Does Voice Recognition Technology Pose a Threat to Advertisers?

Posted on March 28, 2018

“Alexa, what’s the latest threat to advertisers?” Ironically, the answer is voice recognition technology. Now that home speaker hubs, televisions, and of course, smartphones are equipped with applications that handle voice commands, it is becoming quite routine for people to dictate messages and conduct online searches via voice. That means voice is not only the new user interface, but it is also the latest source of revenue for brands and businesses. Beyond asking for directions and cuing the lights, people are using voice commands to make purchases. In fact, according to recent data from Invoca, 73% of consumers have used voice assistant to make purchases directly through their device.

The Side Effects of Voice Technology

The side effect of all this virtual assisting, is simple: the real estate available to advertisers will shrink dramatically, not to mention, according to a recent research done by Backlinko, the average voice search results in just 4.6 seconds. This is 52% faster than the average internet page load. Although a business could insert a sponsored suggestion into a voice assistant’s response, there will still never be the opportunity to offer as many ads as a Google search results page. Analysts are intrigued and want to know more about, particularly with brands like Amazon’s Alexa, Microsoft’s Cortana, Apple’s Siri, and others competing to become the most intelligent assistant available.

Monetizing Search in a Voice World

We are still in the very early days of this type of technology, yet possibilities to monetize are still springing into light. For instance, a brand could integrate third parties into their advertising. This concept will surely evolve in the coming years. Essentially, instead of skewing and reducing commercial activity, voice search will provide an additional way for people to interact with Google. Analysts are telling advertisers not to fret and instead, get excited over the fact that voice essentially expanded the pie.

When Backlinko recently analyzed 10,000 Google Home users and investigated the role of 11 potential factors on voice assistant search, they discovered some amazing results that any brand, business, and advertiser would find fascinating including:

●   A voice search result is typically less than 30 words, meaning Google prefers the shortest, most concise answers to all voice search queries.
●    Interestingly enough, the content from voice search SEO is written at a 9th grade reading level.
●    The content in which there are higher levels of social engagement perform the best in voice search. To put it in perspective, average voice search results have 44 tweets and 1,199 Facebook shares
●   Few voice search results had the exact query in their title tag. Therefore, developing individual pages for every voice search would not appear to be an effective nor efficient voice search SEO strategy.
●   Voice search result pages have an average word count of 2,312 words. SEO can play a big role here since it appears as though Google tends to source long form content for the answers to voice search inquiries.
●   HTTPS websites top Google’s voice search results with 70.4% of Google Home results being secured HTTPS pages.
●   Content ranking high in desktop search is more likely to appear as a voice search result with the top 3 ranking for that inquiry approximately 75% of voice search answers.

Legacy Media Businesses are Typically the Most Vulnerable

Even though virtual assistants may have expanded opportunities for advertisers, legacy media businesses are typically slow to adapt and are often the most vulnerable when it comes to new media tech. After all, the newspaper business is still struggling to adapt to the internet. Some newspapers have shut down completely while new digital organizations have grown and flourished in an arena once solely occupied by paper products. Similarly, cable companies and television businesses have had to adapt against the fierce fight in on-demand and internet services.

Screen-Based Search in a Legacy of its Own

Whether advertisers want to accept it or not, fairly soon, screen-based search will be under the same umbrella as screen-based searches. Of course, that is exactly the kind of upset that new tech startups seek out to disrupt. So, depending on your perspective, the upset may not be such a bad thing, especially for the tech industry.

Google Already has Their Head in the Game

Before voice search was even a thought, four years ago Google was worried they might have an issue with people doing more of their searches on mobile instead of at their desktops. They stepped up to the challenge and still dominate the search engine category. So there’s no doubt they are already thinking about how to stay king while dominating voice search as well.

So while the answer to the question at hand is still being analyzed, research is showing that the threat is not as big as it may seem. It simply means change is ahead for the way businesses advertise online and the businesses that can be the most flexible will continue to stay ahead of the competition. This is nothing new, after all, in a tech-focused world, businesses should know they should never get comfortable in any given platform because opportunities in media are always expanding.