“Alexa, play yacht rock radio.”
This is a line I hear every time I visit my parent’s house. I don’t own a smart speaker, because I’m an Apple snob and I can’t justify spending the money on a HomePod. Not yet. However, my parents have integrated the Amazon Echo Dot into their home. They make orders, play music, and even create shopping lists for when they need to run to the local grocer. They rave on and on about how much they love Alexa, speaking as though she is a part of the family. Yet, I only see them use their Echo Dot for playing music through their surround sound system.
This is only my personal experience with smart speakers. I have heard of many people, especially in larger metropolitan areas, ordering everyday essentials with their smart speakers, conducting searches about topics they are curious about, or even playing games on their smart speaker, among other uses. According to a report from RAIN News, the top five uses of a smart speaker are to play music (60%), gather weather updates (52%), set alarms (39%), search for information (39%), and general amusement (38%). Sounds shockingly similar to a regular clock radio…
Despite the simple functions we use these devices for, smart speakers are being adopted faster than many other technologies. At the end of 2018, 66 million smart speakers were in U.S. homes, in a report from Tech Crunch. This was up from 53 million back in September 2018! Not shocking to anyone, Amazon is dominating this market with a 70% market share, Google has 24%, and rounding off the market is good ole Apple with 6%.
With all of the speakers flooding into our homes, we, as marketers, have seen a change in the way people are searching. Long-tail keywords, similar to how we actually converse, are being included in search campaigns. SEO is becoming more and more important. Without a screen full of results, these smart speakers are going to be listing out their organic results in order. And if your SEO, keywords, or general knowledge of your customer is lacking then being that first result read by a smart speaker is going to be difficult.
Katrina Cameron, from RampUp, says “If a brand isn’t the first result appearing within the search engine results (SERPs), it’s likely that the device isn’t going to recognize the brand as a result.”
We are only on the surface of unraveling what this technology can do. The things we have seen come from it are changing how businesses are speaking to and reaching their clientele. Companies are focusing on their keywords so their ad or organic search results are first on the SERP’s. Keyword research is becoming more important than ever.
For example, if someone is looking for a good pizza joint to go outside of their regular routine, they usually would have searched “pizza near me”. Now, with the smart speakers that keyword is completely different and along the lines of “Alexa, where is a good pizza place near me?”. If you’re not bidding on the latter then you will miss out business.
As this technology continues to flood our homes, we will keep discovering how it can be used to make our lives easier. We will also continue to see changes in the marketing revolving around the smart speaker. The first thing you can do to make sure you are staying ahead of the curve is to start finding those long-tailed keywords. After you know how people are searching, incorporate that into your paid and organic search strategies.