Are Your Paid Search Campaigns Receiving Voice Search Traffic?

Voice-controlled virtual assistants continue to increase in popularity, so what does that mean for your paid search marketing?

Earlier this year, Amazon stated that more than 100 million Alexa devices had been sold, while Google claims its Assistant is in use on 1 billion devices. With those devices combined, a large audience has already embraced voice search in their daily life.

For many advertisers, the opportunity to reach the voice-searching audience would be beneficial—especially when trying to reach those searching for local services and products. However, as search terms are becoming more conversational, how do marketers make shifts to protect or maximize their ROI?

What do voice searches sound like?

Voice searches are conversational and typically are long-tail queries with five words or more. People talk to their voice assistants just like they would talk to a friend. Frequently, these searches tend to follow a question format, so many queries will also include “where,” “when,” how,” “what” and “why.” Local proximity also is popular with voice search, including keywords like “near me” or “nearby” or those with more of an urgent intent, such as “open now.”

Are your pay-per-click campaigns already receiving voice search traffic?

By taking a deep dive into your Google Ads search queries, we can analyze the searches triggering your ads and determine if this audience is using voice search. For this example, we created a fictitious company called “Pizza-Co,” a pizza shop that offers pizza delivery and takeout.

First, export your search query report from your Google Ads keywords. Depending on your search traffic, you may want to export a couple of months of data. Export the results to a Google Sheet so you can easily filter the searches.

Now let’s dig into the data to review search queries. We’ll sort the search terms for question-type keywords. For example, we searched “where” to find searches hopefully related to Pizza-Co locations.

Several “where” searches were conducted: Most included five or more words, and there were two that also included location proximity. Depending on search volume, this could potentially show that users are searching for locations to buy pizza and using a conversational tone. Depending on your campaign strategy, from here, you could easily create an ad group to capture search terms like this or add negative keywords to not trigger ads for these searches.

While this data gives us insights on our search users, we still don’t have definitive confirmation they are using voice search. To identify voice searches, we can filter queries by voice assistants for keywords, including “alexa,” “siri” and “google.”

In the example below, we looked at Pizza-Co’s search queries that included “google” as a keyword. Several searches came up showing that people are using their voice assistants to use Google search to find answers on pizza listings, pizza delivery and how to get to Pizza-Co.

If these searches do not fit your campaign target goals, add voice assistant search keywords and phrases to your negative keyword list to continue your campaign optimizations.

As voice search and virtual assistants continue to gain popularity, marketers will continue to have the need to optimize campaigns and detect new trends. Long-tail searches will continue to gain popularity, and marketers will need to know how to craft their messages to capture or exclude terms to achieve their goals.

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