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Are finance brands ready for voice search?

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5 years ago

5 years ago

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Voice search continues to explode, changing the content landscape and with it the way brands interact with their customers. Stats from Google suggest more than half of those who own a voice-activated speaker feel perfectly natural speaking to it. The divide between human and AI grows ever thinner as we continue to embrace this evolving technology, but should finance brands also be jumping on the bandwagon?

Not all industries are voice-search equal

There are a host of popular voice-search stats quoted in market today. From Comscore’s (possibly misquoted) infamous prediction that 50% of all searches will be voice by 2020 to Gartner’s prediction that 30% of searches will be without a screen in that same year. But how do these stats affect the financial industry? Voice search is a natural progression for fact-finding, weather reports, music selection and even its gradual entry into the retail space. Reports suggest retail has seen slow growth in voice; with only 2% of Amazon Echo owners actually using voice search to make a purchase in 2018, and 90% of those not repeating the process.

Finance is an even tougher voice market to crack. A study undertaken by Answerlab found privacy and security concerns will make it tough for the financial industry to fully embrace voice technology. Of the smart speaker owners who were surveyed:

  • Less than 30% were interested in applying for a credit card
  • Less than 40% were interested in checking their credit score
  • Less than 40% were interested in getting financial advice

South Park trolled Amazon Alexa owners in this week’s episode pic.X.com/7UWe8CBnUH

— Tom Warren (@tomwarren) September 16, 2017

Privacy and security concerns will make it tough for the financial industry to fully embrace voice technology.

The industry also had the highest negative scores, including 29% of respondents replying they were not at all interested in getting financial advice from voice-enabled interactions. The main reason for this lack of interest was generally related to security concerns, both due to potential hacking as well as the open location of most voice assistants in the home.

Can finance brands benefit from the growth in voice search?

With sales of smart speakers tripling in 2017, voice search is not going away anytime soon so the financial industry should continue to monitor opportunities. Building customer confidence by providing non-sensitive information or notifications through voice search is a simple step in the right direction. Maintain best practice, be aware of the trend towards natural language and simple questions in voice – now is the time set the right foundations for future voice search potential.

It’s also important for financial brands to stay on top of emerging technology. Keeping voice in mind when building new functionality will stand you in good stead. Consumers are clearly embracing voice and it’s likely only a matter of time until security catches up and it will play a greater part of the financial marketing mix.

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