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How Far Has Voice Search Progressed to Date?

Image Credit: it.wikipedia

Looking back a few years to when the paid search landscape was maxed out, voice search seemed a good avenue to find demand and additional traffic for clients. The problem concerned the difficulty of supporting our ideas with statistics in order to drive sales off the back of running the campaign. We were digging into data that were available on the advertising platforms of the various search engines, but nothing promising was being revealed.

Recently, after spending 10+ hours a day on my computer/phone resulting in chronic neck and shoulder pains, the only way to survive was to reduce the time spent on these devices. This motivated me to seek out other ways to reduce my screen-time and keyboard use…

In the past, I had been in conferences run by Google where they demonstrated the advantages of voice-search over typed-search inquiries. Drawing upon this experience, I’ve been reflecting on the scope to integrate the power of voice search and voice typing as part of broader changes in my working habits.

So, I thought it was time to dig once more into some industry articles to find out about recent advances in voice search technologies. I was positive that there would be many people like me that found voice search an appealing possibility; after all I’m a consumer and a shift in my behaviour can be representative of a shift in consumer behaviour at a larger scale…

What is voice search?

According to Wikipedia ‘’voice search is also called voice-enabled, allow[ing] the user to use a voice command to search the Internet, a website, or an app. In a broader definition, voice search includes open-domain keyword query on any information on the Internet, for example in Google Voice Search, Cortana, Siri and Amazon Echo. Voice search is often interactive, involving several rounds of interaction that allows a system to ask for clarification. Voice search is a type of dialog system.’’

Voice search demand in the market

Source: Statista 2019

The stats above show the extent to which internet users globally used voice search in the previous 12 months on various devices, broken down by age groups – the survey was conducted from Q4 2018 to Q1 2019. As expected, Mobile devices have a higher share compared to Laptops and PCs, due to the nature of voice search and its convenience while on the move.  Although the highest use goes to Any device, which I am assuming refers to things such as Amazon Alexa and Google Home devices.

Where do you start to incorporate voice search in your search advertising strategy?

As Jared Belsky in his Think with Google article suggests, ‘‘If you can understand how, where, and why your customers use voice, you can find natural connections between your brand and their needs.’’ Think about what Phrases consumers may use in order to find your products or brand. For example, what would be the result for voice searching something specific or non-specific about your products or services? See examples below from a voice search on a mobile device for both types of queries (i.e. specific & non-specific).

Image Credit: Google Voice Search Result

Following on from this, you need to think about how you might then utilise the voice search to enhance the user journey (See Jared Belsky’s article).

In Sara Kleinberg’s article, also published on Think with Google, she draws from a US-based survey in order to highlight those things that owners of voice-activated speakers would like to receive from brands:

  • information from brands about sales, deals and promotions – 52%
  • personalised tips and information that make their life easier – 48%
  • information about upcoming events and activities – 42%
  • options to find business information (e.g. store locations) – 39%
  • access to customer services and support – 38%

While some of us might still think there isn’t enough demand to invest resources in voice search strategy & implementation, the market trend clearly shows a growth in the area. Like anything else, the sooner brands adapt to the landscape the more likelihood of success. This early adaptation will give advertisers sufficient time to test, learn and polish their strategy and tactics.

Is Paid Search the Right Channel for Your Brand on Black Friday?

Image Credit: Alyssa Powell/Business insider

The giant Paid Search (PPC) platforms, Google and Bing, have already started preparing advertisers for one of the biggest shopping days of the year, Black Friday.

Microsoft advertising published new statistics earlier this month, indicating that 45% of the searches in the build-up to Black Friday are non-branded (generic) terms, showing how important it is for advertisers to use generic keywords  in order to capture those audiences interested in their products. These audience lists can then be utilised in remarketing campaigns closer to Black Friday.

The stats, based on last year’s consumer behaviour during Black Friday’s shopping peak also show that 33% of purchases online were made on mobile devices, indicating the importance for your website to be mobile friendly in order to complete the user journey to conversion. Naturally, research on products by consumers goes up during the Black Friday period/Cyber Monday, and as searchers shop for the Christmas season we expect to see even higher demand during this time.

While knowing consumer behaviour helps advertisers to plan ahead and have the right set up in place for campaign management and audience list building, don’t forget that demand for generic keywords rises too. As a result, these keywords become more expensive, requiring greater budget investment from brands. So key a question for advertisers to answer is: should they invest in their paid search channel and, if so, should they only focus on particular audience lists that are more valuable and loyal to them? That’s a crucial decision for any brand and especially for small businesses. According to Adobe Insights, based on last year Black Friday trends, 50% of revenue generated during this shopping peak was associated with marketing tactics that involved Paid Search directly in the users’ journey. In fact, this channel was the only channel among others with a YOY growth of 6%. This tells you that investment in Paid Search will be very likely to pay off.

If you made the decision to run a Paid Search campaign for the Black Friday sale, then you could work on a Shopping ads campaign to showcase your products on both Google and Bing search engines. See the iPhone Shopping ads below, sponsored by different retailers appearing on Google.

Source: Google Search Engine

In addition, Dynamic Search ads allow you to target relevant queries automatically based on the content of your web pages. The figure below helps you to understand how this type of text ad works.

Source: Microsoft Advertising Masters

In this blog post, we have only given you a few examples of the many Paid  Search products available on Google and Bing search advertising platforms. Running a small or medium size business and working on a tight budget, we strongly advise you to choose the product that is right for your brand. Always test products before you launch them across your Paid Search account. It’s best to test them outside the peak season and stick to what you know generates the best return on investment for your business during Black Friday so your marketing budget is managed effectively. Lastly, don’t forget that the audience list that you build on people who have visited your website during the Black Friday period is a valuable list for remarketing during the Christmas campaign. Good luck & happy selling!

Video Advertising is the Way to Move Forward…

According to eMarketer, 61% of American Internet users watched TV programmes via Netflix in 2019, followed by 52% via YouTube, 37% via Amazon Prime, and traditional TV viewing i.e. watching  a programme when it’s aired on TV, came in fourth at 36%, confirming that audiences increasingly watch what they want, where they want, and when they want. To advertisers, regardless of the size of their advertising budget, this sends a strong message: the era of investing heavily in TV commercials to reach the mass audience is nearly at its end, and video advertising is the way to move forward…

Source: Datareportal | Similarweb

Within the context of global Internet traffic (see above), YouTube, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Amazon and Netflix are all among the top 20 most visited websites; some of these websites are recognised as video platforms and some as social media. Importantly, there is an overlap between video advertising and social media.

Let’s have a closer look at video marketing by going through some examples on the YouTube platform. Like any other marketing campaign, your video campaign will have goals based on the results you want to achieve for your business at any given time. You might need to increase awareness or drive an action such as purchase or sign up. Focusing on actions, there are several video ad types to drive this goal and one of them is ‘Trueview for Action’. The ad format is skippable, so advertisers shouldn’t be worried about frustrating their audience by making them watch the entire video ad. This video ad should be at least 10 seconds or longer in length. As is illustrated below, because there is a Call to Action button appearing close to the ‘Skip ad’ button, it will encourage audience engagement/ click on the CTA button. More detailed instructions as to how you can set up this type of video campaign can be found here.

Image Credit: support.google.com

For example, Marley Spoon, the Berlin- based meal kit (delivering pre-portioned ingredients for the recipes their customers love), ran a couple of YouTube ad campaigns to achieve an increase in brand awareness and sales. The latter was managed via a ‘Trueview for Action’ campaign and it was done by encouraging viewers to click on a ‘Try Now’ CTA button and directing them to Marley Spoon website. Read more, if you’re interested to know how their video advertising campaign performed.

Image Credit: thinkwithgoogle.com

Don’t Miss Out on Free Exposure with Google My Business, Especially if You Own a Small Business

The free marketing tool, Google My Business, gives your business a sense of credibility when your existing or potential customers search for you on Google. This feature ensures that your business name with all its details such as location, opening hours, website, photos, customers reviews, your business social media profiles and much more appears in the right-hand side of the search engine.

Image Credit: Google Search Result

Don’t worry if you’re in a business that doesn’t require customers to visit your location, you can still create your business profile on Google’s listing. Google My Business allows you to hide your exact location on the map if your business address is the same as your home address. Google does, however, need to verify your location and your ownership in order to add a business onto its listing. This means you must provide them with the exact address of your business and they will send you a code via post or email for verification. Upon receiving the code, you need to enter that to your Google My Business account to complete setting up the profile.

As noted above, your business social media profiles from Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, Instagram, etc can be added to your Google My Business. To do this, you need to add a script for each of those profiles to the back end of your website. Remember to connect your business profile to your website so that scripts can do their job. If WordPress is your website hosting platform, this step by step guide will help you integrate the two accounts – if you have already set up your Google My Business Profile before this integration, you may see different Call-to-Action buttons from what’s in the guide.

Certain business categories can benefit from specific features available on Google My Business. For example, bars and restaurants can have links for online reservations, orders and even menus added to their business profile. There are also options available for adding events information or special offers to your profile, depending on the type of business you’re in.

And finally, something exciting for those who love details and numbers. There is an Insights section on Google My Business that provides data concerning visits to your business profile. For example, you could learn how customers searched for your business, what queries they searched to find your business, what actions they took on visiting your business and much more! If you integrated your WordPress website with your Google My Business profile, all these stats would be available in your website dashboard too.

We hope you found this article helpful. If interested in setting up your business profile on Google My Business, here is where you can get started.

Running a Small Business? Let Your Potential Clients Know You’re Available for Business on LinkedIn!

Earlier this week LinkedIn, the networking provider helping professionals to socialise and find new career and business opportunities, launched a new product aiming to help freelancers and small businesses to reach potential new clients. Already launched in the US market to Premium Business subscribers, the new LinkedIn feature allows users to update their profile with the type of services they offer so when someone searches on LinkedIn to find the same service, their profile will appear in the search results. Members can then message the service provider directly to find out more.

According to Business Statistics by Chris Rhodes, published by House of Commons Library in Dec 2018, there were 5.7 million small and medium sized enterprises (SMEs) in the UK in 2018, which accounted for over 99% of all businesses – SME is any business with fewer than 250 employees. Moreover, of those, 5.4 million were micro-businesses (0-9 employees), accounting for 96% of all businesses. This illustrates the significant role that SMEs play in the economy and it’s great to see LinkedIn recognising the help they need to market and put their name and services in front of the right clients at the right time.

Another great thing about the new product is that users can show a location for the service they sell and even express an interest in working remotely. Below, are some screenshots showing the form you need to fill in for the feature to appear on your profile, when the new service becomes available in the UK market.

Image Credit: LinkedIn

So, if you’re a small business owner or doing freelance work, here is a great way for you to advertise your brand and shout out about your skills and expertise. You can currently show your interest in gaining access to the service on LinkedIn by signing up to be added to a waitlist here.