DIGITAL MARKETING
September 7, 2021

5 consumer insights that will have major impact on your brand in 2022 and beyond

Your customers already use Voice. It's time to do something about it.

Much like the web and mobile before, Voice has evolved from an interface into a distinct consumer channel that brands can use to reach their audience. In the Voice Consumer Index 2021, we uncovered the attitudes towards Voice technology, how consumers are using it, and how they want to interact with Voice technology in the future.

Brands that harness the power that Voice can provide throughout the customer journey can deliver a richer and more meaningful customer experience that wins the hearts (and wallets) of their audiences. The following are the top 5 insights from the research that will have a major impact on brands going into 2022 and beyond.

“...Voice will soon be a primary way consumers connect with the digital world, and a primary way that digital marketers will connect with consumers…”

Jon Stine

Executive Director, Open Voice Network

1. 30% of Americans are using Voice assistants daily

Thanks in large part to Siri, Alexa, and Google Assistant, awareness of Voice technology is extremely high. A remarkable 97% of Americans said they are already aware of the technology.  

More exciting is the number of people we found to be active users of Voice. In all three markets over 50% of the respondents indicated that they are currently using a Voice assistant. In addition, we found that 30% of Americans use a Voice assistant daily 21% of those use it multiple times a day.

This is great news for marketers as it shows there is an even greater adoption and usage of Voice than was previously expected.

2. Voice assistant Usage is spread across all age groups and platforms 

When we think of early adopters of technology we often think of younger, hip, tech forward age groups. That simply isn't the case with Voice. Sure, you have people from 18-24 years old using this technology, but from a macro view, you see a wide spread across the generations from 18 to 65-plus. This means there's an opportunity for all brands, not just those targeting millennials or the younger set.

The most used Voice assistant platforms change based on age and country. As well, we see a lot of use of Siri in the 18-24 year old age groups, while others use Google Assistant or Amazon Alexa. 

While third-party developers can't create experiences that tap deeply into Siri at this time the research suggests a consumer desire for Voice optimized mobile apps on iOS and Android and also product websites.


3. Voice activities closely align with the marketing funnel

One of the main reasons we conducted this research was to confirm (or refute) the theory that consumers are using Voice technology in ways that align with traditional marketing funnels (Awareness > Consideration > Purchase > Retention). We also wanted to determine if consumers were using Voice to get information and complete tasks that are similar to what is seen in other channels.

Much to our delight, we did see a clear pattern of behavior that closely aligns with what you'd expect from a marketing funnel

91% of all Voice Assistant users have asked their assistant a question. In many ways Voice search is more accessible and convenient than typing and we see this behavior happening on mobile, smart speakers and even desktop computers.

We found that consumers are comfortable asking general awareness questions and then continue their research with more specific questions about products, brands and even local businesses.

Consumers are interested in Voice search across all the industries we explored in including Entertainment (53%), Retail (44%), CPG (36%), Health Care (42%), Restaurant and Food Delivery (39%), Finance (30%), and Travel (34%). 

It's clear that Voice has begun to disrupt the way consumers search for information and even buy products and services. This is interesting because this is happening without a lot of marketing and content support from brands.

4. Voice Search is a critical piece of the marketing ecosystem

In order to better understand how Voice fits into the marketing ecosystem (and where the handoffs occur), we asked consumers where they are likely to go after they conduct a Voice search. The results were eye-opening to say the least. 

71% of US Voice assistant users said they would visit a product or brand website after an initial Voice search. This is followed by going to branded mobile apps (63%) and wanting to watch product reviews on YouTube (62%). 

62% of people said they were interested in continuing to use Voice. The fact that nearly two-thirds of people said they were interested in continuing with Voice, shows that they are comfortable with the medium and want to do more with it. This also indicates that a large portion of Voice consumers are much further along in integrating Voice into their daily routine than previously thought.

While consumers want to do more with their Voice, there aren't many branded Voice experiences for them to engage with... yet. This gap is your chance to provide the relevant information your audience needs to move forward in the path to purchase.


5. Users need more support from Brands and Marketers

Voice consumers are actively looking to do more with their assistants and crave information. It's time to start providing it to them before your competitors do. 

A majority of consumers (US 70%, UK 76%, Germany 85%) indicated they are using “trial and error” to see what they can do with their Voice assistant. This is a positive sign for marketers because it shows an appetite and a desire for more. However, only 38% of respondents indicated they learned to use their assistant from branded advertising or promotions. Part of this is because there haven’t been that many marketing campaigns that have included Voice as part of the marketing mix or within the messaging. 

This is an opportunity for marketers to use paid, owned, and earned media to demonstrate their leadership position by providing the right message to the right person at the right time.

Top use cases when it comes to Voice

In addition to these findings, we conducted a top task exercise to uncover which features and use cases matter most to Voice assistant users. We started with a list of 50 total items divided between the awareness, consideration, purchase, and retention phases and asked them to pick their most meaningful. 

We asked them to select the tasks they’d be interested in doing with their voice. The results provided a total of between 75 - 100 use cases that are relevant to the 7 industries we explored.

To learn more about the top task findings or to discuss how this research can inform your brand’s Voice strategy and roadmap, we'd love to help. Reach out to us and we can set up a time to talk.

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Scot is co-founder and CCO of Pragmatic Digital, a consultancy he started with his wife Susan in 2017. He has over 20 years of experience helping Fortune 500 brands solve business problems by understanding their customer needs. Scot is also a Voice experience expert with specialized knowledge in healthcare.

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