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Voice search, CRO and Podcasts: 2019 Predictions

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With voice assistants and podcasts starting to take centre stage in bold brands’ content strategies, we look into how we think they are going to grow in 2019 and why it’ll only work if they do it for the right reasons, not just to look clever.

And of course, content should never stand in isolation, so what do we predict for content and CRO?

1. Voice Search and Voice Assistants will be the hot topic

Next year, the incredible growth in voice assistance will continue apace. In 2018, we spent £3.5 billion buying Google Home and Amazon Alexa devices and it’s now expected that 50% of all searches will be by voice by 2020.

As people integrate voice assistants into their daily lives, the opportunity for marketers will grow. Our own study into voice search has revealed that already, over two thirds of adults have access to voice search or voice-activated devices, including Siri and Cortana, so it’s clear the audience is there.

It’s going to be more important than ever to optimise content for voice searches too. Query length is already proving to be longer when done verbally so a whole range of new keywords are going to be brought into the mix.

How do you optimise for them? Well, that’s a different matter. It’s essential to be selected as the Featured Snippet on your key terms, as it’s where more than 40% of voice search results come from. Your PageSpeed will need to improve too with voice search results being pages which load, on average, over 50% faster than the average page.

When it comes to voice assistants and developing voice apps, more brands are going to launch Alexa Skills and Google Home apps in 2019. So it will be increasingly important that content stands out. Marketers will have to think about the use of their voice app, rather than creating one just for bragging rights.

Fundamentally, voice assistants and changing how we spend time with brands is going to be one of the biggest shifts in the customer and brand relationship we have seen in recent years.

2: Podcasts will finally be taken seriously

Podcasts will continue to pull in loyal listeners in 2019. Already over 6.9 million people listen to them every week but the real game changer for podcasts next year will be Google.

Earlier this year, it introduced a standalone podcast app for Android which could as much as double global listenership of podcasts. But it’s not just this that will push the popularity of podcasts further – voice assistants are going to play an important role in their wider penetration.

With more of us owning a Voice Assistant device and with Google’s podcast app integrated with its Google Assistant, searching for and listening to podcasts has become easier whether on the move or at home.

With this, we expect to see more brands waking up to the fact that they can get in front of a self-selected audience for as much as 30 minutes at a time compared with 1-2 minutes on short form content making it a big year for ‘voice’ – both voice search and podcasts.

3: Content marketers will focus on CRO

Most brands are creating content and getting people to their site who then interact with it. But so much of that traffic can leak, with high volumes of users not going on to buy.

This will change in 2019 as we see the convergence of content and Conversion rate optimisation (CRO).

We expect to see marketers not only give people a reason to engage with the brand at the top of the funnel through great content but also a stronger focus on content that converts throughout the funnel through testing and optimisation rather than relying on hope.

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Sharon Flaherty

Hi, I’m Sharon the Managing Director of BrandContent. Day-to-day I oversee client satisfaction and carry out strategic client work. I work on both established financial services brands as well as challengers and love working on both. In a previous life, I was a journalist at the Financial Times and worked in-house for brands including the MoneySuperMarket Group and leading their Content, PR and Social divisions.

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