The rise of voice recognition technology has changed how we search online. We’ve gone from typing in clunky keywords to casually asking our phones where we can find a quality latte nearby.
As the technology behind it evolves, voice search is only going to become more popular. Here are three major emerging voice search trends to keep an eye on.
1. More virtual assistants mean more voice searches
Virtual assistants used to be a sci-fi fantasy. Now, they're household fixtures. The number of people that own virtual assistants went up by 40% in 2018, and today, a quarter of U.S. consumers have access to one.
There are a growing number of them on the market too, with tech giants like Apple and Google bringing out new and improved versions of the hardware. As the install base for smart speakers grows, people will get increasingly comfortable with the idea of talking to their technology. So, expect to see more people searching by voice from the comfort of their homes.
2. People voice search on the go
Alexa and Siri haven’t just moved in – we’re carrying them around in our pockets. Voice search is more accessible than ever, as most smartphones are now equipped with a voice search function, often in multiple languages.
With voice search always at our fingertips, it’s no surprise that a lot of people use it when they’re out and about. 65% of 25- to 49-year-olds speak to their smartphone at least once a day. Over half of people age 18-64 that use voice search (52.8%) use it while driving, and 40% use it to ask for directions.
Many of those searches will be for local businesses, so ensure you’re optimized for local queries in 2020.
3. Voice search tech is understanding us better
“Alexa, where’s the nearest Italian restaurant?”
“Okay Google, what’s the weather forecast for this afternoon?”
When we voice search, we use conversational language, as if we’re talking to another person – and speech recognition technology is getting better at understanding us.
Google has managed to reduce errors in speech recognition by 29%. And thanks to advances in semantic search, voice recognition software can use context to give you more relevant results, even if you say a word it hasn’t encountered before.
This will be the new standard for search in 2020, so it’s extra important to have a search function that can process natural language queries.
Ready for a voice search boom?
Some 2020 predictions for voice search trends might be a bit optimistic. We haven’t quite reached a science fiction future where we’re all having full-blown conversations with sentient smartphones. Even the often-touted prediction that half of all online searches will be done through voice by 2020 seems unlikely.
But as we move into a new decade, all signs point to a voice search boom happening soon. The technology behind it keeps getting better. It’s integrated into the devices we use every day. And since talking is more natural to us than typing, it’s not unreasonable to suggest that asking search queries out loud will become as common as typing them in.
Discover more voice search trends
Want to explore voice search trends in greater detail? Learn how it works and what it means for marketers and e-commerce sites in our guide to voice search.