|Photo Credits: quotecatalog.com|
Advertising online has required an understanding of textual search results and optimization through keywords. But the digital world is ever-changing as technology introduces more efficiency and ease into our lives, and artificially intelligent automation requires us to cede privacy more and more with each passing year. Recently, smart speakers, and specifically voice-activated search, have made a huge impact on how we use those devices. With the smart-speaker versions of Siri, Alexa, and Google Home increasing in popularity, we are beginning to treat and speak to our devices as if they are live people. Voice search is huge, and by 2020, at least 30% of search will be voice-commanded. If you’re in the digital marketing business or you market your own company online, you should tune into this future - and the future of digital marketing, it appears, could be smart speakers.
But why is voice-activated software so popular anyways? How is it growing at such a fast rate, and why is it capable of becoming the future of all digital search?
- It’s accessible. Voice recognition technology is available to everyone - yes, even those parents or grandparents who can’t type a sentence to save their life. In fact, nearly 50% of smart speaker owners are 45 years and up.
- It’s effortless - really effortless. Not only is voice recognition accessible to everyone, but its effortlessness is widely appealing. Finding a quick answer or suggestion is as easy as verbally asking for what you’re looking for. It provides hands-free use for when you’re busy or occupied with other tasks, making it convenient for absolutely any time.
- It’s personal. A whopping 68% of smart speaker owners use theirs “for fun,” along with the nearly 50% of owners who feel that their smart speaker is their “friend.” We’re always hearing people say that our addictive technology isolates us and removes “real connection” from our lives; now, with voice-activated software, we can replace that lost social interaction with speaking to a program.
- Social media might be slowly dying. Contrary to popular belief, there’s evidence to suggest that social media has plateaued. A recent poll revealed that 79% of Americans have used social media, which is an increase from 2018’s 78%, but still a decrease from the peak of social media use, 80% in 2017. Social media might have seen its peak, which could mean the end of it in its current incarnation is on the horizon. A potential factor could be that the further technology becomes ingrained in our society, the more we demand quick information and reject inefficient, slower forms of information retrieval. Essentially, we’re becoming impatient information addicts who demand instant gratification when it comes to being fed digital stimuli. Think about your own internet use: do you remember the last time your browser froze? Didn’t you kind of want to smack your computer, or furiously tap your screen out of frustration?
Today's adults are not digital native millennials. While we’re moving into an age where everyone will be tech-savvy, it’s still important that new technology doesn’t exclude those who aren’t as inclined. Smart-speaker technology bridges the gap in that it's novel user-interface skews towards easier acceptance by non-tech natives (eg. many adults and the Baby Boomer generation alike).
In addition, this technology is an incredibly useful tool for the visually impaired, who report that smart speakers make their life more efficient because of the accessible quick search (amongst other features). Compared to regular search, which requires audio being available for text on screen, smart speakers introduce more accessibility than ever. Even those who are deaf can still make use of a voice-recognition device with Amazon’s Alexa, which recently added a “Tap to Alexa” feature that lets you use the device without speech. Voice-activated search is open to everyone, no matter where you stand with tech inclination or abilities.
Even if you aren’t busy, sometimes we’re too lazy to get our phone from across the room. Sometimes, we’re even too lazy to type a sentence on a device that’s right next to us. Voice-activated search gives us the opportunity to put in an embarrassingly small amount of effort to use modern technology. The bar has reached a new low where we don’t even have to expend the energy to touch our device in order to use it. Hence why smart speakers are so appealing, and why more and more young people are buying it.
Voice recognition has managed to tap into the natural human need to socialize and speak aloud in a conversational manner. Textual search and even social media cannot create this same level of personability and intimacy between device and user. It’s unique to voice-activated technology, where users are free to speak to Alexa, Siri, Cortana, or Google, as if they are a real person. We are social creatures who sometimes get lonely, and sad as it is, we enjoy speaking to the monotone voice living in our phone. Typing feels like we’re using a device, which isn’t as personable; speaking feels like socializing.
Here’s where smart speakers come in. As we’ve established, smart speakers are super quick and super easy - they’re exactly what we’re looking for these days. Quicker, more accessible results make information retrieval more gratifying than ever. We ask; we receive. We don’t even have to filter through results, because voice-activated search chooses for us. This technology is much more conducive to our ever-growing need for efficiency and ease, and thus, it could very well replace social media as the main form of technology or Internet use.
Voice-activated technology might be our most accessible, effortless, personal, and efficient form of digital search. Digital marketing’s reliance on textual search is sure to shift once voice search becomes a greater part of our lives. Catering to conversational search terms could become essential to marketing strategy, as we become more demanding of quick results and easy access.
Market your own business? Speak to one of our representatives today and get ahead of the game.