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Hi. I’m xxx from FAST. We’re the performance specialist arm of Mindshare and I’m pleased to be here today to talk about voice..
When I say voice, I’m thinking of..
Voice Technology – The physical hardware that we interact with (Beit Echo or your Smartphone) Voice Assistants – The Software that sits on that hardware and listens, learns and responds to our voice (Alexa, Siri, Cortana etc.) Voice Search – the queries that we put into the search engines
Voice is important for us as we’re seeing a shift in Consumer behaviour With brands (and our clients) unsure of how to progress. And often, there’s a real disconnect between the two.
As an agency, It’s our role to bridge that gap for our clients and repair that tear
..but the question we have is ‘HOW’ do we do that
And the answer is with unique research. So we partnered with JWT and produced a comprehensive ‘Speakeasy’ research piece on where consumers are with voice and where brands need to be. And what I want to do is share some of these finding with you today. You can also download the full report via that bi-ly link (/Msspeakeasy)
To get a full understanding of voice, we needed to be comprehensive and cover
Neuroscience: Partnering with ‘Neuro-Insight’, We performed experiments using ‘Steady-State Topography’ (SST), which is brain imaging technology to measure brain activity around voice
Qualitative research: Through reflective self-assessment projects and focus groups that captured consumer behaviour & attitudes to voice & tasks..
Expert interviews: Experts in AI, Neuroscience, marketing, sound design and radio
Quantitative: Using ‘SONAR™’ – JWT’s proprietary market research tool. Surveying 1,000’s of smartphone users aged 18+ & 100’s of Echo owners.
Secondary Research: Desk research – based on currently available market research.
Markets: Replicating globally to cover The UK, Germany and Spain in Europe. China, Japan, Singapore & Thailand in Asia. And Australia & USA.
Covering voice users, early adopters and non-users.
Voice usage is on the rise! Very few consumers (globally) have not used or would not use voice in anyway. This is huge! And tells us that voice is absolutely a place we need to play.
It’s great to see that the US, as an early adopter market and where tech is rolled out first, has naturally higher usage of voice.
It’s also amazing that Thailand, Japan and Spain also have above average voice usage, showing a real growing appetite and normalising of voice usage in those markets.
What bucks the trend is the UK, Australia and Singapore…. That are utilising voice, but not quite at the same rate. What else do they have in common? They’re 3 British colonial states. Maybe that’s the quiet reserved British influence kicking in.
In terms of the composition of voice, online searches dominate usage amongst regular users.
Second is finding information about products and 5th is finding out about brands.
As an agency, this is really positive as it really does stress just how important it is for brands to be optimised for voice search, how much appetite there is for product information and how relevant brands are for voice users.
Assistant related tasks like setting alarms, news headlines and home management represent quite a low usage of voice.
So we know that voice is growing, that search is important and that brands need to be there right. But why are consumers connecting with voice?
When analysing brain activity through SST headsets. We saw that text usage created more of a cognitive strain than voice, which required low mental activity.
Now this could just be that ‘Lazy people use voice’ – which is an easy narrative. But actually our neuroscience insights suggests that as users go through the cycle of ‘ thinking of what they want to say/search Translating that into a search term You’re then thinking about the process of typing, where you’re fingers are going.. Are you spelling things right etc.
There’s a lot more to that process than voice which is a much more of a free flowing of consciousness
This is also connected to time constraints, stress and convenience.
This tells us that voice is a) More natural and comes easier to people (so there’s less of a barrier) And b) moments of stress (where there’s a larger cognitive load) are moments that could lend themselves to voice usage and are moments that could be targeted. It’s also interesting to see what people are feeling and want from these moments..
And in that moment it’s clear that people want a connection and intimacy through voice search.
Our research showed that 69% want a conversation along side their voice searches. 73% want human style interaction with their assistants.
29% of people say that they’ve had sexual fantasies about their voice assistant.
How many people are in this room? So that means that statistically a 3rd of you are thinking about having sex with Alexa.
This craving for intimacy also lends itself to a greater emotional response
What’s also incredible is that our Neuro-insights studies showed a greater response in the parts of the brain that control emotion when voice was used rather than text.
Voice is natural language and we react more positively to it than to text.
There’s a greater emotional bond in voicing that immediate thought.
It’s much freer It’ll be the difference between.. Telling someone what a great day you’ve had vs. leaving a post-it note. You would feel much warmer about that interaction than distilling it into a post-it note and leaving it behind.
There’s a real opportunity for brands to build a positive emotional connection through voice. Provided you’re there and answer the users question.
As Martin Reddy of PullString says:
Brands will have to think more about how they sound. Their tone. And how their content feeds into the conversation with users via voice commands or search. Brands will need to be more human.
Having this insight. How do we get our answers to users? Just like the app boom, there is an Alexa ‘skills’ boom too.
With 7,000 skills available. And 69% being unused. Getting a user to find, install and use your skill/app is getting harder and harder. It’s not just about a skill, but a killer skill with a strategy to getting it into peoples devices.
Likewise with search engines. Brands need to ensure SEO hygiene factors are in place. You’ll need to be optimised for mobile. Have long-tail and conversational content. Have schema in place Ensure that you’re targeting local with local seo signals And achieve first place or ‘position zero’ to maximise your chance of being returned as a result during voice searches
So just to summarise some of these key points.
Voice usage is growing globally. Search has the biggest share of voice usage! Second is product and brand considerations. Voice is easier and more natural Consumers crave intimacy and conversations through voice assistants & search Vocal 'conversations' with brands yields positive emotional responses/connections with brands Bypass gatekeepers Prepare for search with hygiene SEO optimisations/strategies.
So this is how we’re using this to inform strategy for an automotive client.
We’re bypassing the gate keeper by putting Alexa into all new cars. Also, with our skill pre-installed. Shifting our content strategy to be more conversational in tone and less ‘brandy’. Something that users can connect to. As product and brand queries rank highly in voice usage, we’re creating content that talks more about products and the brand so that we can answer those queries. Doing the SEO fundamentals to ensure that we appear and answer all questions Targeting moments when customers are stressed and voice would make their lives easier and ensure that we’re there with a response to their query. E.g. whilst driving to work, being stuck in traffic or doing a school run.
It’s these moments that I feel are key for voice.
Which ties into something that Dan Williamson said. Voice is more about specific moments, rather than specific keywords.
And on that point, I’d like to say thanks for listening. It’s over to you. Download the full report, with even more data and insights. It’d be good to see what we as an industry do with it.
SPEAK EASY: THE RISE OF VOICE SEARCH (Mindshare Fast - Brighton SEO 2017)
Saeley Johnson Jnr
SPEAK EASY: THE RISE OF VOICE SEARCH
High mental activity
Low mental activity
THE COGNITIVE LOAD
Source: Neuro-Insight study 2017; n=102 UK smartphone users. Brain activity measured using SST headsets; unit measurement is
radians, which equals strength of brain response.
%69 “It would be
much easier if
speak back to
%73 “If voice
speak back to me
as well as a
human can, I’d
use them all the
%29 of voice users say
they have had a
about their voice
Neuro-Insight study Feb 2017; n = 102 UK smartphone users. Brain activity measured using SST headsets; unit of measurement is
radians, which equates to positivity of brain response to speciﬁc* requests for brands
Companies will now need to think
about the actual voice of their brand …
They have to think about how their
brand sounds, and the words and
language that their brand uses when
communicating with customers ... The
personality of their brand as it’s
presented to users.
Martin Reddy, cofounder and chief technology officer, PullString
Skills exist for Alexa
of skills on Alexa are unused
*based on skills public library mar 2017, public customer usage data and user reviews
2Natural & easy 3Desire for
tech into new
products & brand
“It’s not about the query..
..but about what prompted the query.
It’s about moments and how a brand
can connect with that moment”
Daniel Williamson, 2017
OVER TO YOU