A New Era of Google Search: Add Google Assistant and voice – What It Means for SEO

Important changes are happening at Google and, in a world where marketing and algorithms intersect, those changes are largely happening under the radar.

The future of search looks like it will have considerably less search in it, and this isn’t just about the end of the 10 blue links, but about much more fundamental changes.

Let’s talk about some of those changes now, and what they mean for SEO.

Google Discover

Google Discover is a content recommendation engine that suggests content across the web based on a user’s search history and behavior.

Discover isn’t completely new (it was introduced in December of 2016 as Google Feed). But Google made an important change in late October (announced in September) when they added it to the Google homepage.

The revamp and rebranding to Discover added features like:

  • Topic headers to categorize feed results.
  • More images and videos.
  • Evergreen content, as opposed to just fresh content.
  • A toggle to tell Google if you want more or less content similar to a recommendation.
  • Google claims the recommendations are personalized to your level of expertise with a topic.

Google Discover hardly feels revolutionary at first. In fact, it feels overdue.

Our social media feeds are already dominated by content recommendation engines, and the YouTube content recommendation engine is responsible for 70% of the time spent on the site.

But Discover could have massive implications for the future of how users interact with content of the web.

While it’s unlikely Discover will ever reach the 70% level of YouTube’s content recommendation engine, if it swallows even a relatively small portion of Google search, say 10%, no SEO strategy will be complete without a tactic for earning that kind of traffic, especially since it will allow businesses to reach potential customers who aren’t even searching for the relevant terms yet.

Google Assistant

For most users, Google Assistant is a quiet and largely invisible revolution.

Its introduction to Android devices in February 2017 likely left most users feeling like it was little more than an upgraded Google Now, and in a sense that’s exactly what it is.

But as Google Assistant grows, it will increasingly influence how users interact with the web and decrease reliance on search.

Like its predecessor, Assistant can:

  • Search the web.
  • Schedule events and alarms.
  • Show Google account info.
  • Adjust device settings.

But the crucial difference is its ability to engage in two-way conversations, allowing users to get answers from the system without ever even looking at a search result.

An incredibly important change for the future of business and the web is the introduction of Google Express, the capability to add products to a shopping cart and order them entirely through Assistant.

But this feature is limited to businesses that are explicitly partnered with Google Express, an incredibly dramatic change from the Google search engine and its crawling of the open web.

Assistant can also identify what some images are. Google Duplex, an upcoming feature, will also allow Assistant to call businesses to schedule appointments and other similar actions on the user’s behalf.

The more users rely on Assistant, the less they will rely on Google search results, and the more businesses who hope to adapt will need to think of other ways to:

  • Leverage Assistant’s algorithms and other emerging technologies to fill in the gaps.
  • Adjust their SEO strategies to target the kind of behavior that is exclusive to search and search alone.

Google’s Declaration of a New Direction

Circa Google’s 20th anniversary, Google announced that its search product was closing an old chapter and opening a new one, with important new driving principles added.

They started by clarifying that these old principles wouldn’t be going away:

  • Focusing on serving the user’s information needs.
  • Providing the most relevant, high-quality information as quickly as possible.
  • Using an algorithmic approach.
  • Rigorously testing every change, including using quality rating guidelines to define search goals.

This means you should continue:

  • Putting the user first.
  • Being accurate and relevant.
  • Having some knowledge of algorithms.
  • Meeting Google’s quality rating guidelines.

But the following principles represent a dramatically new direction for Google Search:

Shifting from Answers to Journeys

Google is adding new features that will allow users to “pick up where they left off,” shifting the focus away from short-term answers to bigger, ongoing projects.

This currently already includes activity cards featuring previous pages visited and queries searched, the ability to add content to collections, and tabs that suggest what to learn about next, personalized to the user’s search history.

A new Topic layer has also been added to the Knowledge Graph, allowing Google to surface evergreen content suggestions for users interested in a particular topic.

Shifting from Queries to Queryless Ways to Provide Information

Perhaps the most important change to watch carefully, Google is looking for ways to help users who don’t even make a search query.

Google Discover is central to this effort and the inclusion of evergreen content, not just fresh content, represents an important change in how Google is thinking about the feed. This means more and more traditional search content will become feed content instead.

Shifting from Text to Visual Representation

Google is making important changes in the way information is presented by adding new visual capabilities.

They are introducing algorithmically generated AMP Stories, video compilations with relevant caption text like age and notable events in a person’s life.

New featured videos have been added to search, designed to offer an overview on topics you are interested in.

Image search has also been updated so that images featured on pages with relevant content take priority and pages where the image is central to the content rank better. Captions and suggested searches have been added as well.

Finally, Google Lens allows you to perform visual search based on objects that Google’s AI can detect in the image.

These changes to search are slipping under the radar somewhat for now, since user behavior rarely changes overnight.

But the likelihood that these features and Google’s new direction will have a dramatic impact on how search works is very high.

SEOs who ignore these changes and continue operating with a 2009 mindset will find themselves losing ground to competitors.

SEO After Search

While queries will always be an important part of the way we find information online, we’re now entering a new era of search.

An era that demands we start changing the way we think about SEO soon, while we can capitalize on the changing landscape.

The situation is not unlike when Google first came on the scene in 1998 when new opportunities were on the horizon that most at the time were unaware of and ill-prepared for.

As the technological landscape changes, we will need to alter our strategies and start thinking about questions and ideas like these in our vision for the future of our brands:

  • Less focus on queries and more focus on context appears inevitable. Where does our content fit into a user’s journey? What would they have learned before consuming it, and what will they need to know next? Note that this is much more vital than simply a shift from keywords to topics, which has been happening for a very long time already. Discovery without queries is much more fundamental and impacts our strategies in a much more profound way.
  • How much can we incorporate our lead generation funnel into that journey as it already exists, and how much can we influence that journey to push it in a different direction?
  • How can we create content and resources that users will want to bookmark and add to collections?
  • Why would Google recommend our content as a useful evergreen resource in Discover, and for what type of user?
  • Can we partner with Google on emerging products? How do we adapt when we can’t?
  • How should we incorporate AMP stories and similar visual content into our content strategy?
  • What type of content will always be exclusive to query-based search, and should we focus more or less on this type of content?
  • What types of content will Google’s AI capacities ultimately be able to replace entirely, and on what timeline? What will Google Assistant and it’s successors never be able to do that only content can?
  • To what extent is it possible for SEOs to adopt a “post-content” strategy?

With the future of search having Google itself doing more of the “searching” on the user’s behalf, we will need to get more creative in our thinking.

We must recognize that surfacing content has never been Google’s priority. It has always been focused on providing information.

Bigger Than Google

The changes on the horizon also signal that the SEO industry ought to start thinking bigger than Google.

What does that mean?

It means expanding the scope of SEO from search to the broader world where algorithms and marketing intersect.

It’s time to start thinking more about how our skills apply to:

  • Content recommendation engines
  • Social media algorithms
  • Ecommerce product recommendation engines
  • Amazon’s search algorithms
  • Smart devices, smart homes, and the internet of things
  • Mobile apps
  • Augmented reality

As doors on search close, new doors open everywhere users are interacting with algorithms that connect to the web and the broader digital world.

SEO professionals should not see the decline of traditional search as a death knell for the industry.

Instead, we should look at the inexorably increasing role algorithms play in peoples’ lives as a fertile ground full of emerging possibilities.

Loup Ventures Says 75% of U.S. Households Will Have Smart Speakers by 2025, Google to Surpass Amazon in Market Share

Loup Ventures has released an updated smart speaker sales forecast model that estimates 28% of the 128 million U.S. households had a smart speaker at the end of 2018. The company expects that figure to grow to 75% by 2025 which due to population growth will represent over 100 million households. Another 85 million households outside the U.S. are also expected to have smart speakers in use. The investment firm also expects 72.5 million smart speakers to be sold in the U.S. in 2019 generating device revenue of $9.8 billion. Those figures are forecasted to rise to 291 million units and $30 billion in 2025 revenue.

GOOGLE HOME (NEST) TO SURPASS AMAZON ECHO MARKET SHARE

The forecast also estimates that the Google Home (Nest) smart speaker product line will surpass Amazon Echo market share in 2023. By 2025, Google is expected to command smart speaker device sales share of 48.1% compared to 44.7% for Amazon Echo. However, at that point, Amazon will still lead Google in total devices sold overall with 640 million to 545 million respectively.

 

Alexa maintains a lead in market share, but Google continues to gain share; we expect this trend to continue based on its utility, as determined by our most recent test of digital assistants.

This is consistent with Voicebot’s analysis in the U.S. Google has risen from zero market share to just under 20% in 2017 to nearly 24% in 2018. In fact, Google Home added 600,000 more users than Amazon Echo in 2018.

During the 2014-2025 period, smart speaker sales in China will reach 287 million total devices sold, including 118 million units in 2025 alone. Combining sales from China, U.S, and the rest of the world, total smart speaker sales will surpass 1 billion units in 2023. Loup does not break out Chinese market share but does show growth rates for 2019 at over 70% that decline through 2025 to under 19%. The China sales forecast only indicates sales by Alibaba and Xioami. So, these figures are likely to be even higher when factoring in Baidu and eventually a WeChat-integrated device from Tencent.

APPLE NOT EXPECTED TO PLAY A BIG ROLE

Another interesting element of Loup Ventures’ current smart speaker forecast is the lackluster performance by Apple. HomePod sales are expected to rise from 2.5 million units in 2018 to no more than six million units in 2025. During the entire period, the Loup analysis expects Apple to sell only 32 million units—just 5% of total Amazon Echo sales. The top year for smart speaker revenue contribution is expected to be 2019 at $1.5 billion. That is forecasted to fall to less than one billion in 2025.

This is a far more pessimistic outlook than Loup Ventures’ early 2018 model which predicted sales of seven million HomePods in 2018 and 11 million in 2019. However, the revised model reflects the reality of Apple’s execution in this market. It has introduced only one high-priced unit that includes very good sound quality but not much else due to Siri’s limitations.

 

Juniper Estimates 3.25 Billion Voice Assistants Are in Use Today, Google Has About 30% of Them

  • Juniper Research estimates about 8 billion voice assistants will be in use in 2023 and the growth rate between 2019 and 2023 will be 25.4%.
  • That means about 3.25 billion voice assistants are in use today
  • Smartphones are the biggest device segment for voice assistant access and smart TVs are growing the fastest at over 121%

U.K.-based Juniper Research announced this week that it forecasts 8 billion digital voice assistants will be in use by 2023. This has led to a lot of headlines about the pervasive availability of voice assistants in four years time. However, many people have missed the more significant finding. The 8 billion figure is based on a model that assumes a 25.4% compound annual growth rate. That means the Juniper estimates that there are 3.25 billion digital voice assistants in use today and the capability is already pervasively available globally.

Juniper counts voice assistants as the pairing of an individual user with a particular assistant and device. That means some users will have multiple assistants in use while others will have none. The firm also includes both consumer and enterprise assistants in its analysis according to a white paper published this week. Given that Google announced 1 billion devices with Google Assistant access in January 2019, Juniper’s analysis suggests the company commands about 30% of total voice assistant addressable devices worldwide. This is driven in large part by the dominance of the Android mobile OS.

China Voice Assistants to be App-Based, North America OEM-Based

A key difference is expected to emerge in how voice assistants will be adopted in China compared to the rest of the world. The key services that will be voice-enabled in China are not in the mobile OS. Instead, WeChat, Baidu, and other services that are apps and are expected to command the majority of assistants in use in China, while other countries will see more use of OEM-based assistants such as Siri and Google Assistant. An announcement by Juniper states:

“As demand for multi-platform assistants increases, standalone apps, made by independent vendors for smartphones and tablets, will decline. Juniper expects revenues from these apps to begin to fall in key markets from 2022. The big exception here is China, where companies like WeChat and Alibaba provide app-based offerings alongside speakers that are not part of an operating system. This means that China will have 78% of voice assistant apps installed globally in the next 5 years.”

Smartphones Biggest Segment, But Smart TVs are the Fastest Growing

In terms of how users will access their assistants, Juniper says smartphones are dominant today but pointed out that smart TVs are the fastest growing segment at 121.3%, followed by smart speakers at 41.3% and wearables at 40.2%. The key point here is that voice assistant access isn’t simply a story of smartphones and smart speakers. Other devices will increasingly serve as voice assistant access points. Voicebot.ai revealed earlier this year that 60% more U.S. adults use voice assistants monthly in the car than on smart speakers.

50% Of All Searches Will Use Voice By 2020 – VOICE SEARCH STATISTICS, FACTS, AND TRENDS 2019 FOR ONLINE MARKETERS

Can you hear me now? There is no doubt that voice search has arrived and is here to stay. Voice engagement presents a challenge for online marketers.

However, the point of this article is to dive into voice search statistics for 2019 and see if, in fact, someday you may very well need to say things just like that. (hint, you will, and sooner than you think).

Voice search in 2019 is significant and growing, but as it stands, traditional search application remains strong.

Based on the rising trend in vocal search stats from 2018, we have more than enough evidence to realize where this show will next travel. Voice search growth is continually being debated, as well as being embraced.

Online Marketers now understand that voice searches matter, and they are taking the time to adapt their online business before they get passed by.

No longer the perceived subplot of some science fiction narrative, it is quickly becoming embedded into the traditional American family’s daily happenings.

– 58% of consumers have used voice search to find local business information within the last year.

– 46% of voice search users look for a local business daily.

– 27% visit the website of a local business after conducting a voice search.

– 76% of smart home speaker users conduct local searches at least  once aweek—with 53% performing daily searches. Source: BrightLocal Study

– 1 in 5 adults uses mobile voice search at least one time a month, according to Global Web Index.

– 22% of smart home speaker owners have made a purchase using their device.  (Edison Research)

– 2 of 5 adults perform a voice search at least once a day. (Location World)

Feel free to use my infographic on the growth of voice search, with a link back to this article.

voice search statistics infographic 2019

LOCAL VOICE SEARCH, BE PREPARED

Voice search and local search go together like a toddler’s hands and mittens. In my recent local SEO service trends and tips for 2019 roundup with industry experts, local voice search was a common theme.

Consumers are being trained by the likes of Amazon and Apple to just shout out their needs and expect expedited local solutions to accommodate them.

People are not afraid of the machine anymore; they have gone beyond a period of discomfort and hesitance and into a place of comfort and instantaneous gratification. When we consider the full scope of voice search, we eventually break it down to a consumer being able to gratify a search need without ever having to pull away from decorating the Christmas tree.

The question for online marketers has now become, “will my goods or services fill the need?”

Voice search optimization is a hot topic that I will break down in another article.

It is most certainly a question many online marketers are now asking themselves and maybe even aloud.

Local voice search is an interruptive consumer behavior based on questions and answers that are changing the way traditional optimization is approached.

Many SEO’s are finding themselves shell-shocked by a conventional search disfigurement and scrambling to adapt. Technology, search engines included, move with furious and reckless paces that often leave unattentive digital marketers in pandemonium.

The good news is, you are not late for the inauguration of your adaption process into voice search. However, the clock is ticking which means the time is now to better adjust to an apparent future that is local voice search.

So, can you hear me now?

VOICE SEARCH STATS UPDATED JAN. 2019

Voice searches are increasing in volume at a tremendous rate.

According to Mary Meeker’s annual Internet trends report, which was posted by SearchEngineLand last June, displays that voice search queries are now 35 times larger than they were in 2008. 2008 is widely considered the launch of voice searching technology.

local voice search queries

50% Of All Searches Will Use Voice By 2020

Further feeding the beast is a statistical search analysis by ComScore which predicts that 50% of all searches will be accomplished by voice search in 2020.

That is only four years away. In other words, if the ComScore analysis is correct, in a mere four years, your business will either begin its ascent into financial bliss or sink into Internet oblivion as a dinosaur, depending on its voice search optimization.

If you spend the next couple of years not regarding voice search as a massive cultural change, you are likely investing in your own demise.

VOICE SEARCH GROWTH DRIVEN BY DEVICE SATURATION

Searching on Siri when it first came out in 2011 on iPhone 4S was hardly a sophisticated undertaking.

At the time many dismissed that growth was of any valid concern.

Siri was innovative and fun, but often your searches were misinterpreted, leading to all types of inappropriate results. “I said tool stores near me, not pool tours beer me!”

I have to believe that a great many searches were performed out of a user’s fascination with the concept and less as a desire for useful search results.

Initial fascination with voice technology capability was often short-lived for some people who did not quite enjoy the technological growing pains. However, innovation and advances were quick to remedy blundering Siris one IOS update after another.

Apple was sold on it being the future which led them to an unwavering focus on the advancement and refinement of the technology.

It was not long until Siri’s microscopic pin sized ear was better than your grandmother’s and more sophisticated than your coworker’s.

google voice capture

Image Credit: KPCB 2016 Internet Trends

GOOGLE HOME SEARCH DATA

Back in 2013, Google was not much better than Siri’s debut blunders. In Meeker’s statistics, Google voice capture ability was around 78%.

That may sound high, but the inability to competently capture 20% of a surfer’s voice commands is a recipe for confusion. Google is now above the 90% marker in voice search capture ability and likely headed towards near 100%.

Voice capture technology is almost as reliable as a keyboard search on the Google search traditional platform.

More and more consumers are figuring out that voice search can help them lead simpler lifestyles. The concept of being enslaved by a machine is driving more people than ever to devices which seemingly offer such freedoms.

You no longer have to leave the room during the Cowboys game to grab your laptop to search for a local pizza delivery service. You do not have to look down at your smartphone and navigate a browser while fat thumbing a search for “Starbucks near me.” You can quickly order more diapers while changing a dirty one. Mobile marketing will never be the same.

Google has stated that 20% of all searches are voice related. And Google search statistics regarding voice most certainly entice, and maybe shock, the most successful Internet marketers.

While it is all impressive and astounding, it indeed isn’t surprising.

There are several driving factors in the meteoric rise of voice search trends. When it comes to voice search statistics in 2017, you can expect this trend to continue to rise into 2019 as more and more people become voice device enabled.

Pandora’s box has been opened; the likes of Amazon, Apple, and Microsoft are evolving to meet the growing demand for voice-enabled devices. Every holiday season, more and more households become voice search enabled.

So what are the products that serve to reshape search logic as we know it?

a lady using voice search technology on her mobile device

Woman using her mobile phone to search by asking a question.

How Many People Use Voice Search Devices?

By the year 2020, Activate predicts that 21.4 hands-free devices will be in homes.

That stat prediction alone should compel any and every marketer in existence to get on board with voice search. But things get even more imperative for marketers with the voice search stats prediction by Voicelabs, who claimed in 2017 that 33 million of these devices would be in circulation. Were they correct?

No, they missed the mark by 12 million. That is to say; their prediction turned out to be short 12 million devices.

In 2017 Q4 alone, 18 million smart speaker devices were shipped out, which brought the overall circulation total to 45 million devices.

When voice search stat predictions are not keeping up with the furious trend’s speed, you know you need to prepare.

The home voice assistant is here to stay.

Every passing holiday season, a new segment of the herd becomes more exposed to the remarkable benefits of having a personal home assistant.

It is indeed changing the way search functions.

What we are seeing is a massive cultural change happening, and if we are not adapting to it, we are falling behind.

There are over 20 million hands-free device activations on the horizon which is prompting online companies to take a serious look at where their businesses are going to fit in.

Someone is going to be cooking and have raw chicken on their hand and suddenly call out “flower shops that deliver,” the question is, will they be exposed to your flower shop or your competitors?

You do not need to understand the ins-and-outs of every hands-free search device to begin your local search preparation. Just accept that voice search will be an expansive, deeply-reliable, and culturally comfortable search method.

If your business is ill-prepared for the influx of massive home assistant technology, you will suffer the dire consequences.

By 2020, 30% Of All Searches Will not Use A Screen

Further adding to the mayhem of changing search behaviors via hands-free devices such as Amazon Alexa, Apple Siri, and Microsoft Cortana is that we are ushering in an era whereas 30% of all searches are done without the use of a screen.

Shut the front door! No, it is happening, people are going to find all their local needs without ever seeing a visual display.

Y0u might consider this statistic to be somewhat underwhelming due to having already read the stats involving overall voice search numbers and device assistant activations stats.

However, as it stands, many people use voice search as a means to bring up search results. In some ways, this is our transitional phase into full-on display-less search existence.

The process remains engrained in using the display to bring up results. Home assistants, however, are getting savvier by the day at working in unison with applications, such as Google maps and checklists, allowing a complete bypass of traditional search results.

It is not a fully-fluid experience yet, but it is coming.

Who Are The Industry Players?

Amazon Echo Was Top Selling Holiday Item

The Amazon Echo is a top-selling personal voice assistant.

With a bevy of marketing campaigns on major network television stations, millions of Amazon Prime users being exposed to the benefits,  the Amazon Echo is a massive influence in the voice search market share.

Amazon Echo may be second to Apple’s Siri, but it is not riding in the backseat regarding success. In fact, the Amazon Echo was the top selling product on Amazon.com during the holidays.

Amazon advertises the Echo as a single-function, purely one-dimensional experience.

You call out your request or curiosity and seconds later you stand enchanted awaiting your Uber. They also advertise ease of use with their voice capture technology through Alexa (that is what Amazon calls their Siri).

Because so many people have this perception of bumbling voice capture environments, Amazon aims to curb such inhibitions by painting them as misconceptions.

Amazon takes on this issue, as well as the poor application of voice capture, brilliantly in their ad campaigns.

Google Home,  The King Of Voice Marketing

Google Home, while a newer kid on the block (not HomePod new, but still newish), must not be overlooked in the voice search market share conversation.

Google is an early adopter artificial intelligence and machine learning.

Google is Google, and that means massive reach, infinite marketing spends, and almost unrivaled influence over consumers.

Google’s desktop and mobile search are voice capable, as are their calendars and Google Drive documents. Amazon Echo remains the dominating device, but Google remains the earliest adopter with the most influence to expand in the voice search market share.

Google Home is now making a massive push to flood the market and capture a great deal of Amazon’s surging market share. They are doing so by replicating Amazon Echo’s marketing campaigns. They focus on simplicity and freedom.

Apple Siri Is Upgraded And Ready For Mobile Voice Technology

Siri is often camouflaged in a sea of mindless, wasteful apps and absolute necessary functions.

You pick up your iPhone because you need to text your business partner or family member or friend. You need to make phone calls.

Those two essential smartphone functions are already buried underneath of app games and calculators and retail store points apps.

The point being, Siri is often a casualty of functional saturation. Additionally, Siri must be activated by the user to operate, which means you must have the iPhone in hand.

While Siri has been the “rock” of AI voice assistants in the market, the recent uprising in competition by Amazon and Google have cast a shadow over it.

Siri can hold court due to it being the primary personal assistant function on the world’s most popular device, the iPhone. However, it has found itself losing market share due to having to have the iPhone device on hand to use.

This is Apple, and they are about to remedy all of this.

First, it should be noted that Apple recently announced a massive hiring plan for 2019. The new tax plan, Apple’s renewed promise to bring in billions of off-shore dollars back into the states, and their subtle loss of AI market share are all likely contributors to Apple’s plan to expand employees.

Yes, they have billions of dollars and a new motivation to upgrade Siri so you can expect massive technological advances.

Welcome To The Party Apple HomePod

Wait, you thought Apple was just going to rest on their laurels?

Siri’s main weakness and apparent strength both reside in the fact that she is located on the iPhone.

Most people use an iPhone. However, new personal assistants do not require the device to be in hand.

On February 10th, Siri moved into your hands-free living room space.

homepod siri

While many believe they have focused on the music/speaker aspect of the Homepod, it will also serve as a smart assistant.

What could go wrong with the  HomePod? Once again, Apple is playing to their extensive following of loyal iPhone users.

If you do not have an iPhone, iPad, or iPod touch, you cannot set it up.

I am not sure if it will be possible to set it up using a MacBook Pro, it seems senseless that you will not be able to. However, there is no confirmation either way.

The HomePod will set up in seconds, but it is not about to allow for non-sanctioned Apple use.

Apple realizes its monstrous market positioning, so it is willing to take a few bumps and bruises in disallowing non-IOS folks access.

Voice Search Stats and Audiobooks?

While it might seem like an odd connection to make, voice search stats and their upward trend are indeed related to growth in audiobook trends.

Comparing both trends is little more than added confirmation to the entire point of this article.

If you are not convinced that your business needs to prepare for voice search, you do not have to look any further than the rising audiobook industry’s stats.

Audiobook usage puts on display computer users comfort level with merely having a book read to them as opposed to reading them off a hardcopy book or tablet.

Audiobooks are the fastest growing niche in the publishing world. In 2017 alone, audiobook providers rang in $2.5 million in sales.

Furthermore, 26% of Americans enjoyed their favorite books via listening to an audio device such as an iPhone or a home assistant. For every person that purchases an Amazon Echo, they will be exposed to the smart speaker’s ability to read books.

This will further develop a cozy relationship between the person and the device, which is sure to claim increases in voice search market share.

Local Search Ramifications Explained

Why is all of this important? Why did we just watch commercials? Why should we, as marketers, how voice search will change SEO?

The answer is that the devil is always in the details. Understanding why consumers are seeking out voice search devices can help us better understand what voice search optimization ramifications these devices will have on SEO. The evolution has arrived, fewer people are typing in their searches, which means that keywords are changing.

People do not speak as precisely as they type.

When someone has a thought, the way that thought is relayed to the world through voice will be different from the way it would have been communicated through typing.

We need to understand why people are using these devices (pay attention to the ads) and how their search terms are being altered.

The annual report by Meeker showed us that 61% of voice searches are the result of someone being occupied.

Just like the Google Home commercial narrative suggest with the busy dad needing information on a recipe, people enjoy the convenience that sophistication voice search has to offer.

voice search hands free

image credit: KPCB 2016 Internet Trends

Conclusion Be Prepared for Voice Search Growth

Voice search statistics in 2019 reveal that the future of traditional search behaviors is changing.

As online marketers, we can now see that billions of dollars are flowing into the Artificial Intelligence sector.  Smart personal assistants are becoming a part of normal everyday life.

If your online business is not making considerations with voice search, your online business is falling behind. Voice search and SEO is not the next big thing; instead, it is today’s big thing.

By understanding linguistics and paying attention to smart device advertising, we can gain insights into how we may need to adapt our search and online marketing strategy. here to add your own text

Analysts forecast the Virtual Digital Assistant Market is expected to grow worth US$ +7 Billion over the forecast period 2019-2025

Virtual Digital Assistant is a software representative that assistances persons by directing specific tasks with the capability of treating natural language. These structures are capable to increase the throughput over alteration of tasks, hence growing the ease and livability. Virtual assistants can also be compared with other type of customer-facing AI software design, called smart consultants. Smart consultant programs are business-oriented, whereas virtual assistants are task-oriented. These Assistants are organized by an enterprise and set up for communication with a particular set of systems, using networks the organization usually controls, such as interactive voice response (IVR), website, mobile applications.

The report creates a solid groundwork for all users who are considering to enter the global market in terms of market trends, opportunities, obstacles, and competitive landscape analysis. This provides a deep and widespread vision of this market to all users who are looking forward to inflate their business profiles in any phase.  The Virtual Digital Assistant market is explained in terms analysis of the price as well as suppliers of devices and equipment to the industry and their pricing, the labor cost, other costs sustained during manufacturing and its overall cost structure. The procedural data on the global market is given in terms of the commercial production dates and dimensions of the key manufacturers.

Top Key Players:

Apple, Google, Amazon, Microsoft, Samsung, Baidu and others

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Recent developments in terms of technological advancements have been described along with an in-depth analysis of their future plans. The report also depicts Virtual Digital Assistant market shares of these global and regional players to provide recommendations to our clients so as to give a broad view of the potential opportunities these players bring into the industry. It also helps in determining reasons for the progress of certain segments over others in the looming years.

Market drivers, restraints, and opportunities have been evaluated to explain the anticipated nature of investments and its impact on the global Virtual Digital Assistant market in terms of future prospects. The overall market is also segmented on the basis of geography in the United States, Europe, India, Japan, China, and Southeast Asia. The geographical segmentation provides a distinct assessment of the factors supporting these regions, the favorable regulatory policies, and the impact of the political frameworks.

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Table of Content:

Global Virtual Digital Assistant Market Research Report 2019-2025

Chapter 1: Industry Overview

Chapter 2: Virtual Digital Assistant Market International and China Market Analysis

Chapter 3: Environment Analysis of Market.

Chapter 4: Analysis of Revenue by Classifications

Chapter 5: Analysis of Revenue by Regions and Applications

Chapter 6: Analysis of Virtual Digital Assistant Market Revenue Market Status.

Chapter 7: Analysis of Industry Key Manufacturers

Chapter 8: Sales Price and Gross Margin Analysis of Market.

Chapter 9: Marketing Trader or Distributor Analysis of Market.

Chapter 10: Development Trend of Virtual Digital Assistant Market 2019-2025.

Chapter 11: Industry Chain Suppliers of Market with Contact Information.

Chapter 12: New Project Investment Feasibility Analysis of Market.

Chapter 13: Conclusion of the Virtual Digital Assistant Market Industry 2025 Market Research Report.

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Alexa in-skill purchasing rolls out to the UK and beyond Alexa… take my money!

MOM AND POP RETAILER Amazon has announced an international rollout for in-skill purchasing, allowing skill owners to make money through Alexa devices.

After being released in the US last year, the service is now available in UK, Germany and Japan, with Canada, Mexico, Spain, India, New Zealand and Australia next to come online in the coming weeks and months.

Let’s not mince words here. What we’re actually talking about is in-app purchasing, but for Alexa apps instead of mobile apps. That’s fine, if it’s well regulated, but it does mean that there’s the potential for you to build up a tasty selection of recurring subscriptions if you don’t keep your Alexa app in check.

Quoth The Big A: “Soon, developers from around the world will be able to build premium skill experiences with localized content that is relevant for customers across different countries, languages, and currencies.

“Additionally, developers who monetize their skills across numerous skill stores will be able to tap into a larger customer base, generating revenue to kick off their global voice business.”

This is another example of Amazon’s attempts to democratise Alexa, whilst simultaneously keeping both hands on the tiller. We’ve already seen it introduce kits to make it easier to create your own skills without coding knowledge, aimed both at home and office environments, via the Alexa Development Console.

As well as in-app purchasing, you can also set up your skill to accept Amazon Pay for single purchases, offering payment processing for major credit cards without having to faff about with setting up your own e-commerce platform.

Amazon is very pleased with the results so far, citing one app with 34 per cent conversion rate from free to paid versions, whilst another reports a whopping 90 per cent conversion after users finish a free trial.

EXPANDING GLOBALLY, AMAZON’S ALEXA STRIVES TO KEEP LOCAL MINDSET

Getting Amazon.com Inc.’s Alexa to work across the globe and in many languages requires that the company’s engineers keep the “local experience” in mind, according to Toni Reid, Amazon’s vice president for Alexa Experience and Echo.

The voice assistant has more than 100 million customers world-wide, she said Monday at The Wall Street Journal’s Future of Everything Festival.

Developers have to understand differences in the way people speak. English in Australia is different from English in India, the U.S. or the U.K. They also have to keep users’ accents in mind so that Alexa doesn’t misinterpret or misunderstand commands. Mistakes mean that sometimes Amazon has employees listen to select Alexa recordings to improve its software. Recently, the tech giant came under fire after reports surfaced that employees were listening to customers’ Alexas.

Full article: https://www.wsj.com/articles/expanding-globally-amazons-alexa-strives-to-keep-local-mindset-11558393570

Voice Purchasing Rose in 2018 Among US Smart Speaker Owners, Voice-Assisted Product Search is Even Bigger

The U.S. Smart Speaker Consumer Adoption Report for 2019 revealed that 15% of U.S. smart speaker owners say they were making purchases by voice on a monthly basis at the end of 2018. That is up from 13.6% that were using voice for retail purchases at the beginning of the year. Keep in mind that this reflects a 10.5% rise in the relative use of smart speaker-based voice purchasing on top of a 40% rise in year-over-year device ownership. This voice shopping cohort reflects about 4% of all U.S. adults.

Jeff McMahon, CEO of Voicify, commented in this week’s Voicebot Podcast (N.B. segment starts at 39:49) that the rapid rise of voice purchasing in 2018 may be related to the six-fold increase in smart display ownership during 2018.

There is at least a correlation and future evidence may show there is causation as well…that [the rise in voice purchasing] is highly correlated with the new screen-based devices…I do think multimodal devices and their continued proliferation will also be a contributor to voice commerce.

Smart speaker owner behavioral data suggests McMahon’s prediction is correct. Smart display owners were 133% more likely to make voice purchases on a monthly basis in 2018 and 76% more likely to be conducting product searches using the devices.

PRODUCT SEARCH ON SMART SPEAKERS IS EVEN HIGHER

While about 15% of smart speakers owners say they are making voice purchases regularly, 27.8% say they are using the devices monthly for product search. Voicebot’s current assessment is that voice-assisted product search is having an even bigger impact today than voice-triggered purchasing. Much of the voice purchasing today is repurchase using the convenience of a smart speaker’s presence in the kitchen. Voice-assisted product search is about discovering new products and considering their merit. This is the front end of the buying process that may culminate in a purchase and a product or service acquiring a new customer.

Data published this week from CouponFollow also identifies the rise of this new voice shopping behavior. That report found 45% of millennials today have used voice assistants during the shopping process for product discovery and to find product reviews. This is a broader assessment than Voicebot’s smart speaker user data because it includes the use of voice shopping on other devices such as smartphones. However, both data points emphasize that voice assistants are already being used in the shopping process. You can learn more about voice shopping consumer behavior by downloading the 2019 smart speaker report below.

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Adobe Says 91% of Business Decision Makers Investing in Voice Today and Voice Commerce is the Top Objective of 45%

  • An Adobe survey says 91% of “business decision makers” are making significant investments in voice technologies
  • 88% responded that they intend to support multiple voice assistants such as Amazon Alexa, Google Assistant, and Apple Siri
  • Adobe says 22% of businesses surveyed have launched a voice app and 44% plan to do so in 2019
  • The top three objectives for voice initiatives are all voice commerce related including purchases and order tracking

Adobe is talking about a new survey it conducted with 401 “business decision makers” and says that 91% claim they are already making “significant investments in voice” today while 94% say they will increase their investment over the next year. And, these investments will not go to support a single assistant ecosystem. Adobe found that 88% of those surveyed said they planned to support multiple voice assistants such as Alexa, Google Assistant, and Siri.

Twenty-two percent of those surveyed said they had already launched a voice app and 44% expect to do so in 2019. That would suggest voice apps for businesses may double in 2019 and as many as two-thirds will have a voice app of some kind published.

This survey sample may be a bit skewed toward early adopters as CMO.com reports that “59% of [participants] are in leadership roles and 41% of whom are practitioners, across different functional areas and industries.” Multi-industry practitioners in the Adobe world will generally translate into agencies, consultants, and other service providers which have a higher likelihood of working with clients on new technologies. However, the trend data seems about right as many large companies are looking closely at voice technologies today and some of this may be customer service oriented.

VOICE COMMERCE IS THE TOP OBJECTIVE

The report says that voice commerce was the top objective cited by survey participants at 45% wanting to enable purchases followed closely by order tracking also at 45% and the ability to make repeat purchases 44%. That means the top three objectives for these businesses were all commerce related.

About two-thirds or the survey takers believe that their voice presence will enable lead conversion while 29% have enabled some sort of voice purchasing through their earlier voice app launch. This again, seems a bit high, as there are few Alexa skills and Google Actions that explicitly enable voice ordering, but there is clearly strong interest. Other expected benefits beyond revenue generation are improved user experience (71%), increased consumer engagement (65%), and higher customer loyalty (64%). Heidi Besik, group product marketing manager at Adobe, told CMO.com that voice commerce may be conducted differently than what we are accustomed to on the web and mobile.

“Many have doubted the potential of voice-based shopping because they expected it to drive activity in the same way that websites do. A similar misconception happened when mobile shopping began to take off. Similar to mobile, voice has the ability to support the overall shopping experience. It certainly has the potential to drive new purchases, and brands are focusing on that. But even more important is how services like order tracking, quick refills, and product research can create more loyal shoppers who may close the deal elsewhere.”

This is consistent with Voicebot’s primary research around consumer behaviors and sentiment. The 2019 Smart Speaker Consumer Adoption Report found that monthly product search by voice (27.8%) was about two times more common than actual voice purchases (15.0%).

Voicebot’s Voice Shopping Consumer Adoption Report of 2018 also went into great detail on both consumer voice shopping habits as well as differentiating between purchase impact and the actual order placement. Voice has many ways to impact the revenue cycle for consumer brands and it looks like the business decision makers cited by Adobe see that potential.

 

 

Microsoft releases Voice Assistant study, 19% of respondents using Cortana

Microsoft has published this week an interesting white paper about the usage of digital assistants in 2019 (via Techcrunch). It’s still early days for Alexa, Siri, the Google Assistant and Microsoft’s own Cortana, but these digital assistants have already started to expand to various connected appliances such as home speakers, headphones, TVs, or thermostats. According to Microsoft’s new study, 69% of respondents have already used a digital assistant, though it’s worth noting that 41% of users reported concerns around trust, privacy and passive listening.

Microsoft’s data is based on 2,000 responses from a Microsoft Market Intelligence survey done between March and June 2018, as well as a more recent online survey of 5,000 US consumers done in February 2019. This fresh data reveals that Apple’s Siri and the Google Assistant are the most used assistants in the US, with each of them having a 36% usage share in the country. Amazon Alexa is third with 25%, and Microsoft’s Cortana is in fourth position with just 19%.

The popularity of Siri and Google is likely due to the sheer volume of mobile phones (approximately 250M in US2) when compared with smart speakers (approximately 50M+ in US3) . Both Siri and Google are more aligned with mobile phones while Alexa is more closely aligned with smart speakers (though Siri and Google are starting to infiltrate smart speakers, while Alexa can also be used on mobile phones).

The report also dives into how people are using digital assistants today, going beyond the home management use cases that are mainly associated with home speakers. “On average, respondents selected 5 types of ‘productivity’ tasks. They’re playing music. Looking for directions. Getting the news and weather. The current top use (68% of respondents) was ‘Searching for 
a quick fact’,” the company explained in the report.

With a majority of survey respondents seeing voice assistance becoming the norm in the near future, Microsoft has now accepted that Cortana can no longer compete head on with Alexa and the other assistants. Instead, Microsoft has partnered with Amazon and Google to make Cortana a voice skill for Alexa, as well as a voice action for Google Assistant.

For Microsoft, Cortana still has great value as “the skill for anyone who’s a Microsoft 365 subscriber,” providing access to calendars, emails and files from an Office 365 account. We haven’t seen any Cortana-powered appliances so far except for the Harman Kardon Invoke speaker, the Glas smart thermostat and Microsoft’s own Surface headphones, but the Redmond giant does see Cortana becoming more ubiquitous in the future thanks to partnerships with other companies, including car manufacturers. “These new integrations as a skill will only extend Cortana’s ability to transform our productivity and make it easier to achieve work-life harmony wherever life happens,” the company explained.