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55pc of teens use voice search daily: Google

The Mobile Voice Study by the Mountain View, CA, provider of search, online-advertising technologies and other Internet products and services found that 55 percent of teens aged 13-18 use voice search every day, while 56 percent of adults said using voice search makes them feel tech-savvy. The study points to the importance of marketers understanding that mobile - especially with voice search - is a much more personal experience for people, and often they are not looking to immediately make that easily measurable conversion that informs budget planning and tends to define marketing success.

?Mobile searchers are looking for answers to questions they have in the moment, and the more that brands focus on building out content and marketing plans that allow them to listen thoughtfully and provide valuable responses, the more they can build the personal relationship with the consumer, even if that search doesn?t results in an immediate sale,? said Jeremy Hull, associate director of paid search at iProspect, Boston. 

?It?s not about just shouting a marketing message at them - it?s about being part of the conversation.?

Google could not be reached for comment.

Examining search habits
The study was commissioned by Google and executed by Northstar Research, a global consulting firm. It examined the smartphone voice search habits of 1,400 Americans, age 13 and older (400 age 13-17 and 1,000 adults over 18). 

Using voice search to shop for a car.

Both age groups talk to their phones while watching TV (38 percent) and wish voice search could help them find the remote control (41 percent). 

The study also found that 40 percent use voice search to ask for directions, 39 percent use the feature to dictate a text message and 32 percent do so to make a phone call. 

Among adult Americans, 23 percent use voice search when cooking. Fifty-one percent of teens and 32 percent of adults use voice search just for fun. Twenty-seven percent use voice search to check the weather.

Seventy-six of all Americans think voice search is great for multitasking. 59 percent of teens and 36 percent of adults use the their phone's voice search while watching TV and 22 percent of teens claim to use it "when I'm in the bathroom". 

When asked to pick one thing they wished they could ask their phones to do for them, 45 percent of American teens selected "send me a pizza." 

More pragmatic adults wished they could ask their phone to "tell me where my keys are," though "send me a pizza" was also popular among 36 percent of adults. 

Among Americans of all ages, Northeasterners are the nation's most active voice searchers, with 50 percent using it at least once per day. New Yorkers are the likeliest Americans to use voice search to ask about the weather (43 percent). The trends in different age groups contain gold for mobile marketers. 

?Depending on the age range of your target market, you should look at how people of different ages are using voice search and review your site content to make sure you?re providing valuable answers to the questions your audience is asking, in an adaptive format so the answers are easy to consume on smartphones,? Mr. Hull said. 

The study?s revelation that much of voice search is focused on core functionality of mobile devices parallels the emergence of touchscreens as a revolutionary technology. 

?It?s not surprising that so much of voice search is focused on core functionality of smart devices,? Mr. Hull said. ?Just as the touchscreen revolutionized smartphones, voice search is changing how users interact with their devices, and the point of entry for voice search is learning how to replicate typical activities on your phone by speaking to it.? 

The most important thing for marketers is to ensure they have great quality data, and that they are distributing this data to the sources that provide answers to these questions, Mr. Hull said. 

Google?s study comes as the company grapples with a challenge from retailers? struggles to streamline mobile purchasing and understand the mobile path to purchase as well as persistently lower cost-per-click rates on mobile. 

In July, interviews with search experts in response to Google?s second quarter results, revealed that a year after Google introduced Enhanced Campaigns to make it easier for marketers to buy search ads across devices, the strategy appears to be driving higher paid search spends. 

Mobile search growing 
Mobile continues to grow as a percentage of overall paid search, with smartphones accounting for 30 percent of paid search in the first half of 2014 and expected to reach 40 percent by the end of the year, according to new data from Adobe. 

Using voice search to find a midweek movie on the New Jersey Shore.

Marketers can learn from the way that voice search separates itself from the rest of the search tools by breaking the traditional starting point of search. 

?Search is no longer a destination you go to,? Mr Hull said. ?Instead, it?s an activity that?s integrated into your daily life. The traditional big three in search (in the U.S.) are Google, Bing, and Yahoo, but if you look at voice search, there?s not a one-to-one correlation. Instead you have Google Voice Search, Siri, and Cortana.? 

?Here?s an interesting experiment,? he said. ?Ask an iPhone user what search engine Siri uses. Unless you?re a power-user who has dug into the menus and customized your settings, Siri uses Bing, which most are surprised to hear.? 

Final Take
Michael Barris is staff reporter on Mobile Marketer, New York.