PPC For Voice Search – Time To Make Yourself Heard

The past half-decade has seen PPC shook and reshaped by changes in consumer behaviour – at the centre of which is the increasing importance of the mobile searcher, and those that now search by voice cross-device – on PC, smartphone and smart home help.

Now, we face a Brave New World – tech like Google Home and Amazon Echo get ever closer to AI, and consumers on mass are increasingly moving from type search to voice search. If you’ve not heard us yet, hear us now – you need to buy into voice search, and you need to do so quickly if you’re not to be left behind.


Voice Search – A Quick-Fire Overview of the Fundamentals

A Word to the Wiser

What is the voice experience like for those searching for products and services in your industry? Do you even know? Experiencing the journey first-hand can shed light on the strategy you should take. It can also unveil the weak spots of your competitors.

Mobile Voice Search in a few Figures

Today, mobile accounts for 60% of all online traffic, and this figure is predicted to sky rocket in the coming years, increasing up to the 75% mark over the course of 2017. Around 20 percent of these queries use voice search. But voice search isn’t confined only to smartphone – a fact that has led to voice search queries increasing by over 35x since 2008, and up by over 7 times since 2010.

Voice Controlled Devices

Voice controlled devices are rising and rising. The grandmother of this realm is Aubrey – a crude digit recognition system from IBM – created all the way back in 1952. The voice activated devices we know and love today began with the original 2010 Siri, which would eventually be followed by Microsoft PCs and Android phones featuring the effervescent Cortana (whose functionality has pushed Siri to become ever more impressive). Now, there’s Google Home and Amazon Echo – presenting a growing landscape of voice controlled devices.

Image Credit: Flickr


Voice search functionality goes hand in hand with Google’s continued emphasis on all things local, since it’s commonly thought that the primary use of voice search is to find into while driving”.


A Look to the Future of Shopping – Powered by Voice Search

“OK Google, buy more toilet cleaner”

At SMX West back in 2016, Behshad Behzadi, Principal Engineer at Google Zurich, said that voice search would soon allow for products to be purchased without clicking a button. As of May 2017 you could do your shopping at Tesco by voice alone. As for tomorrow, one can only guess. If you’re a retailer, you should be gripped for change, especially since the recent fining of Google over unfair market domination. Make no mistake: Google’s back is to the way – prepare for innovation and hard-hitting change.


The Quirks of Voice Searchers

Searches by voice are very different to searches by a manual tapping of a keyboard or phone interface. Not only are the phrases, words and terms different, but the actual things that such searchers are looking for are wildly different too. Then, there are differences to consider between consumer groups and demographics. Getting to grips with these may seem a pretty sudden headache – but it’s also a critical task for any business in today’s world. Let’s run through the key takeaways.

Searcher Terms, Words and Phrases -Voice Search Is More Conversational

Voice searchers ask far more questions – rather than searching by key term or phrase alone. They are also far more action based – as mobile searches are often ready and set to go. For example, if you ask “What’s the best deal on tickets for the Little Mix concert?”, you should now expect high quality sites that serve up a link straight into the ticket purchase page.

Key takeaway for your strategy: In short, you’re going to have to take into account increasingly narrow searches and focus on the semantics that your searchers use from tapped search to voice search.

Demographics – Age

There are staggering gaps between generations as to how or if voice search is used. Take the fact that 71% of millennials are using personal assistants – asking questions like who, what, when and where. This compares to 13% for the wider 16-34 group who say they haven’t ever used voice search, even on their mobiles.

Key takeaway for your strategy: Know your target market. What devices are your potential customers using and are there differences between the buying journeys that should mean a different content strategy for each group? This extends beyond PPC, to solid business sense – to the printed brochures you give out and other marketing mediums you employ in the ‘real world’.

Image credit: Google

Device – Home PAs Know How Your Brain Works

It should come as no surprise that home personal assistants are smart. As Moz helpfully demonstrate – here’s how Google would switch up a search result from desktop to Google Home. The second takes into account the audio format – it’s shorter, it’s simpler.

Image credit: Moz


Key takeaway for your strategy: Now, more than ever, your content must be written in a way that is easily digestible. Where it makes sense, you may even wish to create pages optimized for home assistants. If you’ve got your featured snippets sorted, then you’ve gained a great sart (and if you’ve no clue what we’re talking about – start here on Google’s guide on search features).

It’s also worth noting just how rapidly home assistants are evolving. There’s a real tug of war between Amazon and Google Home right now – so expect big leaps and bounds over the coming months.


Those Searching For A Local Business Are In a Rush and Ready To Buy

Voice searches that include ‘near me’ doubled in 2015 alone, while local searches lead 50% of mobile visitors to visit stores within one day.

Key takeaway for your strategy: If you serve a local market, you’ll certainly want to optimize your website for local voice searches – as a starting point make sure you’re on Google Business. You should also ensure that you use local business schema markup on your website, and that your NAP (name, address, phone number) is exactly the same across all channels.


Rounding It Off With Quick to Implement Voice Search Tips

  1. Create dedicated question campaigns and ad groups when setting up your bids for question-based searches
  2. Remember to create negative terms for the questions that don’t apply to your product or service
  3. Consider your long tail key questions – create at least three to capture lower traffic voice queries
  4. Create custom copy for driving voice searchers into relevant landing pages and guiding them into the sale funnel
  5. Understand consumer intent and the words consumers use as they get closer to buying.

Image credit: Moz

Times are changing. Whilst PPC has never stood around for too long, the rapid evolution of voice search demands that you stay alert and informed as to where next for tech and consumer behaviour. It’s not a task to be underestimated. But then, neither are the potential returns – surpassing competitors, reaching ready to buy consumers and selling to the generations of the tomorrow are just a few of the advantages to be gained by an on-point PPC strategy.

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