Beau Bass – Senior Account Executive at Spreckley

Digital marketing is on the cusp of a landslide change. Natural language processing, along with artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning stand to rescript the consumer experience as we know it. We only have to look at Siri, Cortana and Alexa – just a few of the ‘digital assistants’ we use to complete our natural language queries to conveniently find the product or service we are after.

We’re starting to see users become a lot more receptive to voice search technology as well, after all it’s faster, easier and more convenient to simply speak into a device rather than type on a keyboard. The potential for growth here is huge and experts are predicting that 50 per cent of all searches will be used with voice by 2020.

This upswing in voice search technology stands to shake-up the world of pay-per-click (PPC) advertising, meaning that digital marketers need to understand the fundamental differences between searches made with voice and text and adjust their strategies accordingly, especially if they want to continue generating those valuable leads.

Adapt search terms

The difference between search terms is a key point to consider when architecting your PPC strategy around voice. With voice, the search terms generally have a long-tail, whereas there will be a shorter tail when searching via text. For instance, when speaking to Siri, you might say “Siri, find an Italian restaurant near me”, whereas with text you would typically type “Italian restaurant near me”. Considering this, your PPC search terms need to be adjusted to account for an increasing number of long tail searches.

Bespoke content

You need to take into account the different variations of questions a user might ask and then ensure your website has the relevant content to satisfy those queries. A useful tip here is to include bespoke copy in your PPC strategy dedicated to answering specific questions – hosting Q&A-style copy can be an excellent resource for this and this also ranks a lot better for natural language searches.

Consider your search engine

As it stands, iPhone and Android have an exclusive contract with Bing, meaning that the majority of voice search applications are powered by this search engine, for example Siri, Cortana and Alexa. But it’s worth noting that Google is making headway in this space, with its Google Now personal assistant. The important takeaway here is to incorporate the right search engine in your PPC strategy. Getting this wrong could derail your whole campaign.

So does your PPC strategy solely rely on text-based searches or is it shifting into voice as well? When you consider the proliferation of smartphones and that it’s now commonplace to use a ‘digital’ assistant for your consumer needs, digital marketers will be wise to incorporate voice into their strategy – especially if they want to stay at the forefront of the competition and generate quality leads.