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Kids speak to Alexa more than to their own grandparents

Generation Alpha, those children born after 2010, speak to their smart speakers, such as Alexa, Siri and Google Nest, more than their own grandparents.

That’s according to research from global cloud communications platform Infobip, commissioned with global public opinion firm YouGov, which polled British children aged 6–11 years old.

The survey aimed to assess the impact technology is having on how children see and interact with the world around them. Results reveal a quarter (25%) of Generation Alpha with smart devices speak to Alexa and other smart speakers every day. Yet only one in ten (11%) speak to their grandad and just 14% speak to their grandma daily.

Other key daily habits of this youngest category of the generations include:

–          Nearly half (46%) have an active social media account, despite Facebook, TikTok and Instagram insisting on a minimum age of 13 for account holders;

–          Three-fifths (61%) who have access to a tablet have their own device, compared to a third (33%) who use a family device;

–          Half (49%) of respondents have their own smart phone, while a further two-fifths (43%) use a smart phone belonging to a family member;

–          Three in ten (30%) of those surveyed are liking, swiping and texting on their smartphones for more than an hour a day.

The research also discovered that two-thirds (66%) of Generation Alpha children started using tablets such as iPads before the age of five and under. Two-fifths (41%) say they have been speaking to smart speakers from the age of 6 or younger, and, incredibly, a third (34%) claim to have first started using iPads before even reaching their fourth birthday.

In terms of most popular ways to stay in touch, over a third of 6-11 year olds surveyed are on WhatsApp – with a whopping 73% of 11 year olds well-versed in this channel. SMS isn’t far behind, with a third (29%) of Generation Alpha still using this more traditional texting method and a third (33%) using Facetime.

Catherine Thevenot, Professor in Cognitive Developmental Psychology at the University of Lausanne, said: “Whether in Preston or Paris, Lausanne or London, the children of Generation Alpha rely on digital tools to learn and play, which influences the way they develop and see the world around them. From the age of just 18 months, children can understand the difference between a robot and a human: they recognise that only humans have a conscious goal, but the fact remains that they are interacting more with their smartphones and tablets than with some of their own family members. While the impetus is on the adults in their lives to guide them to use digital tools in the most positive and safe way possible – both in the home and the classroom – brands and influencers should also consider how they can curate digital experiences that will enrich this future generation as potential employees and active citizens. It’s about striking the right balance between virtual and real-life activities”

Nikhil Shoorji, Managing Director Europe at Infobip, said: “For all the talk about Millennials and Generation Z, it is Generation Alpha who have been surrounded by technology since the moment they were born: the first truly digitally-immersed humans. In the same way that they develop everyday relationships with family members, this group has grown accustomed to interacting with technology on demand from a very early age.”

Alexa, do I need a voice search strategy? – Why your business should consider the merits of implementing a voice search strategy

With voice search dominating the realm of SEO and business news, Jimmy McCann, Head of Digital Strategy at international digital marketing agency, Search Laboratory, discusses how voice search is becoming the default search method for consumers worldwide and why voice search shouldn’t be overlooked as part of a business’ digital strategy.  

Implementing voice search technology 

With recent partnerships being established in the world of voice search, such as the NHS and Amazon, this only scratches the surface of voice technology. The possibilities are endless and this partnership only works to emphaises the technology is here to stay, with more and more consumers creating demand for home voice assisted devices, including Amazon’s Echo and Google Home. 

In turn, a growing number of brands are turning to SEO specialists to improve their search engine results page (SERP) ranking due to the rising popularity of voice search amongst consumers. The popularity is bound to lead to an even greater influx in brands looking to gain market share and a slice of the action. 

Of course, as with any strategy, voice search can’t just become a ‘me too’ exercise for brands. Rather, the approach must be considered and highly strategic. There are many reasons why it is becoming necessary for some brands to adopt voice strategies, but rather than panic and invest in this new technology without thought, it is essential those looking to integrate voice search within their existing offering – like the NHS – to do so in a way that ultimately works to benefit the consumer and the broader business strategy. 

The impact of voice search on SEO

That said voice search is a hugely popular emergent technology that will only keep getting bigger. As it does grow, the way SEO is conducted will be impacted, and this is where larger numbers of businesses that don’t necessarily see a need for voice search considerations as part of their digital strategy may become impacted.  

Voice technology isn’t new by any means. In fact, it was first designed in the 1950s but with the new home assistant device, it has taken a place in the forefront of consumer minds. The technology is improving at such a rapid pace that it is constantly interesting consumers. Just like social media and smartphones, voice technology is here to stay in the consumers everyday life. 

Businesses who want to remain visible to consumers in the coming years will have to find a way to incorporate voice technology, or at the least an SEO approach that considers the nuances presented by voice search, into their digital marketing strategies. 

With voice searches, users do not see a full SERP and decide from there which link to click, but rather are presented with the top result or answer spoken back to them. As such, businesses will no longer be fighting for a place of page one, but rather for the top result every time, for every search term. 

Using voice to enhance the customer experience 

Voice does also offer other benefits for businesses. Building a voice search strategy isn’t just about remaining relevant – it is also about creating a unique customer experience that will build on relationships first made via computers and ultimately, build brand loyalty. The most sophisticated home assistants such as Alexa and Google Home can tell the difference between voices asking questions. This means that they can provide valuable insights about specific users that can lead to more personalised content for the consumer. 

Eventually it is predicted that voice technology will also allow brands to interact with consumers in a more natural and seamless way, with the aim of encouraging customer retention and loyalty. Finally, voice search interactions take far less time than text-based ones, which makes life more convenient for busy consumers who expect a quality experience and instant gratification every time they interact with a brand. Customers want brands to stay on the fringes of their life until needed, at which point they want immediate support and service.

As voice technology continues to grow and become more popular among consumers, it will become increasingly important for businesses of all shapes and sizes to include a voice search strategy into the overall digital marketing plan. 

Along with already changing the way people approach SEO, voice search is also giving businesses an opportunity to create an enhanced customer experience, and brands that want to compete and stay relevant will have to get on board.

Beyond that, voice search could also prove to be a great tool for increasing web traffic and beating the competition, as long as businesses have a solid voice-optimised SEO strategy in place to get their brand to the top of the SERPs. 

WFA launches ‘Voice Coalition’ to help brands leverage Alexa-style devices

The World Federation of Advertisers (WFA) has unveiled the Voice Coalition, a group designed to help brands understand more about the impact voice will have on the way consumers select brands.

Founded in partnership with Fast-Up Partners (FUP), the group has been created following research into the way consumers use voice-enabled assistants to guide their purchase decisions.

It will aim to improve knowledge and understanding for brand marketers across all voice platforms, helping them benefit from this exciting new communications channel.

The coalition already brings together a number of WFA members, including Mastercard, and is open to any clients interested in exploring the potential of voice commerce.

Raja Rajamannar, CMCO of Mastercard and WFA President, said: “Research just conducted by WFA with The Economist Group shows voice to be a relatively low priority today to many marketers. But when quizzed on upcoming priorities, 55% of WFA members say voice will be big – and on par with influencer marketing. Given voice commerce goes well beyond marketing, it’s going to be of major strategic importance to companies going forward.”

The launch coincides with new research conducted for the WFA by independent research group BVA into current consumer behaviours among owners of Alexa devices in the UK and US. Based on 1,500 respondents in the US and UK and augmented by focus groups in New York, the study represents the most accurate look at interactions between Alexa and brands to date.

It found that 35% of those surveyed used voice to check prices, 30% use it to add items to their shopping list and 18% use it to add items to a cart/basket. Fifteen percent have used it to make a purchase.

The study highlights the impact voice assistants have on the wider purchase journey with 81% of those who had added an item to the cart ending up buying it later. The impact is even more dramatic among those who have an Alexa with a screen.

Sixty-seven percent plan to use voice commerce at some point for adding items to cart and 60% are willing to use it to purchase directly. More than two thirds (68%, rising to 81% among 16-34s) are willing to let Alexa recommend brands and 77% are happy for Alexa to recommend an appropriate Amazon brand.

The categories most affected by voice are electronics/technology (40%), food and groceries (47%) and petfood/petcare (31%).

The study also highlighted that many have yet to use their Alexa for voice commerce with 36% saying they haven’t had a need to do so yet and 32% saying they just haven’t got round to it.

“Given its hugely untapped potential, this is an ideal time to be exploring the opportunities presented by voice. The coalition aims to help its members in trying to navigate this exciting new channel”, said Stephan Loerke, CEO of WFA.

“Voice offers a huge opportunity and this initiative will help brand owners develop a greater understanding of voice through bespoke research, support and knowledge sharing”, said Frederic Colas, CEO Fast-Up Partners.

Image by HeikoAL from Pixabay