feature image for blog post about people searching with voices

Voice Search Statistics 2018 For Online Marketers: Can you hear me now?

It is important to follow trends in marketing

There is no doubt that voice search has arrived and is here to stay.

Voice engagement will present a challenge for online marketers.

However, the point of this article is to dive into voice search statistics for 2018 and see if, in fact, someday you may very well need to say things just like that.

(hint, you will, and sooner than you think).

Voice search in 2018 is significant and growing, but as it stands, traditional search application remains strong.

However, traditional search is breaking down as more and more voice search options get their footings.

Based on the rising trend in vocal search stats from 2017, we have more than enough evidence to realize where this show will next travel. Voice search growth is continually being debated, as well as being embraced.

SEO marketers are now understanding that voice searches matter, and they are taking the time to adapt their online business before they get passed by.

No longer the perceived subplot of some science fiction narrative, it is quickly becoming embedded into the traditional American family’s daily happenings.

a lady using voice search technology on her mobile device

Woman using her mobile phone to conduct a search by asking a question.

No, we do not yet have R2D2 prototypes serving us mimosas on our patios every Saturday morning, but it does not feel as though we are that far from it.

Voice-enabled devices continue to thrive in a technology marketplace that’s seemingly under duress to provide more and more voice-enabled devices, resulting in increased competition and astonishing evolutions.

You can even use voice commands to tell your Roomba to clean up your messy room (but not to serve you mimosas….yet).

For us SEO marketers, local voice search is something we must accept, begrudgingly or graciously, as a new plot narrative in the SEO script. There is no avoiding it when it comes to SEO, particularly when we consider local search implications.

Local Voice Search, Be Prepared

Voice search and local search go together like a toddler’s hands and mittens. In my recent local SEO service trends for 2018 roundup with industry experts, local voice search was a common theme.

Consumers are being trained by the likes of Amazon and Apple to simply shout out their needs and expect expedited local solutions to accommodate them.

People are not afraid of the machine anymore, they have gone beyond a period of discomfort and hesitance and into a place of comfort and instantaneous gratification. When we consider the full scope of voice search, we eventually break it down to a consumer being able to gratify a search need without ever having to pull away from decorating the Christmas tree.

The question for online marketers has now become, “will my goods or services fill the need?”

Voice search optimization is a hot topic that I will break down in another article.

It is most certainly a question many SEO voice search marketers are now asking themselves and maybe even aloud.

Local voice search is an interruptive consumer behavior based on questions and answers that are changing the way traditional optimization is approached.

Many SEO’s  are finding themselves shell-shocked by a conventional search disfigurement and scrambling to adapt. Technology, search engines included, move with furious and reckless paces that often leave unattentive digital marketers in pandemonium.

The good news is, you are not late for the inauguration of your adaption process into voice search. However, the clock is ticking which means the time is now to better adjust to an apparent future that is local voice search.

So, can you hear me now?

Voice Search Stats From 2017

Voice searches are increasing in volume at a tremendous rate.

According to Mary Meeker’s annual Internet trends report, which was posted by SearchEngineLand last June, displays that voice search queries are now 35 times larger than they were in 2008. 2008 is widely considered the launch of voice search device technology.

local voice search queries

50% Of All Searches Will Use Voice By 2020

Further feeding the beast is a statistical search analysis by ComScore which predicts that 50% of all searches will be accomplished by voice search in 2020.

That is only four years away. In other words, if the ComScore analysis is correct, in a mere four years, your business will either begin its ascent into financial bliss or sink into Internet oblivion as a dinosaur, depending on its voice search optimization.

If you spend the next couple of years not regarding voice search as a massive cultural change, you are likely investing in your own demise.

Voice Search Growth Driven By Device Saturation

Searching on Siri when it first came out in 2011 on iPhone 4S was hardly a sophisticated undertaking.

At the time of performing a few basic voice searches, an SEO marketer potentially could have dismissed that voice search growth was of any valid concern.

Siri was innovative and fun, but often your voice search keyword queries were misinterpreted, leading to all types of inappropriate results. “I said tool stores near me, not pool tours beer me!”

I have to believe that a great many searches were performed out of a user’s fascination with the concept and less as a desire for useful search results.

Initial fascination with voice technology capability was often short-lived for some people who did not quite enjoy the technological growing pains. However, innovation and advances were quick to remedy blundering Siris one IOS update after another.

Apple was sold on it being the future which led them to an unwavering focus on the advancement and refinement of the technology.

It was not long until Siri’s microscopic pin sized ear was better than your grandmother’s and more sophisticated than your coworker’s.

google voice capture

Image Credit: KPCB 2016 Internet Trends

Google Voice Search Data

Back in 2013, Google was not much better than Siri’s debut blunders. In Meeker’s statistics, Google voice capture ability was around 78%.

That may sound high, but the inability to competently capture 20% of a surfer’s voice commands is a recipe for confusion. Google is now above the 90% marker in voice search capture ability and likely headed towards near 100%.

Voice capture technology is almost as reliable as a keyboard search on the Google search traditional platform.

More and more consumers are figuring out that voice search can help them lead less hinged lifestyles. The concept of being enslaved by a machine is driving more people than ever to devices which seemingly offer such freedoms.

You no longer have to leave the room during the Cowboys game to grab your laptop to search for a local pizza delivery service. You do not have to look down at your smartphone and navigate a browser while fat thumbing a search for “Starbucks near me.” You can quickly order more diapers while changing a dirty one. Mobile marketing will never be the same.

Google has stated that 20% of all searches are voice related. And Google search statistics regarding voice most certainly entice, and maybe shock, the most successful Internet marketers.

While it is all impressive and astounding, it certainly isn’t surprising.

There are several driving factors in the meteoric rise of voice search trends. When it comes to voice search statistics in 2017, you can expect this trend to continue to rise into 2018 as more and more people become voice device enabled.

Pandora’s box has been opened, the likes of Amazon, Apple, and Microsoft are evolving to meet the growing demand for voice-enabled devices. Every holiday season, more and more households become voice search enabled.

So what are the products that serve to reshape search logic as we know it?

How Many People Use Voice Search Devices?

The home voice assistant is here to stay.

Every passing holiday season, a new segment of the herd becomes more exposed to the remarkable benefits of having a personal home assistant.

It is indeed changing the way search functions.

What we are seeing is a massive cultural change happening, and if we are not adapting to it, we are falling behind.

There are over 20 million hands-free device activations on the horizon which is prompting online companies to take a serious look at where their businesses are going to fit in.

50% of all searches will be voice searches by 2020 according to ComScore.

Someone is going to be cooking and have raw chicken on their hand and suddenly call out “flower shops that deliver,” the question is, will they be exposed to your flower shop or your competitors?

You do not need to understand the ins-and-outs of every hands-free search device to begin your local search preparations; rather, you need to realize that in just under a handful of years, voice search will be an expansive, deeply-reliable, and culturally comfortable search method.

If your business is ill-prepared for the influx of massive home assistant technology, you will suffer the dire consequences.

By 2020, 30% Of All Searches Will not Use A Screen

Further adding to the mayhem of changing search behaviors via hands-free devices such as Amazon Alexa, Apple Siri, and Microsoft Cortana is that we are ushering in an era whereas 30% of all searches are done without the use of a screen.

Shut the front door! No, it is happening, people are going to find all their local needs without ever seeing a visual display.

Y0u might consider this statistic to be somewhat underwhelming due to having already read the stats involving overall voice search numbers and device assistant activations stats.

However, as it stands, many people use voice search as a means to bring up search results. In some ways, this is our transitional phase into full-on display-less search existence.

The process remains engrained in using the display to bring up results. Home assistants, however, are getting savvier by the day at working in unison with applications, such as Google maps and checklists, allowing a complete bypass of traditional search results.

It is not a fully-fluid experience yet, but it is coming.

Who Are The Industry Players?

Amazon Echo Was Top Selling Holiday Item

The Amazon Echo is a top-selling personal voice assistant.

With a bevy of marketing campaigns on major network television stations, millions of Amazon Prime users being exposed to the benefits,  the Amazon Echo is a massive influence in the voice search market share.

Amazon Echo may be second to Apple’s Siri, but it is not riding in the backseat regarding success. In fact, the Amazon Echo was the top selling product on Amazon.com during the holidays.

Amazon advertises the Echo as a single-function, purely one-dimensional experience.

You call out your request or curiosity and seconds later you stand enchanted awaiting your Uber. They also advertise ease of use with their voice capture technology through Alexa (that is what Amazon calls their Siri).

Because so many people have this perception of bumbling voice capture environments, Amazon aims to curb such inhibitions by painting them as misconceptions.

Check out this Amazon Echo (Alexa) commercial from 2015. Near the: 50 mark, note that the family has to reel in a mom who seems to think she needs to yell at the device.

What mom enjoys the idea of her family yelling at some artificial intelligence box all day? None.

Amazon takes on this issue, as well as the poor application of voice capture, brilliantly in their ad campaigns.

Google Home,  The King Of Voice Search marketing

Google Home, while a newer kid on the block (not HomePod new, but still newish), must not be overlooked in the voice search market share conversation.

Google is an early adopter artificial intelligence and machine learning.

Google is Google, and that means massive reach, infinite marketing spends, and almost unrivaled influence over consumers.

Google’s desktop and mobile search are voice search capable, as are their calendars and Google Drive documents. Amazon Echo remains the dominating device, but Google remains the earliest adopter with the most influence to expand in the voice search market share.

Google Home is now making a massive push to flood the market and capture a great deal of Amazon’s surging market share. They are doing so by replicating Amazon Echo’s marketing campaigns. They focus on simplicity and freedom.

Here’s their 2017 ad campaign which features a dad attempting to bake with his daughter.

Apple Siri Is Upgraded And Ready For Mobile Voice Technology

Siri is often camouflaged in a sea of mindless, wasteful apps and absolute necessary functions.

You pick up your iPhone because you need to text your business partner or family member or friend. You need to make phone calls.

Those two essential smartphone functions are already buried underneath of app games and calculators and retail store points apps.

The point being, Siri is often a casualty of functional saturation. Additionally, Siri must be activated by the user to operate, which means you must have the iPhone in hand.

While Siri has been the “rock” of AI voice assistants in the market, the recent uprising in competition by Amazon and Google have cast a shadow over it.

Siri can hold court due to it being the primary personal assistant function on the world’s most popular device, the iPhone, however, it has found itself losing market share due to having to have the iPhone device in hand to use.

But hey, this is Apple, and they are about to remedy all of this.

First, it should be noted that Apple recently announced a massive hiring plan for 2018. The new tax plan, Apple’s renewed promise to bring in billions of off-shore dollars back into the states, and their subtle loss of AI market share are all likely contributors to Apple’s plan to expand employees.

Yes, they have billions of dollars and a new motivation to upgrade Siri so you can expect massive technological advances.

Welcome To The Party Apple HomePod

Wait, you thought Apple was just going to rest on their laurels?

Siri’s main weakness and obvious strength both reside in the fact that she is located on the iPhone.

Most people use an iPhone. However, new personal assistants do not require the device be in hand. On February 10th, Siri will also move to your hands-free living room space (Read my HomePod Thoughts Here).

homepod siri

While many believe they have focused on the music/speaker aspect of the Homepod, it will also serve as a smart assistant.

What could go wrong with the  HomePod? Once again, Apple is playing to their extensive following of loyal iPhone users.

If you do not have an iPhone, iPad, or iPod touch, you cannot set it up.

I am not sure if it will be possible to set it up using a MacBook Pro, it seems senseless that you will not be able to. However, there is no confirmation either way.

The HomePod will set up in seconds, but it is not about to allow for non-sanctioned Apple use.

Apple realizes its monstrous market positioning, so it is willing to take a few bumps and bruises in disallowing non-IOS folks access.

Local Voice Search Ramifications Explained

Why is all of this important? Why did we just watch commercials? Why should we, as marketers, how voice search will change SEO?

The answer is that the devil is always in the details. Understanding why consumers are seeking out voice search devices can help us better understand what voice search optimization ramifications these devices will have on SEO. The evolution has arrived, fewer people are typing in their searches, which means that keywords are changing.

People do not speak exactly as they type. When someone has a thought, the way that thought is relayed to the world through voice will be different from the way it would have been relayed through typing.

We need to understand why people are using these devices (pay attention to the ads) and how their search terms are being altered.

The annual report by Meeker showed us that 61% of voice searches are the result of someone being occupied.

Just like the Google Home commercial narrative suggest with the busy dad needing information on a recipe, people enjoy the convenience that sophisticated voice search has to offer them.

voice search hands free

image credit: KPCB 2016 Internet Trends


Conclusion Be Prepared for Voice Search Growth

Voice search statistics in 2018 reveal that the future of traditional search behaviors is changing.

As online marketers, we can now see that billions of dollars are flowing into the Artificial Intelligence sector and that has created a gigantic uprising of smart personal assistants.

If your online business is not making considerations with voice search, your online business is falling behind. Voice search and SEO is not the next big thing; instead, it is today’s big thing.

By understanding linguistics and paying attention to smart device advertising, we can gain insights into how we may need to adapt our search and online marketing strategy.

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