Digital Marketing

The Rise of Voice Search

Voice Search is Trending Up

As we as consumers seek more and more convenience and instant response, often we opt to rely on the more convenient source of information available as the authority source.  When using voice enabled devices such as mobile phones and internet enabled virtual devices, we interact as if we are having a conversation with a real person.  The conversation is like a Q&A interview and most often the answers are a single result, the result the device (the search algorithm behind the device) determines as the single best response.   The conversation is the key distinction in how these devices are changing the way in which marketers need to think to about their website content and how to capitalize on the rise of devices that act like mobile.

See Siri Told Me to Call You and Internet Devices that Act Like Mobile for the first two articles in this 3 part series.

Implications for Digital Marketers

If the method of search is different, meaning the search query is different, this in turn means there is an opportunity for digital marketers to offer up content that is more appealing to the search.  As mentioned above, the interaction with the device is more conversational and the request for information is typically a question, as compared to the common keyboard search phrase of several words.  This suggests that matching content will be best suited as an answer to that question, with the question contained in the answer.  As a digital marketer, the challenge will be to identify the questions that your website should be positioned to answer.  Hint: Some of these questions are already found in your Google Analytics data.

A New Search Scenario

Imagine it’s the weekend and a group of adventurous friends are gathered at one friends house, reliving past adventures, and planning for their next.  Dave calls out, “Hey Google, what is the top rated outdoor adventure company in Saskatchewan?’  Google answers, “ABC Outfitters has a Google rating of 4.9 and is located in Anywhere, Saskatchewan.” Dave replies, “Hey Google, call ABC Outfitters.”

Here are a few important points about this scenario.  First, it’s already happening.  Second, the search query, the question, was answered with a single response.  There were no alternatives.  Third, the action lead directly to a contact with the outfitter.  Lastly, the searcher never actually touched or viewed the website.

Beyond Mobile Friendly

For digital marketers, we need to start to think beyond just mobile friendly website design (responsive websites) to also consider mobile friendly and voice search friendly content.  A mobile friendly website is a must, otherwise you are losing positions in the Google mobile index, which is now searched more often than desktop.  But this is now just step one.

Using the free combination of Google Search Console and Google Analytics, we can dig into the history of searches that brought visitors to our website and determine which are more qualified and use this to optimize for more search traffic of this type.  That means an investment in time, and investment in data, an investment in analytics.

Internet Devices That Act Like Mobile

It seems that this past Christmas season the commercials on TV were one of three types, Mobile Phone commercials, car commercials, or the new internet enabled home virtual assistant devices such as:

  • Google Home
  • Facebook Portal
  • Amazon Echo (Alexa)
  • and a variety of other emerging devices

These devices, commonly situated on a table, shelf or counter top, act more like a mobile device than a non-mobile desktop computer.  They  are used because they are instantly accessible and can perform functions with a minimum of effort.  Unlike a desktop computer, which they may be positioned directly beside, they do not offer the variety of input methods such as keyboards and mouse clicks.  So input, and output, are somewhat restricted.

 

alexa voice search internet device

Alexa used to access internet via voice search

 

Google Home Internet Search

Google Home Voice Search

Mobile phones were also pushing their many capabilities adding to the ways you can access the Internet and interact with your devices, besides touching the keyboard.  This ads both Siri and Cortana to the list of personal assistants that are changing how voice search and voice commands are a rising trend (see Siri Told Me to Call You).   If you are wondering what Cortana is, it’s search box in the lower left corner of your Windows computer that can be accessed by typing in the box or speaking via your computer’s microphone.  It can be used for everything from putting your computer into sleep mode to requesting an internet search.

Now consider the primary method in which users interact with all these devices, it is your voice, and for most of these devices, interaction is 100% voice, no screen, no keyboard.  So while many of these voice activated virtual assistants offer home automation features such as turning your lights on an off, changing the settings on your thermostat, they are more commonly being used to obtain Internet search results.  A quick query like “Hey Alexa, what will be the weather this afternoon? seems simple enough but it can go well beyond simple and basic information.

As we as consumers seek more and more convenience and instant response, often we opt to rely on the more convenient source of information available as the authority source.  When using these internet enabled virtual devices, we interact as if they were a mobile device we are having a conversation with.  The conversation is like a Q&A interview and most often the answers are a single result, the result the device (the search algorithm behind the device) determines as the single best response.   The conversation is the key distinction in how these devices are changing the way in which marketers need to think to about their website content and how to capitalize on the rise of devices that act like mobile.

Siri Told Me to Call You

I had a recent event that was quite interesting, and an event that I had somewhat predicted just a week prior.  Several weeks ago I was speaking to an industry group on the topic of Websites and Digital Marketing.  During my presentation I highlighted the rise of voice search and how it might be a trend worth considering.  Voice search on mobile phones and tablets, voice search on computers, and voice search on the new internet enabled virtual assistant devices (more on these in a later article).  The image I used in the presentation is shown above.

A couple quick stats I shared in my presentation is that web search activity on mobile devices is now greater than 50% of all web search activity (since 2016).

  • The younger demographic of 18 to 34 uses their phone as their primary device
  • 55% of Millennials use voice search at least once a day
  • In the 35 to 50 demographic, 49% search the web on their phone at least occasionally

The main point I was making on the topic is that search activity is changing, the devices are changing and the way that people respond to search results is changing.  In my example, I described how I am seeing more people contacting Netnotic Marketing from their phones ( and other non-desktop devices) as ever before but also that the search strings resulting in traffic to my site is changing.  The example I used talked about a recent customer who called me because “Siri told me to call you”.  This new customer was looking to improve the Search Engine Optimization for their website in Saskatoon so they queued up Siri on their mobile phone and asked for “Saskatoon SEO”.  Siri returned a list of results, of which my website was the top results, so the customer called me.  In the following conversation, I asked the customer what brought them to Netnotic and their response was, “because Siri told me to call you”.  I always ask customers (and new leads) what lead them to contact us and we are definitely noticing a upswing in the interaction with new search devices.

So the key point for digital marketing here, in my case for Saskatoon SEO, is that we need to be very aware of how devices lead to new behavior, and new behavior may be changing how we optimize our websites to capitalize on these new trends.  We will be talking about both the rise of new devices that act like mobile (sort of) as well as the rise of voice search in a couple of coming articles.

SEO and SEM for WFO

We have deployed combination of SEO and SEM projects for Wilderness Family Outfitters as a successful example of bringing quality paid advertising with Google Ads traffic to a client and then working to add organic traffic over a longer period of time for a dual source of traffic, leads, bookings and revenue.

See more information in our SEO and SEM Project Portfolio or visit the Wilderness Family Outfitters website.

New WordPress Website for Northern Boreal Trophy Hunts

A new WordPress Website for Northern Boreal Trophy Hunts has just been launched.  This is another in a fairly steady stream of hunting and fishing outfitter websites we have built over the years.

See More in our Portfolio.

TYRRA Goes Live on RMS

The Texas Youth Ranch Rodeo Association began their use of the Rodeo Management System today. This is the second association using RMS in Texas to come on board this year. The rodeo format TYRRA uses is significantly different than a typical rodeo as all events are team-based and teams enter all events. Because of this unique format, we developed some custom registration and rodeo entry functions to accommodate. As well, we added another layer of team/team member database management to allow for the management of both teams as well as individuals within their organization.

We completed, and tested, all the customization work well in advance of their rodeo season which begins in May. As usual, the customization work was done at no charge as we are confident that the tool, functions, reports and more that we developed will be useful to other rodeo associations in the future.

Google AdWords Message Extensions

The hottest new feature within the Google Pay Per Click advertising platform is Message Extensions.  With Message Extensions you are letting your customers communicate with you in the manner in which they prefer.  In this case, they are choosing to communicate with you by text message from their mobile phone to yours.


Get a Free Digital Marketing Consultation!

Complete the form and we will schedule a review.

All initial consultations are no charge with no future commitment.

The online user is increasingly becoming a mobile user.  As the phone becomes the primary device for search activities, marketers must adapt and prepare their own marketing channels to be Mobile First, to take advantage of how mobile users communicate.  Many mobile users prefer to text first as compared to talk first so given the choice, texting will be chosen.  Some mobile users will decline to communicate unless they can text, or if text is not available, email.

Message Extensions in AdWords enable people to see your ad, click, and contact you by text message. With one click of your ad, people can contact you for an appointment, to get a quote, request new information, or schedule a service.  Message Extensions work within your existing campaign structure so there is no need to set up a new campaign or AdGroups just to enable the messaging feature.  All you need to set is the schedule for when the message extensions will display, such as during business hours on weekdays, and the mobile phone number to which the text will be sent.  The media charges from Google for each message sent from an ad are the same as if an ad link was clicked through to your site.

Make it more convenient for your customers and give them the communication method they prefer by setting up Message Extensions.

For assistance on setting up and managing your Google AdWords program, Netnotic Marketing now offers our Digital Marketing Packages which provide a bundle of digital marketing services including Google AdWords program management.

Saskatchewan Mobile First Website Data

The Saskatchewan internet and search landscape is shifting to mobile devices.  We have compiled a study of Saskatchewan based websites and the comparison of traffic (user sessions) access the websites by desktop or by mobile device.  The websites used in this study form a cross section of industries, company size, and is split between B2C and B2B marketers.

Definition of Mobile Device

When we did our comparisons, we treated tablets as desktop computing devices.  Our rationale is that the manner in which tablets are used plus the display size tend more towards a desktop computer than a mobile device, that is, a smart phone.  From our own anecdotal observations plus those reported in numerous other publications, tablets tend to be mobile around the house or around the office.  They are an extension of the desktop browsing experience, chosen more for form factor than for true mobile capabilities.  As a result, our numbers for mobile then may be somewhat understated as compared to other reports which may lump tablets and smart phones together as mobile*.


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Complete the form and we will schedule a review.

All initial consultations are no charge with no future commitment.

Business to Consumer Mobile First Website Data

The overall ratio of mobile internet access to desktop in the B2C companies studied was 41% mobile to 59% desktop*.  Some company websites reached as high as 61% and 59% of all traffic from mobile phones.  For these companies, a Mobile First strategy is imperative as otherwise they risk exposing over 1/2 of their user base to a poor user experience.

SK B2C websites mobile vs desktop

 

Business to Business Mobile First Website Data

Surprisingly, the overall ratio of mobile internet access to desktop in the B2B companies studied was also 41% mobile to 59% desktop*.  (I had secretly hoped there would be a sizeable difference in the stats.)  One company website reached as high as 78% all traffic from mobile phones while several others were extremely balanced at 50% to 50%.

 

SK B2B websites mobile vs desktop

 

Saskatchewan Mobile First Compared to the Rest of the World

It was reported that in November of 2016, the world reached the tipping point of greater than 50% of internet use by mobile as compared to desktop.

* If tablets were included with smart phones in the mobile category, then the percentages of total mobile to total desktop would be 44% to 56% for B2C and 43% to 57% for B2B.

Why Use WordPress? Plug-Ins!

We Love WordPress

WordPress is a tremendous website publishing platform for our customers.  For customers who are only moderately computer literate, managing content such as pages, blog posts and images is straightforward and can be handled without a web programmer, a big cost savings for many customers.  On top of being an easy to use content management system, WordPress offers thousands of third-party plug-ins that extend and enhance the capabilities of WordPress.

WordPress Plug-Ins

Another reason why WordPress is a great website publishing tool are the thousands of plug-ins available.  Plug-Ins are additional blocks of code that have typically been built by programmers to solve a specific problem that website developers face.  The plug-ins range from simple image gallery display systems to extremely complex e-commerce systems.  Many plug-ins are free, some offer a paid premium option for even more functionality.  Some plug-ins are only available as a paid option.


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Complete the form and we will schedule a review.

All initial consultations are no charge with no future commitment.

If you are loading up a plug-in, and it has a free option and a paid premium option, I recommend that in most circumstance, choose the paid premium options.  Most premium options are $50 or less and the price will be well worth it.  Often plug-ins are distributed free, and users are simply asked to donate to the author.  You are not required to donate to use the plug-in, but please consider sending them $15 to $20.  It’s a small price to pay for a block of code that would likely take weeks or months to develop.

Plug-Ins Add Functionality

WordPress themes can offer a wide range of designs, layouts and functionality.  Where the theme code leaves off, plug-ins add that enhanced functionality that may not be built into the theme.  For example, I have often found a nice, simple theme that has the layout and look I want, but is short on features such as a built-in slideshow or user registration system.  Load up the right plug-in and now both are taken care of.

Plug-In Updates

Stay on top of your WordPress plug-ins but updating them when you are notified of new versions.  When you log in to your WordPress dashboard, if updates are available, you will see a red number next to the Plugins menu item.

wordpress-plugin-updates

Plugin updates are often to repair minor bugs, add new features, or enhance your website’s security.

SaskatchewanDeerHunting.com Responsive Website

A new site for whitetail deer hunters.  The responsive website SaskatchewanDeerHunting.com is a new web site for deer hunters to find Saskatchewan deer hunting Outfitters.

View the details in our portfolio or see more at SaskatchewanDeerHunting.com