Voice Marketing: How Will Voice Search Change Marketing

The voice marketing trend is one of the hottest new trends in marketing. The use of voice search has become more common among businesses and users. Marketers have adopted this technology, from audio recordings to content reading, as a ranking booster for their online businesses. Since the invention of Google Assistant in 2011, the voice search market has gained momentum, making voice assistants the new battleground for brands.

The rise of voice assistants has resulted in consumers preferring to use their voices rather than type them when searching, which means businesses should optimise their products and content for voice searches to succeed.

According to Statista's report, The future of voice recognition, 35 per cent of the US population currently own a smart speaker, and by 2025 the number is expected to rise to 75 per cent. Therefore, voice search marketing is the future of digital marketing. It has become the vanguard of search marketing due to the convenience it provides for users.

To fully grasp the benefits of voice search, let's first examine what voice search is.

How Does Voice Search Work?

It has been twenty years since the internet became a visual medium before voice technology emerged as the world's most disruptive force, and almost 50% of all searches are now voice-driven. Although voice search technology had its origins many decades ago, the way we know it right now is a 2011 innovation from Google that lets users search for queries via voice commands over the browser or an application. Users speak the query directly into a device as an alternative to typing keywords into a search engine. Then, listicles or FAQs relevant to their situation are sent to them to provide them with a solution.

Now, you've probably called out to your mobile phone or voice-enabled device for assistance. "Okay, Google,...?", "Hey Siri", "Alexa", or even just "Google,..." you activate your Voice Assistant with this phrase, which provides smart-speaker support using your mobile device (such as Siri) or innovative tools (such as smart speakers from Amazon).

According to a 2021 TechRepublic survey, at least 42% of people using voice-enabled devices agree that voice assistants are a revolutionary invention because they are quicker to reach solutions than typing. Voice assistants provide search solutions through advanced speech recognition systems, and an Insider Intelligence report from 2021 stated that online searching and shopping are becoming increasingly reliant on voice-powered search. According to Google data, 40 per cent of the global population already uses voice search on mobile devices, and young people make up the majority of that group. However, whereas in traditional search engines, Google is a clear market leader in voice search, this is not yet the case, which means that brands need to target multiple voice platforms to achieve results.

AI-Driven Voice for Marketing Systems: What's Next?

As the AI technology behind voice recognition systems continues to improve, voice assistants are

increasingly smart and capable of handling a wide range of languages and interactions. As such AI-powered voice search is poised to reach a level of potential which is almost limitless in the future. Moreover, according to the World Economic Forum, people are increasingly comfortable with AI in general, so it is only natural that artificial intelligence-driven voice search systems will become even more commonplace.

Speech recognition systems are used in various industries and have a crucial role in improving the quality of life for people. Let's look at how speech recognition software is used for marketing purposes.

The Rise of Digital Assistants Usage for Shopping Purposes

A report by Adobe Analytics revealed that despite not many smart speaker owners placing orders via their devices, they rely heavily on their speakers to make informed buying decisions (47%), compare product prices (32%), or add items to their shopping basket (43%).

By 2022, voice shopping will be worth $55.68 billion. Several global brands, such as Domino's, Johnnie Walker, and Nestlé, have already adopted voice technology to improve customer communication.

Is Voice Marketing Important For Your Business?

Organisations should consider developing a voice marketing strategy as more people interact with Voice Assistants. Whereas in traditional search, a user is presented with hundreds of results when asking a question, the AI Assistant generally only presents one result within voice search. This completely changes the game for marketers, who would need to fight harder for that top position and have less influence over it.

While consumers appreciate the ease of use to ask a question and receive an instant answer, it also means that more decision-making is moved from the individual to the AI. Whether that is a good idea remains to be seen, but it should be clear that voice marketing is essential for organisations. However, search engine optimisation (SEO) for AI assistants, who increasingly are on more devices that traditionally would not be used for search, such as smartwatches or speakers, is significantly harder than SEO for traditional search engines.

How Can Voice Search Marketing Benefit Businesses?

While digital marketing for voice searches is one approach to voice marketing, organisations can also use voice technology to improve their organisation. Of course, the likes of Siri, Google Assistant, Alexa or Cortana are not the only tools that benefit from voice technology.

Voice recognition technology has improved drastically over the years, enabling a wide variety of new solutions, ranging from automated speech-to-text to automatically transcribe meetings or recordings, to voice recognition software used in call centres to better understand the customers who are calling.

The availability of this technology allows for more natural customer service help over the phone and the ability to deal with simple issues. In addition, businesses can use voice recognition software to gather customer feedback when they call. This feedback can help companies understand what their customers want, which helps them better tailor their products and services accordingly, and as a consequence, their marketing campaigns as well.

Useful Voice Recognition Apps for Marketers

Voice recognition is becoming more common in customer service and marketing tools because it provides a more personal experience with customers.

To handle this effectively, there are several applications for voice recognition technology, from online customer service to in-store marketing. Here are a few examples of voice recognitions apps for marketers:

Sensory

Sensory has enhanced user experiences with machine learning technologies, including voice and natural language processing, since 1994. Sensory offers neural network-based embedded speech recognition, mostly in consumer electronics. Using the company's technology, consumers can also control and access features with natural language without sending private data to the cloud.

Sensory creates technology that makes everyday products smarter and easier to use. Sensory's flexible wake word, small to large vocabulary speech recognition, and natural language understanding technologies are fueling the voice revolution in computing.

The company's biometric recognition technologies, which include face and voice ID as well as fingerprint sensors, are making everything from unlocking a device to authenticating users for digital transactions faster and safer.

Recently, Sensory launched VoiceHub, an online tool that makes it easy for developers to create wake word models and voice control command sets. VoiceHub offers flexibility by allowing users to select languages and model sizes quickly through drop-down menus.

Google Docs Voice Typing

One old-school tool still useful today is the Google Docs voice typing function. It works by installing a Chrome browser extension and turning on your computer's microphone; once enabled, you can start talking to AutoComplete text fields or use "OK Google" commands in any supported app.

You can see your words instantly translated into written form as you speak them. In addition, you can activate several commands that let you edit and format your document as you speak—such as setting text in boldface or creating a bulleted list.

Google Docs Voice Typing can be a godsend for marketers who spend a lot of time brainstorming, writing and creating content. The benefits are crystal clear: think about all the content you could create by simply cutting down on the time you spend typing.

Speechnotes

Speechnotes is an online web-based tool that takes speech and transcribes it into text with incredible accuracy. Speechnotes was created by a group of transcriptionists who came up with the idea because they were frustrated with other tools—and their creation has become one of the most popular voice recognition engines on the market.

Speechnotes has helpful features, including automatically capitalising all words at the beginning of sentences and saving documents even if you lose your internet connection. It also allows you to simultaneously use voice commands and speech-to-text and transcribe files from dictation.

If your marketing team produces a lot of content based on client interviews, brainstorming sessions and call-based content production, you will save loads more time by using Speechnotes to transcribe those files.

Typing is Different from Talking

The voice search, voice recognition, and text-to-voice capabilities of today's smart devices may not be perfect yet—but they are already a big part of our lives. Increasingly, people speak to their devices, and speaking is fundamentally different from typing. It is easier, faster and more efficient; hence, people might ask for different things differently.

Implementing voice recognition tools in your apps can help marketers better understand how customers would verbally ask a question related to your product instead of typing it in a search bar. This allows them to create better-optimised content for voice queries by using language customers might actually use when speaking with one another about the company's product or service.

As AI-powered devices improve and more user study data becomes available, marketers can leverage voice recognition tools to optimise their marketing strategies by reaching more customers.

Ethical Considerations for Voice Artificial Intelligence

Since voice closely mimics human speech and experience, it is more likely to be manipulated and misrepresented than AI. You can probably imagine some of the malicious ways voice manipulation could be used. It is possible to create audio recordings of individuals speaking sentences that they never actually said, which could be used to discredit someone's reputation or implicate them in a criminal act.

So does voice manipulation have ethical implications? Like photo and video manipulation, it can be used for good—and bad.

We are also inclined to trust interfaces with a voice, such as Siri and Alexa, and AI-powered voice assistants will likely interact with customers in real time. Consequently, it can cause significant harm to consumers in the form of manipulation or sometimes cause great damage to their wealth, especially since voice cloning has become relatively easy these days. For instance, one controversial theft case through an AI-powered voice system took place in 2019.

In a Washington Post article, according to representatives of the French insurance giant Euler Hermes, which declined to name the company involved, a British managing director believed that his boss was on the phone when he requested to wire $240,000 to a 'client's' bank account.\.

The same article explains how a number of tech giants and smaller firms have used advancements in voice-print analysis to refine their products, making them more widely available—for free.

We have a lot to figure out when it comes to voice search. Google, Alexa, and other search engines are still trying to find the best way to do this. There is no clear solution at this point regarding how we want such technologies to work and best market your products to voice assistants. The future of voice search is interesting, however. While the ethical dilemmas with such technology will likely be resolved over time, voice search will likely add an entirely new layer of ethics to our society altogether.

Creating Ethical Artificial Intelligence

Voice assistants are designed to be personal and capable of understanding human speech patterns. They constantly listen closely to how people speak, often in real time. They learn from their behaviour and adapt accordingly. As a result, voice assistants can be used in many different ways — from helping us make decisions about our daily lives to providing valuable insights into how consumers behave online.

But how does this affect ethics? I believe there are three key areas where ethics must be considered when developing voice marketing strategies and executing their tasks:

Voice technology allows companies to collect data about their customers' interests and preferences without explicit consent — which could lead to breaches of privacy if misused by marketers or advertisers.

Voice technology can collect and analyse a vast amount of data about the individual, which raises privacy concerns. This data can include gender, age, and even address history, which can be used to create detailed profiles of people. Voice assistants also collect metadata related to calls (such as length and time of day) and the emotional state of the person talking, which could be used by insurers or other third parties to discriminate against individuals.

For instance, in any marketing campaign, you must ensure that people know who they are talking to and what their information will be used for. You should always ensure that users understand what will happen with their information and voice data when using voice assistants. This can be done by including clear messaging within your campaign, explaining what happens next once someone has interacted with your campaign through their device.

Respect for Privacy

The relationship between the customer and your brand is the most important one. When people engage with a brand through voice, they expect privacy. They expect to be able to ask questions, share information, and express opinions without fear of being overheard. This extends beyond just asking questions about products or services; it also includes telling you about their hopes, dreams, and aspirations. You must respect this relationship by only using the data you receive in ways that align with your customers' expectations.

If people feel like their privacy has been violated by your company's use of voice technology, they will be less likely to buy from you in future interactions.

Security

If your voice assistant is connected to your home network, it can listen in on your conversations and then share them with other devices on your network. This makes it vulnerable to hacking by criminals who want access to personal information (such as private conversations with your children), which could lead to identity theft or fraud.

First of all, enterprises must adhere to (human) privacy laws regarding any voice data collection solution. Customers must be aware that all their actions and words on your website or in your app may be incorporated into a future AI model.

A model should not be hampered by IP or other personal information. A company's data usage should be monitored and judged regularly based on bias tests. The systems should be transparent to inspection since voice AI is potentially prone to failure, like any other AI. Customer service is particularly important here since the product directly interacts with consumers and makes or breaks trust.

Lastly, any organisation that uses voice data and transcribes it to text for further analysis should ensure the data is encrypted and secure and not sold to third parties without explicit consent.

Risks Associated With the Use of Voice Technology

Consumers and businesses share a lot of information with voice assistants, speech-to-text platforms, and video conferencing platforms.

In most voice recognition systems, users record their voices and store them in the cloud so that they can be processed and retrieved in response to their requests. It is also common for AI systems to use this data for training algorithms aimed at improving speech recognition accuracy. Naturally, consumers should consent to using their voice data in training the algorithms. Requesting such consent cannot be hidden in the terms and conditions users need to accept before using a service.

It may not be a danger to users' privacy if biometric information is stored locally. When these data are stored in the cloud by companies that offer voice recognition devices, abuses can occur.

Many users complained that Google, Amazon, and Apple improperly recorded voice recordings and analysed them for targeted advertising and software improvement, which sometimes violated state wiretapping laws.

According to reports, these big corporations worked together to analyse the recorded voice data.

There are also instances where these voice recordings violated the EU's General Data Protection Regulation.

What Will Be the Impact of Voice AI?

The role of voice assistants is expected to shift from reactive to proactive in the near future. By collecting context-specific information, assistants take the initiative by making helpful suggestions to the user instead of waiting for their commands. For example, people can obtain information about fuel levels, diagnostics, service needs, or system settings they might need to adjust using their vehicle's voice assistant. Hence, the voice assistant will suggest going to a gas station when fuel levels are low (with GPS directions if necessary).

A voice assistant in a car could be integrated with an IoT device or a home automation system to make intelligent use of home automation and IoT devices in the home. This way, car owners could turn off the lights, set the alarm after they leave home, and turn on the heater when they return.

Voice assistants can authenticate purchases by recognising voice commands and matching them to credit cards or bank accounts. Voice commands will allow customers to pay for their orders; they will have to confirm the payment with the voice assistant that matches the hash of the voice to the one stored. To much extent, voice biometrics could prove useful. Due to the unique nature of each voiceprint and the nearly impossible-to-fake nature of the technology, voice assistants equipped with biometric technology that uses voice biometrics should be able to distinguish between real bank accounts and credit card fraudsters almost immediately.

A growing number of people are choosing to pay through voice commands. Compared to 2017, only 8% of US adults used voice payments, and 24% by 2021. By the end of 2022, Statista predicts that over 31% of Americans will use voice payments due to the increasing need for instant and contactless payment methods. Another indicator of voice assistants' vast market is that the global market for smart speakers based on voice could grow to $30 billion by 2024.

Final Thoughts

Voice recognition technology is becoming increasingly important due to a combination of factors. On the one hand, consumers own devices that make it easier to interact with companies through their voices. On the other, businesses are increasingly interested in marketing through voice technology.

The future of voice marketing will be promising but also highly challenging when it comes to voice search. Businesses can look forward to interactions with their customers that are more focused, effective, and efficient. However, often, it means that the exchange happens with an AI assistant instead of a company's own platform.

Dr Mark van Rijmenam
Dr Mark van Rijmenam

Dr Mark van Rijmenam is The Digital Speaker. He is a future tech strategist who thinks about how technology changes organisations, society and the metaverse. Dr Mark van Rijmenam is an international keynote speaker, 4x author and entrepreneur. He is the founder of Datafloq and the author of the book on the metaverse: Step into the Metaverse: How the Immersive Internet Will Unlock a Trillion-Dollar Social Economy detailing what the metaverse is and how organizations and consumers can benefit from the immersive internet.

He is the publisher of the ‘f(x) = e^x‘ newsletter, read by thousands of executives, on the future of work and the organization of tomorrow. The Digital Speaker has spoken in 20 countries across the globe and collectively inspired over 100.000 managers, directors and C-level executives.

Dr Mark van Rijmenam is The Digital Speaker. He is a future tech strategist who thinks about how emerging technologies change organizations, society and the metaverse. Van Rijmenam is an international keynote speaker, 4x author and entrepreneur.

Share