The Rise of Smart Speakers and Digital Assistants

How Voice Search, Smart Speakers and Voice Assistants Work Together

What types of devices are people using to perform voice searches other than mobile devices? It’s estimated that today, nearly 35% of voice searches are made through smart speakers. Because smart speakers don’t have screens, the voice assistant will choose the most relevant and appropriate result to read aloud. Considering a voice assistant doesn’t read aloud the whole search engine results page, voice search is both competitive and challenging. In my most recent blog post, I wrote about the importance of optimizing for voice search, if you haven’t done so already, go check it out.

Major Players in the Smart Speaker Market

Although there are variations of smart speakers available, Amazon Echo and Google Home dominate the market. Smart speakers are powered by digital assistants (AI powered software that responds to voice commands). Like Search Engines, Digital assistants track search habits, behavior, preferences, location, search history, and other metrics.

What Is a Digital Assistant?

A digital assistant or sometimes referred to as a voice assistant is an application program that understands natural language and is designed to assist a user by answering questions or performing basic tasks. Digital assistants can also be found on devices other than smart speakers such as phones, PC’s, TV’s, household appliances and wearables. Some of the most common Digital Assistants are:

  • Alexa (Amazon) – Obtains its data from Bing and will answer your queries out loud. One of the benefits of this digital assistant is that you can use it to shop and place orders on Amazon.
  • Assistant (Google) – Pulls data from Google properties first – maps, YouTube, rich results, and knowledge graphs.
  • Siri (Apple) – obtains its information from Google and is part of Apple’s OS (operating system). Embedded in iPhones, iPads, etc. Siri also offers Siri Shortcuts, which is a voice-activated app that can be helpful with handling everyday tasks like scheduling a hair-cut.
  • Cortana (Microsoft) – gets its information from Bing and is created by Microsoft for Windows.

Smart Speaker Statistics

  • 72% of people who own a voice-activated speaker say that their devices are used as part of their daily routine
  • Of people that use voice-activated speakers, 52% have them in their living room, 25% have them in their bedroom, and 22% have them in their kitchen per Google
  • By 2020 30% of all searches will be done without a screen
  • It’s estimated that by 2020, 75% of US households will have at least one smart speaker
  • Amazon and Google account for 94% of all smart speakers is use
  • It’s estimated that by 2022 50% of consumers will use voice shopping per TheStreet
  • Voice shopping generates roughly $2 billion in revenue per year and expected to climb to $40 billion by 2022 per Ubermetrics

Final Words on Voice Search

By 2020 it’s estimated that nearly 50% of online searches will be conducted through voice search. While a majority of smart speaker usage occurs in the home, it’s still important to optimize for voice search across all platforms.

Roughly 72% of smart speakers being used in the US today are Amazon devices that are being powered by Bing. Often our SEO focus tends to be on Google, however, major brands are using Bing for voice search. This tells us that we need to make sure sites are being optimized for both Google and Bing. As voice search continues to grow, the importance of optimizing for Bing will also grow. This includes making sure your Google My Business and Bing Places for Business listings are descriptive and up to date.

Need help optimizing your site for voice search? Contact Ecreativeworks today and let us know how we can help you. Stay up to date with the Ecreativeworks blog and look for more voice search related posts in the future.

Written by Patrice Isdahl, Digital Marketing Specialist at Ecreativeworks

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