3 min read

The Future of E-commerce PPC: A Voiceless Society

When it comes to solving a problem that involves other people, what is the best way to solve it? By having a conversation. In today’s world, we are now able to communicate with our devices in the same way we talk to one another. So what exactly does this shift in society mean for the future of e-commerce PPC? How can we adapt our strategies to make sure that we are fully prepared for it?

Contrary to what the hype would have you believe, the actual number of internet searches conducted via voice is still fairly small and currently faces many challenges. It’s the reason why we’re not seeing mainstream adoption with Voice Search just yet.  

The history and challenges of Voice Search

The development and first application of voice recognition within devices started in 2002 with Microsoft integrating speech recognition into their office products. Fast forward to 2008 when Google launched the Voice Search App for iPhones, bringing speech recognition technology to mobile devices. It was only three years later when Apple introduced Siri, a digital personal assistant with the ability to recognise speech, understand the meaning of what is said and take the appropriate action. In 2014, Amazon announced the release of the Echo, a voice-controlled speaker powered by Alexa – Amazon’s very own digital personal assistant. 

It’s 2019 and people now have the choice between using a voice-controlled speaker in their homes or their mobile devices becoming a part of everyday use, with the application of use differing depending on those using the device whether it be for local information, local business information or finding out information to a question or commanding an action. 

What are we using voice search for?

{Image Credit: blog.google}

The rapid growth of Voice Search has been a fun and innovative process, but with the majority of its success coming more recently. In the early days of Voice Search, there were many cases where searches were misinterpreted, leading to all sorts of inappropriate results.

The development of natural language processing (NLP) – the process of learning and adapting to recognise voice, habits, commands and keywords – struggles with Voice Search, and paid ads have been created using long-tail keywords within search terms. This has caused many issues as paid ads are yet to adapt for accurate ads, and keywords are now merged with the way people ask a question to a device.

 How to adapt your campaigns for Voice Search

 When it comes to adapting to Voice Search, there are a few key points to bear in mind when you are preparing your campaigns.

Typically, Voice Search queries are longer than standard searches and are generally over five of six words in length, and are posed as questions. This means that long-tail and conversational keywords will become more and more valuable for the success of your campaigns.

Using your search term report will be a huge help, especially if you are already receiving Voice Search traffic. Filtering your search terms by the most commonly used personal assistants (Siri, Alexa or OK Google) will allow you to really understand what the intent of your Voice Search traffic is and how your audience have reacted to that intent.

voice search Amazon Echo

Due to the conversational form that Voice Search queries come in, it may be time to review the research-based phrase negatives many of us have been using over the years, such as “how to”, “when does” etc. Similarly, adding new negatives will be equally as integral to the success of your campaigns. This is where, once again, trawling through the search terms will help you identify search queries that aren’t ideal for your campaign and adding these invaluable phrase negatives will help prevent further low-quality impressions.

Be sure to focus on local. Local searches that contain “near me” have grown 150% faster than comparable searches that don’t include “near me”. If you haven’t already, jump on this trend and ensure you are utilising location extensions.

Local search focuses on giving the user the right answers, so making sure your ads are hyper-relevant and are targeting local search queries is key to winning an auction and maximising your potential traffic.

What does the future landscape look like?

With the growing sale in Voice Search devices, such as Amazon’s Echo, Google Home, Smart TVs and watches, it’s only a matter of time until Voice Search becomes a force of habit and is the go-to for users to get the information that they need.

By no means are we declaring that keywords are extinct, or will be by the end of 2019, but as marketers, we need to remain a step ahead of this Search evolution and explore ways in which we can adapt and employ Voice Search as a fundamental pillar within an e-Commerce strategy. Let’s be honest, Google’s rebrand away from AdWords to just Google Ads (removing the reference of words) is surely an early indication of what is to come and the direction of the Search landscape.

We have already seen how our day-to-day practice of bidding on keywords on the right devices, at the right time and in the right location is no longer enough to achieve success. The deeper campaign value is being driven by those willing to invest time and effort into understanding the importance of creating audience focused strategies.

Features such as remarketing and using our in-market audiences will continue to grow in importance, reminding us to break out into audience segments, so that we can channel our campaign activity accordingly. 

What’s your take on Voice Search? How do you think it will change paid ads in the long term? Let us know your thoughts and tweet @Honcho_Search or comment below.

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