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The rise of voice recognition in marketing

Arguably a vast majority of people will have come into contact with or own some form of voice recognition technology. From Siri to Alexa, Cortana and Google Home, voice recognition is booming, with recent estimates stating that 30% of all searches will be carried out using these devices by 2020. But what impact will this have on marketing for businesses?

History of voice recognition

As human languages are so complex, the level of which voice recognition now operates has been decades in the making. One of the first voice recognition tools to be introduced was the IBM Shoebox in 1961, it could only recognise a grand total of 16 words and digits at the time.

Fast forward forty years and Microsoft introduced a speech recognition feature for Office XP, and a further ten years later in 2011, Apple introduced Siri. Since 2011, investment in the development has skyrocketed, with many of the world’s top tech companies establishing themselves in the market with their own tool.

With the introduction of voice recognition on mobile phones, marketers began to see both the potential and challenges that voice search could present; and now, with more and more products coming to market such as the Amazon Echo and Google Home it is essential for marketers to consider how a business or service will be found on voice search.

Challenges of voices recognition for marketers

For consumers, the advancement of voice recognition technology is a giant leap forward in ensuring queries are answered quickly and with the appropriate answer. For marketers, voice recognition software represents a substantial challenge to get to the top and remain at the top of relevant searches.

There are a number of things that need to be considered with regards to voice search. Firstly, the way in which queries are written as opposed to spoken can be vastly different. With voice search, questions will often be much more concise and therefore results will need to follow suit. Marketing Week provide a great example of this, stating that instead of a person simply searching for ‘weather’ on a mobile or desktop they may instead ask ‘do I need an umbrella today?’ using voice recognition.

In addition to this, unlike a traditional Google search with numerous results for someone to choose from, voice recognition will present only one answer and therefore SEO strategies will need to be drastically different.

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