On Wednesday, I was following a debate on Twitter hosted by SEMrush (#semrushchat for those interested), addressing influencer marketing, video content, social media and emerging trends that digital marketers should pay attention to. Reading through some of the discussions, a key theme emerged in the form of voice search. Unsurprisingly, AI also featured as a means for marketers to better target niche audiences. One of the questions presented by SEMrush stood out for me and encouraged me to provide my own comment.
‘What are some emerging trends that digital marketers need to pay attention to?’
— SEMrush (@semrush) May 22, 2019
As a Product Marketer at Speechmatics, a machine learning company specialising in speech recognition technology, I had some views on this question. Maybe I’m biased, but certainly, voice is a growing phenomenon and something that I believe marketers should be using and embracing more and more. With the use of voice comes some complexities, but below I will outline some uses of it as well as some tips for measurement and improvement.
It’s not just about your product anymore, but also the functionality built in to enable people to engage with technology and consume your content in ways that are most appropriate for the user at that point in time. Voice control enhances speed, ease of use and can be a key differentiator between choosing one product or service over another. This is the same for content. Videos that are subtitled reach a much larger audience as they can be consumed in all manner of situations. For example, subtitles make video content accessible to both the deaf and hard of hearing community who, without subtitles, cannot consume your content, and also to those who are situationally disadvantaged. How often do you find yourself scrolling through social media videos with the sound turned off because you’re at work or on a train? Subtitles allow you to consume this content without everyone else around you having to listen too.
When it comes to the metrics used to differentiate your products or services, the battleground is constantly evolving. Competitors often reach similar levels of performance for certain metrics (e.g. car manufacturers often have similar top speeds), so other factors should be considered to help differentiate. Understand what value and metric is actually important for your customers and select the best solution based on that understanding.
How do you measure success? Why do you measure it that way? As marketers, we should be continually analysing these questions to understand our audiences, understand why we do what we do, and how we can improve. I know for automatic speech recognition (ASR), ‘success’ (in this case ‘accuracy’) is defined by word error rate (WER). While important, this is just one of many factors that should be considered when choosing and evaluating ASR providers. Truly understanding your audience is key to determining critical success factors and to provide a product or service that is valuable to your end users.
In short, the way users absorb content is going to change. It’s going to become more visual and voice related. As marketers, we should think about what this means for us now, and how we can plan for success in the future. Voice search may be the answer, but you are likely to be best placed to determine that. Remember, understand your ‘why?’ and make sure you are addressing your audience!
Alex Fleming, Speechmatics