Will paid ads work with voice search?


by Eric Marcy, President, AdGooroo, a Kantar Media Company

Ads in voice searches could frustrate shoppers. But there are steps to take today to prepare for the inevitable evolution of voice search.

It’s hard to remember the day when you could visit an industry news site and not see a headline trumpeting a new development in voice search. The latest blockbusters include Walmart and Google partnering on voice-activated search to take on Amazon, and Amazon and Microsoft partnering to allow their digital assistants, Alexa and Cortana, to talk to each other.

More power to them. But what does voice search mean for marketers at large?

Search engines are trying to come up with a model for paid advertising in voice search, but it doesn’t look like one is coming anytime soon.

The main issue standing in the way may be the very nature of how consumers use voice search.

"How do you interject an ad into this conversation and still provide a good user experience?"

Typically, people are performing voice searches for convenience and speed, i.e., to get a quick answer to a specific question while they are on the go or otherwise occupied and don’t necessarily have time to type out questions on a small keyboard and screen.

Outside of the home, voice search is conducted on a smartphone while the consumer is in the car or walking around. Inside the home, voice search is increasingly conducted via voice-activated smart speakers, while people are engaged in another activity—preparing dinner, taking care of a child, watching TV—and it’s inconvenient to stop what they are doing and start typing into a desktop computer or phone.

In-home searches most often skew toward more general questions, but from a commercial perspective both in- and out-of-home users are primarily focused on local search questions.

They may want to know where a business is located, for instance, asking questions that range from the general (“Where is the nearest hardware store?”) to the specific (“Where is the nearest Home Depot?”).

Voice searchers are also looking for food—nearby places to eat, a specific restaurant, or a type of cuisine—with out-of-home searchers looking to visit the establishment and in-home searchers looking to order for delivery or pick-up.

Often they ask a series of specific questions until they get the answer they are looking for: “What’s a good Thai restaurant near me? Do they deliver? Can you call them? Can you give me directions?”

And, importantly, consumers using voice search generally expect a single, authoritative answer that they can trust to be accurate.

The question is, how do you interject an ad into this conversation and still provide a good user experience?

In simplified terms, if an ad is placed prior to the voiced response to a question, it will likely frustrate users looking for that quick, reliable answer. If an ad is placed after a voiced answer, it could frustrate users asking multiple, specific follow-up questions to get their desired information or action.

That doesn’t leave a lot of room for error. And the danger is turning off consumers and stifling not only the growth of voice search as an ad medium but consumer usage of voice search itself.

Read the full article from Internet Retailer



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