some quick optimization adjustments will keep them in the game and not left in the dust by competitors.

Are you ready for the year of voice search?

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