Digital Assistants: An Intro for Your Business

By 2020, ComScore predicts that more than half of searches will be voice-based. For people who’ve embraced digital assistants, this stat may come as no surprise.

From homework help to checking the weather to pulling up a recipe, voice queries have become a natural part of many people’s lives. Google reports that 72 percent of people with smart speakers use them daily.

Google Home and Alexa have made their way into one in six homes in the U.S., and digital assistants like Siri and Google Assistant are widely used on smartphones.

But voice search doesn’t just make it easier to ask the questions we traditionally would have typed into Google’s search field. It changes the nature of our queries into exchanges that are more in line with natural conversation.

Think “How old is Meghan Markle?” versus “Meghan Markle age.” And thanks to smart speakers’ understanding of “contextual carryover,” you could then ask, “What movies was she in?” without repeating her name.

Voice also expands the kind of questions people ask. You most likely have never typed “Will you marry me?,” into a search engine, but Alexa’s marriage proposals are in the hundreds of thousands. Digital assistants each have a unique personality baked into their internal knowledge database, which is the source of many of their responses.

 

What does all this mean for businesses?

Of course, it makes sense to be where your customers are, and we’re already experiencing a shift away from mediums like radio to smart speakers.

Today, smart speakers offer limited opportunity to advertise, outside of allowing brands to build content or sponsor Alexa skills (a program that enables it to perform a service) or apps.

The other way to have a presence is to rank in search results. For voice queries on mobile devices, the results are in the form of a page on a screen. But because smart speakers provide an audio answer to your query, only the top result is provided. And that means if you don’t rank first, you don’t show up at all.

Digital assistants also have the ability to create new expectations of brands. For example, “reducing friction” took on a whole new meaning when Domino’s synced with Alexa to allow people to order pizza from their nearest store by simply saying, “Ask Domino’s for my easy order.”

As you consider if and how digital assistants can drive your business, investing in understanding them is the first step to determining what the possibilities could be.

As you consider if and how digital assistants can drive your business, investing in understanding them is the first step to determining what the possibilities could be.

Wondering about SEO? Check out our 8 tips to rank for voice search.

 

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