Marketers Search For Campaign Data From Virtual Assistants

Google bridges its virtual assistant Home with a downloadable smartphone app that can help marketers in optimizing for voice search. Some believe the next step will be pulling in the data to analyze and optimize cross-channel campaigns.

With the growth of voice assistants, voice data will become a measurable activity in Google Analytics and Search Console this year, according to Alex Porter, president and chief strategy officer at agency Location3 Media.

The data will inform local SEO strategies and allow marketers to integrate paid-search advertising and gain a different perspective on how the content serves up on sites to better answer questions. He said it's also a good way for brands to get content to serve up in a Feature Snippet.

Google Home sometimes asks searchers to go to the companion smartphone app that users can download to their phone, especially when the search asks to find a how-to video. The data will make the action with the Web site measurable.

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Audience, demographic, location, intent and targeting data provide insight into more accurately serving advertisements and content, but the voice data will bring inflections and cross-channel campaigns into the mix. Marketers need to start optimizing content for voice search, so they have the best opportunity in having their site or content serve up first, per Porter.

The data format and how marketers will access the data remains the big unknown. "We are seeing a lot more question and answer type questions, very localized," he said.

Toward the end of December, cross-channel marketing analytics firm Datorama introduced a voice-activated feature in its platform that allows marketers to gain information about their campaign measurement by asking Alexa-enabled devices. It breaks down the measurements and can email the results to users. The company's products also integrate with Google, Bing, and Facebook.

Porter also believes marketers will see an opportunity for paid-media campaigns targeting voice search. His prediction of "less typing and more talking when it comes to search marketing in 2017," which is published in the Local Search Association's annual predictions report for 2017, highlights a trend viewed as important by others in the industry as well.

At the end of 2016, the LSA asked publishers, marketing technology providers, agencies and advertisers to provide some forecasts for location-based marketing and media in 2017.

Five of the more than 50 industry professionals who gave their own predictions named voice search in their forecast, three named either virtual assistants or virtual reality, and nearly all named mobile.

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