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Dorin Tecuceanu, IAA Young Professionals Romania

Voice Search Optimization: Trend or Necessity?

Voice search optimization: trend or necessity?

We hear more and more often that we need to optimize our content for Voice Activated Search. However, is this just a trend or does audio marketing work that well up to the point that it’s becoming a game-changer, in which case we have no choice but to adapt?


The first radio advertisement ran in the U.S.A. on the 28th of august 1922, at five in the afternoon. It was urging listeners to leave the congested city and enjoy living in a new community in the middle of nature, at the Hawthorne Court apartment complex in Jackson Heights. Today we are witnessing the rebirth of radio, where the shows have switched to online. Nowadays we can all listen to our favorite show whenever it’s suitable to our schedule. Furthermore, not only did the means of transmitting the message changed, but also the typology of audio advertisements. 


Visual content with different Call to Action messages, be it organic or sponsored, can now be found everywhere, both outdoor and online. It’s becoming harder and harder to catch the consumer’s attention, reason due to which brands have begun working on their audio identity, not only on the visual one. Platforms like Spotify offer to advertisers data about users’ behavior. This has progressed to such an extent that now mood-based advertising has become possible. Brands are now reaching the platform’s user when the user is listening to something that aligns with their brand identity. 


Due to technological advancement, voice search with the help of smart speakers capable of voice recognition is becoming more and more accessible and along with it personalized audio commercials are going mainstream. The global profit that comes from selling smart speakers has increased 2.7 times in 2018 compared to 2017, from 4.4 bn. dollars  to 11.8 bn. dollars. It is expected that by 2022 this will go up to 27.8 bn dollars. The numbers show us that there is an increased demand for this product, but what lays hidden behind these numbers?


The answer is intimacy. Listening to audio content implies a greater degree of intimacy compared to video content. It is therefore easier to form a connection between the brand and the listener. Most of us use headphones to listen to our favorite music, wherever we are. By wearing these headphones we are isolating ourselves from the surrounding context and we are more focused to the received information. Statistically speaking, it is four times more likely to recall a certain brand and its message from podcasts compared to display ads. 


Different reactions to different stimuli led to the formation of subcultures for each new type of content. Studies show that our body's reaction to auditory stimuli is much stronger compared to video. A trend that has become mainstream recently is ASMR videos (Autonomous Sensory Meridian Response) that focus on the audio track rather than video. Several such videos were used in marketing campaigns by companies such as IKEA, Dove or KFC. 


We all want a more authentic experience when interacting with brands, this is the reason due to which ads that use consumer generated content convert seven times better than those that use brand generated content. Statistically speaking 71% of us prefer ads that are personalized based on the content we watch or listen to, but only 32% of us are willing to give feedback about how we interact with the ads. The question is: are we willing to sacrifice some of our time to make this experience better for all of us?

 

The article was written by Dorin Tecuceanu, member of IAA Young Professionals Romania.

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