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Voice Search: Stirring Up a PPC Revolution

Written by Dan Ockerby: PPC executive.
· 3 minute read

Voice Search: Stirring Up a PPC Revolution

Voice search has become a bit of a buzzword within PPC, and although its begun to make an impact in the last couple of years on the way users search for products and queries, it’s expected to explode in 2018 and by 2020 its expected that up to 50% of all search queries could be made by voice search. It’s no surprise that voice search is becoming increasingly popular either as search functions become more readily available to consumers, whether through inbuilt smartphone search functions, like Siri or through home assistant devices (‘smart-speakers’), like Google’s Home or Amazon’s popular Echo. It’s not only the availability of voice search functions that are increasing voice search usage, but user behaviour is changing too. A recent survey has shown that people are becoming more comfortable using their smartphones voice search function and are less conscious about making voice searches in public.

Voice search is going to be great for users, but what does it mean for search marketers, particularly PPC marketers? Well, a huge overhaul of the strategies we use to target users. The traditional keyword focused approach to users written search terms won’t apply to voice search queries and any strategy for your clients will have to double-down to include a voice and typed search approach. As our spoken language is a lot different to written language, voice search strategy will also have to use language that answers the user’s question, rather than the traditional approach of using keyword insertion to make the ads relevant. Planning ad text and creating ad copy is going to be a much longer process for PPC marketers, but with such a large and almost untapped market out there, the opportunity for search marketers and companies to create successful campaigns is huge!

 

How can I implement voice search into my strategy?

To many people’s surprise, if you’re already following best practices (especially for SEO) you’ll find you’re probably ticking a lot of boxes to appear for voice search queries! Whether applying best practice to your website or using platforms like Google Business to include your companies services, location, opening times, review integrations etc., your business should be appearing on a lot of relevant voice searches, especially ‘near me’ & ‘best’ queries for local businesses.

Currently for PPC, the AdWords platform is limited in how PPC marketers can show their ads to voice searches, the biggest problem being that AdWords still uses the keyword approach to determine the quality and relevancy of ads, and for a PPC marketer to use a different strategy to the current status quo would be far more damaging than beneficial to any campaign. Although the platform isn’t fully ready for voice search, there are optimisations you can make to your current campaigns to appear on voice searches. Enabling location extensions of your business address(es) to ads will allow your business to show up on ‘near me’ voice searches and advertising on Google Maps is another great way to appear on voice searches for local services.

 

When can we start using voice search properly?

Even though Google might be a little slow at getting the AdWords platform completely up to date with voice search, there’s no doubt that they’ve already made huge strides in adopting voice search technology and promoting voice search. Their highly sophisticated and extremely accurate voice search assistant, Google Now, along with Google’s powerful algorithms means Google is still going to be the top dog for voice search! For PPC marketers though, it’s a game of wait and see until Google throws a huge voice search curveball at us!