Study: Most Organizations Aren’t Ready for Voice Search

A new report finds that most organizations are in a poor position to benefit from the emergence of voice search. To get "voice-search ready," they can start by ensuring they have accurate information posted online.

Increasingly, search is expanding away from its text-driven roots into other forms of human interaction that don’t involve touch—particularly voice.

Voice search requires a different mindset from desktop or mobile search. And currently, most brands aren’t up to the job, according to new research from the location marketing firm Uberall.

The study looked at more than 73,000 organizations and found that for many, inaccurate information, such as website URLs and location names, is the biggest limiting factor for doing well on voice-based searches. Uberall’s 2019 Voice Search Readiness Report [registration] says that just 4 percent of organizations had fully accurate information.

This is a problem because there’s much less room for error with voice search, the report notes. “Today, when a consumer utters a command like, ‘OK Google/Hey Siri/Alexa, find the best mechanic in my area,’ the query will return only one result at a time,” the report states. “This means that, unlike with local and organic search results, only one business can win.”

How much is voice search likely to grow? That’s a wild card. At one point a few years ago, Google reported that 1 in 5 mobile searches was conducted through voice.  But Uberall found less adoption: Slightly less than 10 percent of respondents in the survey used voice search daily, and a full 57.2 percent had never used it.

“These results are extremely interesting because it shows usage is either frequent (daily and weekly) or not at all,” according to the report.

All of which may explain why organizations are uncertain how much to invest in voice-search ROI. While about a third (35 percent) of small businesses said they would increase their voice search budget, more than half said they would if they could figure out if it would move the needle.

“Voice search is one of the most hyped yet perhaps least understood topics confronting businesses today,” Uberall Senior Vice President of Marketing Norman Rohr told BizReport. “Very few understand what it is to become ‘voice-search ready’ and whether there is actually an ROI justification to begin with.”

The report notes that while Google is the search engine king, Bing and Yahoo power a lot of voice-search applications. So if an organization’s information is missing from those platforms, it could prevent them from maximizing their voice-search presence.

(B4LLS/iStock/Getty Images Plus)

Ernie Smith

By Ernie Smith

Ernie Smith is a former senior editor for Associations Now. MORE

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