Forrester Calls Amazon, Voice New Search Opportunities

Findings in a new Forrester report suggest that retail brands will invest 55% more in online marketing and advertising by 2023, but fewer dollars will go toward traditional search channels like Google. The move signifies a shift in the way consumer shopping habits continue to change. More are headed toward Amazon and retail websites for shopping and toward Google and Bing for answers to questions. 

The shift gives Amazon a reason to strengthen its search -- text and voice -- features for organic traffic, as well as its search advertising platform.

Forrester estimates Google’s 78% market-share estimate in 2016 will continue to erode as marketers find other platforms to invest marketing and advertising dollars.

The research identifies three key findings that will have a major impact on search marketers. Amazon increasingly competes with search engines for shoppers, voice search creates new ways to reach buyers, and mobile continues to play a “significant” role in influencing sales.  



“Amazon is looking to take advantage of this strength and build its own search advertising business, and retailers will increasingly allocate advertising dollars to Amazon,” per the report.

Publicis, Omnicom, and WPP plan to boost their ad spending with Amazon between 40% and 100% in 2018, according to Forrester, citing online reports.

Estimates put about one-third of today's U.S. online retail spend with Amazon, giving the marketplace an edge on ecommerce searches in Google. Many of those searches are on mobile devices. In fact mobile accounts for 56% share of total digital ad spend and influences 32%, or $1.1 trillion, of total retail sales in the U.S. 

Consumers are not only tying into a search box what they want. More often they speak their request. The adoption of voice interaction with devices will grow, albeit slowly, from 21 million in 2017 to 166 million in 2022.

Behavior continues to change, specifically the share people willing to use voice assistant speakers to research products and services. Today, only 8% use voice assist speakers to research products, but 54% said they were interested in using it for that reason. The same goes for ordering product. Only 12% said they have ordered products, but 48% said they are interested in ordering products. Most prefer to use the speakers in a more general way like checking the weather and looking up information.

In a very condensed version of the methodology, the survey was fielded in July and August 2017, and includes data from 4,527 respondents in the U.S. between the ages of 18 and 88. It’s interesting to note that 87% of the participating companies were multichannel retailers, with 14% primarily online-based multichannel retailers and 54% store-based multichannel retailers. Seven percent were pure-play retailers, 7% were manufacturers selling direct to consumers, and another 7% were primarily catalog-based multichannel retailers.

About 3% of respondents generated $1 billion or more in direct sales from their web channels in 2016, 33% generated more than $100 million, 26% generated $25 million to less than $100 million, and 39% generated less than $25 million.

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