Business / August 8th

20% of search is done with voice and here’s why that matters

Ryan MacInnis

Ryan MacInnis

Director of Marketing

Content and the way people consume it is changing. Long gone are the days where you would sit for hours browsing a site with over 10,000 products, only to feel frustrated that you didn’t get the result you were looking for.

And this is in part thanks to mobile.

Companies, whether developing their own mobile app or optimizing their search experience for browsing on a mobile website, have made it even easier for their customers to find what they’re looking for. They quickly met the demands of users, who are now searching and browsing sites more than 50% of the time from their mobile device.

Fast forward to today, with the introduction of voice assistants like Amazon’s Alexa, brands are once again scrambling to have an answer to a new form of search -- voice.

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(photo credit to websolutions.com)

Search with voice is 3x faster than typing

Stanford University recently did an experiment to show the impact of voice search compared to text, and here’s what they found:

  • Speech was about 3.0 times faster than the keyboard for English (161.20 vs. 53.46 words per year)
  • Speech error rates were 20.4% lower than the keyboard error rates in English (2.93% vs. 3.68%)
  • Speech autocorrects roughly 2% of the time, while keyboards autocorrect over 20% of the time

Who has voice experiences today?

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(photo credit to dapperguide.com)

It’s a first mover opportunity with a custom voice experience. There are thousands of third party commands and skills for Google Home and Amazon’s Alexa speakers. But how many of those brands will go deeper, and own that experience on their site or app?

Overstock.com recently added voice search to their mobile app, and Amazon is using Alexa to power it’s voice experience. Comcast has voice enabled in its X1 Xfinity remote, and smart TVs are adding transcription to the way you engage with movies and music.

While early, it’s exciting to see the pioneers who are ready to pave the way for what a great voice experience looks like, and how users will benefit most from having the ability to find exactly what they’re looking for, much faster than before.

Voice as a competitive advantage

Voice breaks down the walls of traditional navigation. “Omni-channel” will compliment things like “omni-search” and “omni-communication”, but at the end of the day, you’re building an experience that meets consumers and customers where they already are.

While only 20% today, more than 50% of search will involve voice by 2020. Almost 50% of e-commerce revenue will be driven by mobile, and many digital native retailers have already surpassed that milestone. Etsy, for example, showed in a recent earnings report that more than 50% of general merchandise store sales came from mobile.

And just like with the advent of digital, some of the top companies around the world will lose market share, and customers will find better experiences to spend time with.

Here’s your chance at redemption and a real impact on your business.



Ready to instantly stand up your own voice experience?