News & views

Rising above the noise: The growth of voice tech and what it means for the communications industry

Date Posted: 11 July, 2018
Rising above the noise: The growth of voice tech and what it means for the communications industry

It seems like an incredibly long time ago when Amazon announced its first-generation Echo in 2016. Back then, the cute black speaker felt half gimmick, half revolutionary. Receiving almost unanimous praise, it introduced voice tech on a mass scale, disrupting the consumer tech industry like few had done in recent times.

As the Googles and the Apples began getting involved in voice tech, it became apparent incredibly quickly that it was going to have an immediate effect for both consumers and businesses. That trend has only continued, with ComScore predicting that 50% of searches will be done by voice by 2020, and it is essential that the communications industry embraces voice and keeps pace.  To help you on your route to becoming a wizard on all things voice, we’ve highlighted a few tips below to get you started.

Optimise content so it’s voice friendly

The way people are searching using voice is totally different to text. Where text searches are traditionally kept to one to three words, voice is closer to the seven to eight mark. In 2016, a 61% growth year-on-year was reported in consumers asking longer queries that start with ‘’who’’, ‘’what’’, ‘’where’’, and ‘’how’’. Far more conversational than text, those that haven’t optimised their content for voice searches will find a decrease in engagement.

A prime example for this is the fifth most searched keyword on Google, ‘’YouTube to MP3’’. Although a plausible query via text, if spoken that would undoubtedly change to ‘’find me a YouTube to MP3 converter’’, or ‘’what is the best YouTube to MP3 converter?’’. As voice searches continue to rise, nailing this will be key for communications experts.

Be creative about voice opportunities

Although most conversations around voice tech gravitate towards smart assistants, there’s another key area of voice that is also growing: podcasts. 44% of the US population listened to podcasts as of March 2018, and as a direct and engaging form of content, there’s plenty of opportunity there for brands and marketers to get involved.

Bang & Olufsen is a great example of a brand that runs its own podcast series called Sound Matters, and there’s no reason why others can’t maximise the platform to tell their stories in new and interesting ways.

Analyse what people are searching to find you and your clients

Continually analysing and amending is a must for anyone working in communications, voice or not. The way voice is used however throws up some different considerations to bear in mind when looking at the data.

One key area for voice is knowing what people are searching for, as it provides some indication as to how far down the purchasing funnel they are. If someone is asking ‘’where are most UK PR agencies based?’’, they’re probably just doing some research. If the questions is ‘’who is the best UK sports tech PR agency?’’, then they are far more likely to be a potential new lead, and definitely worth investigating.


What are your thoughts on the rise of voice tech, and how can communications experts best maximise it? Let us know via Twitter or send us an email at!

Like this? Check out: Maximising social media in an ever-changing environment