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What We Learned from the PMG Voice Lab

2 MINUTE READ | August 15, 2018

What We Learned from the PMG Voice Lab

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Abby Long

Abby is PMG’s senior managing editor, where she leads the company’s editorial program and manages the PMG Blog and Insights Hub. As a writer, editor, and marketing communications strategist with nearly a decade of experience, Abby's work in showcasing PMG’s unique expertise through POVs, research reports, and thought leadership regularly informs business strategy and media investments for some of the most iconic brands in the world. Named among the AAF Dallas 32 Under 32, her expertise in advertising, media strategy, and consumer trends has been featured in Ad Age, Business Insider, and Digiday.

To help ourselves, our clients, and the industry orient themselves in this new voice-powered ecosystem, we launched the PMG Voice Lab. The initiative is a long-term investment in research, analysis, and experimentation in the field of voice search and voice-enabled technologies and opportunities.

In our first Voice Lab analysis, we put the top voice-enabled technologies to the test to see how their AI capabilities compare, and which brands are ahead of the game in optimizing their content for voice search and branded voice queries in our first white paper. At a high-level, we uncovered the following insights.

  • Alexa is far more shopping-focused than Google, to the point of being a nuisance and unhelpful with informational queries.

  • Both Google and Alexa still return a higher than the desired number of unhelpful results. Google devices are much better at finding information, while Alexa-powered devices are easier to order products from.

  • Gaining visibility in Amazon’s marketplace, especially the top 3 listings and the “Amazon’s Choice” section, is vital for gaining visibility with Alexa.

  • On Google, brands only answered questions about their products 16% of the time.

  • Google cited from a wide variety of sources in answering questions.

  • Alexa never recommended an app (“skill”), while Google occasionally did.

  • Google’s voice team has clearly determined that people speak naturally in voice search. Because of this, Google is much better at answering conversational queries in voice search than queries like “headphones blue.” This indicates that Google has a different system for interpreting voice queries than their traditional system.

  • Alexa is just as good at answering both conversational and non-conversational queries; however, it’s really more a case of being “equally bad” at both.

  • Google easily returned relevant local listings for queries with local intent. Appearing in the Google Local pack for relevant results is key.

Download your copy of the Why Voice Matters: Exploring the Latest Opportunities in Voice Search white paper today to better understand the nuances of voice technology, how these devices work, and how your brand can optimize site content for this exciting new field of search marketing.

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