Optimizing for voice search: Q&A with Mastercard’s Guillaume Conteville

One in five searches are now made via voice with digital assistants, which are becoming an increasingly prominent feature in our homes and on mobile devices. How are brands optimizing for voice search?

In fact, there are now more than one billion voice searches per month, and this number will only rise over the coming years.

But just how big an impact is voice having on search in real terms? What are the specific strategies brands need to apply to avail of this trend?

This is another topic we’re excited to learn more about next week at the Transformation of Search Summit here in New York.

One of the experts we’ll be hearing from is Guillaume Conteville, SVP of Global Digital Marketing at Mastercard.

guillaume conteville, SVP global digital marketing at mastercard, speaker at the search summit

Guillaume will be part of the panel titled “Optimizing for position 0: Everything you need to know about Voice Search.”

1. What are your key priorities over the next twelve months?

In my role I’ll be focusing on driving change in the way we do marketing to adapt to new usage, and to leverage technology and data to their maximum potential.

The hot topics for us at the moment are CX, Voice, AR, marketing automation, and data-based customization.

2. What is your biggest challenge in achieving those?

Prioritization and execution.

There are so many potential initiatives you could start, identifying the real game-changing ones is always tricky.

Then, like always with tech-based projects, executing on your vision is always more complex than anticipated.

3. What’s your advice to others who may be facing similar challenges?

You really need to establish a broad climate of trust among all stakeholders, in order to have a real test-and-learn approach.

In adtech, it’s impossible to get it right the first time.

Success always come after a lot of optimizing and fine tuning.

4. What’s an interesting trend you’re seeing in the market right now?

It’s not search-related, but it’s fascinating to see how the changes that web browsers have made in regard to third-party cookies are having a massive impact on the whole adtech ecosystem.

The end of third-party cookie tracking will potentially be more disruptive than regulation.

5. Tell us a bit about your session at the Search Summit?

In this session, I’ll be sharing about the journey we’re going through at Mastercard to future-proof our content and ensure its discoverability in a future where people increasingly interact with machines through voice.

6. What are you looking forward to most at the Summit?

This is a unique opportunity for me to learn more about latest developments around search.

7. What’s something you do every day that helps you be more successful or productive?

It might sound cliché but, in this type of role, keeping a learning mindset is absolutely key. So every day I make sure to put some time toward talking to a lot of people and doing a lot of reading.

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Different ways voice search is affecting your brand

We live in a world where a large number of people like to engage with their favorite brands online, and business owners are understanding that now.

Today, a chunk of people find new products online and also place the orders online. However, a paradigm shift can be observed in how they approach this which is how we see more and more people searching for information on the web using voice-commands rather than textual queries.

1. Brand voice

AI has impacted lots of industries and the branding industry has not escaped its reach, nowadays we have machines that can create brands based on user inputs. However, while AI has made building a brand identity more accessible, it can also present a challenge, and one of these challenges is the rise of voice assistants.

The voice assistants we have today are finite in number. Some of the most popular options that we use are Google’s Assistance, Amazon’s Alexa, and Microsoft’s Cortona. However, as artificial intelligence technology is becoming stronger, we will have a wider range of these services to choose from. When this happens, then the voice of the virtual assistant may interfere with a brand’s personality. For instance, if someone is using a female virtual assistant to look up information about a masculine brand, then it can hurt the brand’s impact. To tackle this problem, brands must keep these potential situations in mind. So, in this very example, a brand could alter the content that the voice assistance finds in a way that it’s able to retain the brand’s tone (masculine and rough) even if it’s in a female voice.

2. Consistency

Consistency is the key to successful branding – there is no denying that. However, you need to keep that in mind when you work with voice searches as well. For instance, you want to ensure that the tone and language used in the results of voice searches are optimized and in line with the brand book. These affect the following results returned by voice commands – product descriptions, social media content, ad copy, chatbot dialog, and more.

3. Payments

Virtual assistants are mainly used to find information on the Internet. However, service providers are also looking into new ways of using these services. For instance, Google Assistant now allows Google Pay users to send and receive money using voice commands. In the same way, payments leader MasterCard is aiming to bring its Masterpass online payment platform into Google and Amazon’s voice systems. So, what does this mean for the brands? Well, for one thing, they need to think about making provisions like this, that is, making payments easier and simpler with voice commands so that they can enjoy first-mover advantages.

4. Optimized content

What’s meant to be read doesn’t always sound good when voiced. For instance, if you define “SEO” on your blog by starting with the words “SEO is one of the most-effective digital marketing techniques used by brands today”, then you may fail to arouse the interest of the user if and when they search for the content using an appropriate voice command. However, if you ignore the introduction and focus on the main content by optimizing the content, then you can let the virtual assistant read something like “SEO refers to Search Engine Optimization which combines different kinds of techniques…” which is far more effective and engaging.

As you can see, voice search isn’t only making the lives of people around the world easier, but it’s also interfering with the practices of old and new brands. Those who are adapting to the changing trends have nothing to fear. However, the rest of them who have decided to remain unchanged can face all kinds of problems in the future.

Remember – branding isn’t just for big businesses. It doesn’t matter how big or small your company is, you need to take as many branding measures as possible. Naturally, voice search must be an integral part of the plan.

This is a sponsored post from PRchitects.

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Search transformation projects: Q&A with SAP’s Siddharth Taparia

At The Transformation of Search Summit next month, we’ll be hearing from a panel on “Embarking on Search Transformation Projects.” One of those panelists will be Siddharth Taparia, SVP and Head of Strategic Transformation and Partner Marketing at SAP.

Siddharth has grown his career in marketing at various companies, including spending the past 11 years at SAP.

siddharth taparia, head of marketing transformation at SAP

For many search marketers, embarking on search transformation projects can seem daunting and unclear. Siddharth’s expertise lies in leading marketing transformation efforts, and he’ll share insights on what’s he’s learned along the way.

Tell us a bit about your role at SAP?

I serve as head of SAP Global Partner Ecosystem and SME Marketing. In this role, I oversee SAP’s entire global partner ecosystem – with nearly 20,000 partners – including companies like Google, Microsoft, Amazon Web Services and Deloitte. We also market to the invaluable small and midsize space. My team is responsible for providing excellent support and resources for existing partners and helping to grow the network with new partners.

What are your key priorities over the next twelve months?

My key priorities over the next 12 months will include supporting SAP revenue and growth aspirations through innovative partner marketing, communications, and enablement. We will continue to be laser-focused on creating great partner experiences, extending the company’s reach to more customers, and driving SAP brand value.

What is your biggest challenge in achieving those?

Our biggest challenge is to make sure that we stay focused and look at the big picture. We are a large team within a large, global company. The path to success comprises many components that must come together in a cohesive manner.

What’s your advice to others who may be facing similar challenges?

As with many areas in life, communication and collaboration is key. Everyone on the team needs to be on the same page when it comes to understanding the plan, the strategy, and the goals. More importantly, the communication has to be a two-way street. It is vital to establish a culture in which people feel comfortable asking questions and providing feedback.

What’s an interesting trend you’re seeing in the market right now?

It is interesting to see the growth of AI and how it is becoming more and more sophisticated. AI is providing unprecedented personalization, which makes for memorable customer experiences. When it comes to search specifically, AI is helping to make it easier to find the information you need faster and with more accuracy than ever before.

How do you expect it will change in the next 6-12 months?

The rate at which AI is evolving is truly astronomical. By its very nature, AI gets better with time. With more data and new algorithms over the next several months, accuracy will continue to improve and forecasting and anticipating customer needs will become even more precise.

Tell us a bit about your session at the Search Summit?

I am excited to be a part of the panel discussion, “Embarking on a Search Transformation Project.” It is crucial for companies to not only incorporate search into their overall martech strategy; they must continue to evolve their search strategy to include new search technology. Search needs to be a core part of every marketing strategy and tactics.

What are you looking forward to most at the Summit?

I enjoyed being a part of the Summit as the keynote speaker last year, and I am looking forward to sharing ideas around the fascinating topic of search. Search is such an important topic to all industries, and the Summit will provide an excellent opportunity to learn about the latest developments within this field.

What’s one of your favorite search technologies and why?

I have been following the development of voice search for quite some time now. It is my favorite search technology because it has come so far in such a short amount of time. Additionally, it’s an engaging, convenient, and fun way to obtain information!

What’s something you do every day that helps you be more successful or productive?

I am a voracious reader. Every time I take a break from a meeting or a call I try to read something new or interesting that expands my horizons. I also love to learn new things — so whenever I am in a meeting I often have a lot of questions.


Thanks Siddharth for the insights, and looking forward to learning more at the event.

Hope to see you all there!

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Optimizing for voice search in 2019: Q&A with Amine Bentahar

As we gear up for The Transformation of Search Summit at the end of October, we have another speaker Q&A. This time we’re hearing from Amine Bentahar about his upcoming session on voice search optimization.

Amine Bentahar is the Chief Digital and Operating Officer at Adantix Digital. He’s also an author and member of the Forbes Agency Council.

amine bentahar speaker interview

Amine’s session will be about “Optimizing for position 0: Everything you need to know about voice search.”

Tell us about your current work

Amine Bentahar: I’m the Chief Digital & Operating Officer at Advantix Digital. I’m in charge of operations and ensuring that we are delivering the best quality work and exceptional results for our clients.

I’m also responsible for the overall digital and marketing strategy for many of our key clients which includes publicly traded companies, companies backed by major VC and PE firms, and mid-sized companies from various industries. 

What are your key priorities over the next twelve months?

AB: Implement a voice search strategy for all of our B2C and B2B clients, and continue to leverage voice search as a channel to drive new customer acquisitions for our clients. 

What is your biggest challenge in achieving those?

AB: Most companies haven’t allocated a budget specific to just voice search, and aren’t taking the time to truly understand how their customers are either looking for information or shopping through voice.

Because of this, we are having to spend a lot of time educating companies about the importance of having a voice search strategy and budget. 

What’s your advice to others who may be facing similar challenges?

AB: Educate your teams or clients on voice search and how it’s changing the way customers are shopping or looking for information. 

What’s an interesting trend you’re seeing in the market right now?

AB: The integration of voice search technology in cars, TVs, appliances and other devices. 

How do you expect it will change in the next 6-12 months?

AB: With all the money being invested in R&D by the big players (Amazon, Google, Apple and Microsoft), I would expect to see this trend to continue growing, and for voice search technology to be available on even more devices. 

Tell us a bit about your session at the Search Summit?

AB: My session will be about optimizing for voice search and more specifically about the steps companies must take to rank for position 0. We will help attendees understand how voice search works and how to develop organic content to be “read” by Alexa or Google Home. 

What are you looking forward to most at the Summit?

AB: I’m looking forward to meeting other thought leaders and marketers and learning from their experiences about things that are disrupting the search world. 

What’s one of your favorite search technologies and why?

AB: Voice search as I find it somewhat amazing especially when you see the fast adoption rate of the technology and how it’s impacting the way customers are now searching. 

What’s something you do every day that helps you be more successful or productive?

AB: I do my best to exercise everyday and also I take at least 30 minutes of my day to read either about marketing or management. 

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Luxury marketing search strategy, Part 3: Integrated marketing communication

In the first two articles of my luxury search marketing series, we discussed the consumer mindset, what motivates and drives shoppers to purchase, and then the strategies and tactics that can be used to reach those shoppers and maximize results.

Now, I’m going to tie everything together. In the third and final article of the series, we’ll discuss the importance of an integrated marketing communication (IMC) campaign in the luxury goods industry and why it’s a must if you want to survive in today’s ultra-competitive and highly fragmented search landscape.

What is integrated marketing and why do luxury brands need it?

Today’s consumers are bombarded with messaging from many different marketing channels. Integrated Marketing cuts through the clutter by delivering a unified and seamless brand experience for consumers across channels. Integrated Marketing delivers a seamless experience with one clear message that is relevant to consumers no matter what channel they are using.

In the second article of my series, we discussed how the luxury consumer craves an experience. Luxury shoppers search online to find the luxury items they want, discover new experiences, and to engage with their favorite brands wherever, and to make their purchase whenever they want1. Therefore, creating seamless experiences along the customer journey is especially critical for luxury brands.

Understanding the consumer decision journey is crucial

The consumer journey is no longer a linear path-to-purchase. It has evolved into a complicated and dynamic process during which consumers interact with many different touchpoints along the way. Reaching consumers at the moments that most influence their decisions should be our goal as marketers. McKinsey’s Consumer Decision Journey applies touchpoints for these different opportunities to influence consumers.

The consumer decision journey is a circular decision-making process with four phases:

  1. Initial consideration
  2. Active evaluation – information gathering, shopping
  3. Closure – the moment of purchase
  4. Post-purchase – ongoing exposure to the brand

For search marketers to leverage the consumer decision journey, you need to find ways to get your brand into the consumer’s initial consideration set. We can do this through SEO and integration with other marketing channels.

Integrated marketing and SEO

Search marketers strive to maximize brands’ and companies’ visibility through top search engine rankings. This visibility is key to making it into the consumer’s initial consideration set. I’ll share some integrated marketing strategies that will help improve your SEO and overall business results.

1. Integrate organic and paid search marketing

Numerous studies2 have illustrated how SEO impacts the number of clicks that paid ads receive. Google has shown that when a site has strong organic results, the site is likely to see an increase their click-through-rate for paid search ads on the same search results page. Other studies have shown that the reverse is true – paid search can improve the results of organic search campaigns.

Putting it into practice

Align organic and paid messaging: You want unified messaging, not conflicting messaging. All messaging should be aligned and customer-centric. One way to achieve this is to include top-performing paid ad copy into your organic meta descriptions. For example, one of my paid search counterparts at our agency identified that the term “award-winning” performed the best in their ad copy. We have incorporated it into our meta descriptions to improve organic click-through-rates and to present a unified message to the searcher. This maximizes SEO performance while delivering a seamless experience for the luxury customer.

Improve pages with low-quality scores: Identify the pages where you have a low-quality score and work to increase it. Higher costs-per-click can be reduced by improving landing page experiences and page load times. Identify paid keywords that need organic support. Improving organic content for these keywords can help to drive your paid search campaigns and improve your campaign’s efficiency.

2. Capitalize on events

Leveraging event marketing3 is another way to reach potential customers and build brand awareness. You can leverage specific event types based on your industry to build brand awareness, and as an additional benefit, drive direct and referral traffic. Recurring seasonal events, fashion shows, and international fairs are likely to have strong search volume. These types of events present a great opportunity to increase your brand’s visibility during key moments throughout the year among a highly engaged audience.

The luxury watch brand, TUDOR, created a dedicated page on its website for Baselworld, an international watch and jewelry industry event. This dedicated page is optimized for “New TUDOR Watches – Baselworld 2017” and the content speaks to the new models of watches that would be debuted at the show. This type of page offers another avenue to generate organic visibility and traffic to the website.

Putting it into practice

Create a dedicated event page: You can create a page on your website that’s dedicated to a specific event type. For example, brand.com/eventtype-2019. This page can be used for PR and shared on social networks to help build search authority and brand awareness. Make sure that the brand message you share is consistent across all customer touchpoints.

3. Utilize visual social networks

Don’t limit your SEO to just Google. Visual and social networks4 like Pinterest, Instagram, and YouTube present a significant opportunity for brands to generate awareness and visibility. Pictures and videos are powerful mediums capable of evoking the aspirational emotions associated with luxury purchases. Don’t forget, one of the primary reasons people buy luxury goods is to display status. Brands should be taking advantage of this by publishing content that helps luxury consumers fill this need.

CHANEL frequently creates this type of content. The “Inside CHANEL” campaign is a great example of how you can leverage images and videos. “Inside CHANEL” gives people an exclusive look into the brand’s history and it does this by sharing the brand’s story through pictures and videos. In addition to the “Inside CHANEL” website, the campaign’s videos are hosted on YouTube making it easy to share them among your social networks.

Putting it into practice

Create visual, aspirational content for social networks: Think about the type of content that people will want to share to impress their friends and peers. When creating this content like pictures or videos remember that it should evoke the types of emotions that make people want to share it.

Content creation tips

  • Define your target audience and ensure that they are searching on the channel where you want to publish your content – Are they females and/or making the buying decisions? If so, Pinterest can be a good fit.
  • Ensure this content has an exclusivity aspect to it. Ensure that people feel like they have access to something special. It should be original and unique.
  • Make the content easily sharable across your social networks. The last thing you’ll want is to have a great piece of content that’s difficult for people to share.
  • Ensure that the messaging is seamless across channels. Remember, the hallmark of an integrated marketing campaign is messaging that is consistent across channels.
  • Ensure your content is optimized using descriptive image alt text. Make sure you are using the right image format and file size that is optimal for the channel. Each social channel has different tips to maximize visibility within their platform. Make sure you consult their guidelines.

Recap

We’ve covered a lot of ground in this luxury marketing search strategy series. To wrap things up, let’s summarize some of the key points for successful SEO and search marketing in the luxury industry.

The first article discussed the reasons why we buy luxury goods—because of how they make us feel and because we crave an experience along with the exclusivity. Let’s not forget about the role of dopamine in the process, which is where the anticipation of the reward comes in.

The second article covered the SEO importance of creating emotionally fulfilling content and keyword intent research. We also discussed why you need to invest in your meta description to make it more enticing. It’s important to win the click and entice consumers to learn more about your brand, and ultimately, convert.

Finally, the third article covered the role of integrated marketing for luxury brands and the benefits of a consistent brand theme/message across all customer touchpoints. Aligning your paid and organic search efforts, capitalizing on events, and creating visual, aspirational content that can be shared across social networks is a must.

Final thoughts

As marketers, our goal should be to support the organization’s vision, mission, and values, and work hard to improve the company’s bottom line, regardless of the channel. It’s a collaborative effort between multiple marketing channels. It’s all too easy to default to a siloed approach, so we constantly push ourselves to think outside the box and develop inventive solutions for the challenges facing our customers. That’s where our real value as SEOs will shine through.

References

  1. The Meaning of Search Engine Optimization for Luxury, LuxeDigital – https://luxe.digital/digital-luxury-speakeasy/search-engine-optimisation-seo/
  2. How Organic SEO and PPC Impact Each Other, Brightedge –https://www.brightedge.com/content/how-organic-seo-and-ppc-impact-each-other
  3. Why Luxury Brands Should Capitalise on Events, Luxury Society – https://www.luxurysociety.com/en/articles/2018/03/seo-strategy-why-should-luxury-brands-capitalize-events/
  4. 10 Marketing Strategies for Luxury Brands that Deliver Results, VentureHarbour – https://www.ventureharbour.com/luxury-brand-digital-marketing/

Jennifer Kenyon is a Director of Organic Search at Catalyst (part of GroupM). She can be found on Twitter @JennKCatalyst

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