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Voice Search and Advertising: Adapting to Changing Consumer Behaviors

Wilson Lau

Sr. SEO Marketing Manager @ AdRoll

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In the digital age, consumer behaviors are constantly evolving, driven by technological advancements and changing preferences. One significant shift that has emerged in recent years is the increasing popularity of voice search. With the rise of virtual assistants like Siri, Google Assistant, and Alexa, consumers are turning to voice commands to search for information, make purchases, and interact with brands. As a result, advertisers must adapt their strategies to effectively reach and engage with these consumers in an era where convenience reigns supreme.

Voice search, or voice commerce, refers to consumers using voice commands to make purchases or transactions through virtual assistants or voice-enabled devices. Voice search offers convenience and efficiency, allowing consumers to search for information hands-free and with natural language queries. Whether it's finding nearby restaurants or researching products, voice search has become an integral part of everyday life for many consumers. 

In fact, according to a PWC study, 50% of respondents have made a purchase using their voice assistant, and an additional 25% would consider doing so in the future. Advertisers can take advantage of this momentum to increase loyalty for repeat purchases, transparency for greater trust, and push for bigger purchases. 

Strategies to Adapt to Consumer Behavior

To effectively leverage voice search in advertising, brands must understand how consumers use voice commands and tailor their strategies accordingly. Here are some key considerations for adapting to changing consumer behaviors.

1. Use conversational and long-tail keywords.

Unlike traditional text-based searches, voice queries are more conversational and long-tail. Consumers are more likely to use natural language when speaking to virtual assistants, so advertisers should optimize their content with conversational keywords and phrases. Advertisers should add long-tail keywords to the mix, which are highly targeted search phrases that serve searcher intent and mimic how people speak in everyday conversations rather than short, generic terms. For example, if a consumer wants to find a specific bag, they aren’t going to ask Siri to just search for “purses.” They’ll include the brand name, color, model, or other key descriptors unique to that purse. 

If you’re having trouble coming up with keywords, resources like Semrush’s Keyword Magic Tool can help you find the most popular questions and keywords relevant to your product or market. 

2. Local optimization is essential for local businesses.

Consumers heavily use voice search for local queries, such as finding nearby restaurants or services. Local businesses must optimize their online presence for local search, including claiming and updating their business listings, incorporating location-specific keywords, and providing accurate information across online directories. Consistent messaging and optimization across various directories will make you a trustworthy business. Online reviews, an active social media presence, and a modern website will also be beneficial. Be sure to focus on being a highly rated and active business in your local and online community. 

3. Search Engine Results Pages (SERPs) are often overlooked.

Many voice search results come from featured snippets, which are a type of enhanced SERP that shows a preview of a page’s content to help answer questions quickly. In fact, featured snippets appear in 40.7% of voice search results. Brands can increase their chances of appearing in featured snippets by providing clear and concise answers to commonly asked questions related to their products or services. 

Let’s say someone is looking for eco-friendly cleaning products. You want to ensure your featured snippet has keywords like sustainable, non-toxic, or zero-waste. It should include a general overview of the type of products and mission statement. Keep it short but specific to how consumers will most likely approach their search through their voice assistant. 

4. Mobile and website optimization is critical!

Consumers predominantly use voice search with wearable and mobile devices, so advertisers must ensure their websites are mobile-friendly. There are many ways to adapt your online shop to a voice-first design. Most importantly, focus on improving your site speed to ensure fast loading times since consumers expect quick responses when conducting voice searches on their devices. To provide a consistent experience across desktops, tablets, and phones, make sure your website can adapt seamlessly to various screen sizes and devices. For voice search in particular, your website content should be optimized specifically for mobile users through concise paragraphs, bullet points, and clear navigation menus.

Additionally, consider developing voice-enabled apps and integrations to capitalize on the growing popularity of voice assistants. By integrating voice commands into your mobile apps, you can offer enhanced convenience for consumers, allowing them to perform tasks and access information hands-free. Rigorous testing will be vital to providing the best experience for your audience. 

5. Deliver personalized experiences via voice.

Virtual assistants like Alexa and Google Assistant allow advertisers to leverage vast amounts of data collected from user interactions and deliver targeted ads and promotions to highly relevant audiences. Advertisers can gain valuable insights by analyzing consumer preferences, search history, purchase behavior, and demographic information. For example, by understanding a consumer’s past purchases and browsing history, advertisers can recommend products or services that align with their interests and preferences, increasing the likelihood of conversion. Additionally, virtual assistants can leverage contextual information such as location, time of day, and weather conditions to deliver hyper-targeted messages and promotions. However, this is a slippery slope now that consumers are increasingly concerned about their privacy, especially with the idea of their devices “listening” to them. 

It’s also important to note that most consumers who purchase via voice search are making small, repeated purchases such as groceries or a book. Optimizing your strategies that focus on building loyalty with consumers who make repeat purchases is recommended before expanding your voice commerce efforts. 

Listen to Your Audience 

As technology and consumer behavior continue to evolve, voice commerce is expected to become an integral part of the omnichannel shopping experience, offering new opportunities for businesses to engage with consumers and drive sales. Embracing this shift will be crucial for staying competitive in the ever-evolving digital world! Reach out to AdRoll to find the right customers for your business.

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