Alexa, How Can I Reach More Customers With Voice Search?

This past year Google reported that 52% of people keep their voice-activated speakers in their living rooms, 25% keep them in their bedrooms, and 22% keep them right in their kitchens! With this kind of seamless in-home integration, smart speakers and voice search are fast becoming a prime point-of-sale opportunity for food marketers. So, if your food marketing strategy doesn’t yet address the impact of voice search and smart speaker technology, with an estimated 50% of all searches being voice search by 2020, it’s time to take a closer look.

The Trend Keeps Going Up, Up, Up

Adult voice search users will surpass wearable users (i.e. smartwatches, fitness trackers, head-mounted displays, etc.) for the first time this year. And, as a further example of its mainstream appeal, this summer Amazon will be placing their popular Echo in Marriott hotel rooms across the US. The pace of adoption of voice search has happened with lightning speed, virtually like no other technology.

eMarker chart of Smart Speaker Figures EvansHardy+Young

So, what about does this all mean for food marketers? Is voice search really a tool that can help you gain search traffic for your food marketing content?

Restaurant, Recipes, and Take-out Own the Evening

As voice search emerges as a mainstream, powerful consumer search tool, it is perhaps most influential within the home. More specifically, the kitchen. A recent NPR/Edison Research found 26% of participants use their smart speakers regularly to add to their shopping lists and more than half have ordered an item through their smart speaker. While another 42% of participants regularly purchased groceries using their smart speaker.

Voice search is also driving food-related content to a new level of consumer interaction and value. When looking across all dayparts, food-related voice searches are owning the evenings between 5 and 7 pm. Consumers are citing restaurants, grocery stores, and food delivery companies like Uber Eats as the top three types of categories they’d likely search for using their voice. But, beyond the advantage to restaurants and grocery marketers, recipe content also produces excellent search results. Consumers are enjoying this new technology, demonstrating their willingness to experiment with the platform. Proving execution is less of a concern than the experience itself.

User Comment about Voice Search EvansHardy+Young

User Comment regarding google voice search EvansHardy=Young

Google itself has made big waves in this space as well, heavily promoting its own Google Voice Search for mobile users. With 90% of all searches going to Google, this is only going to accelerate the adoption and regular use of voice search in the food space.

Google Voice Ad Search Tip EvansHardy+Young

How to Make the Most Out of Your Content for Voice Search

So, what does that mean for the food marketer who wants to participate in this new trend and what are some of the best practices? How can you ensure your consumers have a great experience with your brand using these new platforms?

To get you started, here are 3 key thoughts for optimizing your food marketing content for voice search:

Go Beyond Your Keywords

Voice search is more conversational and natural by nature so it’s important to expand your keyword strategy to include long-tail phrases. The goal of your strategy should be to mimic the way your customers talk and ask questions. For instance, instead of simply using “Greek yogurt” you may optimize your keyword to include “The benefits of Greek Yogurt for women” or instead of saying “eggs” you can try “organic, free-range eggs” or “eggs vs. protein shakes for breakfast”. The point is, find phrases that are specific to your target audience and organized in a way that reflects natural speech.

Mobile and Local Search

More than 60% of search is happening on mobile devices and these searches are 3X more likely to be local-based. With this in mind, it’s important to choose keywords like “when,” “how,” “what,” “who,” to better align your brand with this user. For instance, if you’re a great snack brand, “Where can I find popcorn” or “Who sells BoomChicapop near me” are great options. To help shoppers while at the grocery, how about “How do I make avocado toast” or “What kind of apples are in season right now.”

Optimize Your Sites FAQs

If your site doesn’t have an FAQ section, now is the time to start creating one using your advanced keyword strategy. If you do have one, make sure it is optimized to capture both long-tail and conversational traffic. Having specific questions on your site that your target consumer uses will help your chances of voice search technologies pulling your information. For instance, “Alexa, how do I make a veggie burger using walnuts?” or “What are 3 healthy ways to cook an Idaho Potato?” Be sure to offer quick, succinct answers to all your questions.

Voice Search Cooking Food Recipes EvansHardy+Young

Voice Search Holds Untapped Opportunity

In a very short time, this technology has completely shifted how marketers are reaching their target consumers. The opportunities available to brands whose food marketing strategies are optimized to include voice are enormous and the upside is not going away. So, what are you waiting for? Voice search will continue to grow in both its appeal to consumers and its ability to reach a growing audience. Take the plunge now and grow with it. 

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Keith Butler VP/Digital Strategist EvansHardy+Young
Keith Butler, VP/Digital Strategist

Keith is one of the early leaders of the tech revolution, with a career reaching back to a senior role at AOL, and spanning startups to Fortune 100 companies. But we recruited Keith (twice, actually) not for his past achievements, but for his current leadership capabilities in the digital world. His team’s recent redesign of the California Walnuts website earned a perfect score of 100 from Google Analytics.