The market for voice-based digital assistants is more competitive than ever as consumers continue to rely more on devices like Google Home and Amazon Alexa. Amazon has remained a comforting constant, during the rapid evolution of user experience, for those aiming to stay ahead of the marketing curve.
Alexa-enabled devices reached over 20-million sales by the conclusion of 2017 while controlling between 70% and 76% of the total market share — reinforcing their dominance as an industry leader.
Consumers are beginning to recognize the increased conveniences of these devices, resulting in brands having to learn to navigate more complex e-commerce strategies. Brands must have a stronger understanding of how the devices process information and interact with the end-user to optimize product pages for voice shopping.
Content26 previously tested a handful of pet, home, and consumer electronics products on both the Echo Show and Echo Dot to better understand these complexities. Following an in-depth review, it was determined that products with short, concise titles and bullets had the best results on both devices. While the Echo Show could utilize its 7-inch screen to show products to Alexa shoppers, the Dot was left to communicate only with audio.
Restructuring titles and bullets for voice
Voice-based digital assistants, such as Alexa, are redefining how users search for a product and in some instances, have removed the process completely. Customers can request that their device order a specific item while relying on its ability to consider previous orders, top-sellers, and individual ratings to return a calculated response. Although the convenience is undeniable, brands are forced to lean heavily on the structuring of product titles and bullets.
When describing an item, Alexa will sometimes rewrite titles by electing to share only key details as they strive to create a more natural user experience. It’s important to remember that keyword stuffing product titles won’t win any Alexa readability points. Take a look at the two examples in the video below.
Through our internal testing, we were able to determine that the average length of the Alexa-authored titles is 50 words, resulting in a customer interaction potentially lasting a mere five seconds. Although shorter titles are proving more effective, brands shouldn’t rely on keyword stuffing to get an SEO boost. It’s the contact itself that leads to long-term success. A happy shopping experience is your most effective SEO tool.
Although they have similar best practices with product titles (in that shorter is better and avoiding numbers and special characters can improve the overall experience) bullets require extra care if they are to be used productively.
Word structure is vital to creating a natural experience and during our tests we determined that bullet points which start with a subject or a verb are far easier to understand than those that begin with adjectives or descriptors. Additionally, conversational tones can feel more natural to the shopper, depending on the product.
The future of Alexa and advertising
The future of Alexa-connected devices appears bright as the Echo Dot, was again named best seller among digital assistants.
The company has also announced a partnership with Lennar home builders to develop the first fully Alexa-integrated smart house. This fully immersive hands-free experience extends the possibilities of brand exposure and, as Alexa is further integrated into everyday items, opens up new opportunities for targeted advertising.
As the opportunities for brand exposure increase, so do the challenges of product competition. The race for a top spot in the search results doesn’t stop when switching to an audio device, so we dug into what it takes to get to the top of Alexa product searches.
When asked to search for a product, Alexa will progress through three steps until an accepted item is found.
- Find products that the shopper has purchased before.
- Search products that have the “Amazon’s Choice” designation.
- Filter through products that rank first in organic searches.
For 20 everyday products that we asked Alexa, all but four featured the “Amazon Choice” designation. Unfortunately, they have yet to disclose how products are selected and have only stated that they are “highly-rated, well-priced products with Prime shipping.”
As we continue to learn more about integration within the Alexa environment, brands can start optimizing for voice shopping now to stay ahead of the competition on Amazon’s crowded digital shelf.