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James Murray Of Bing Talks the Future of Voice and Visual Search

James leads with a big statement at this years E-Commercial Conference ‘the world has gone mad he says… we are controlled by the search box’; and if you take a minute to think about it quite possibly we are. If you have a question (whether that be Chinese takeaways close to your location, or the weather forecast for this evening) where is the first place you go to try and find the answer?

The likelihood is, Bing or Google may well have been your answer, it’s certainly where I head straight for. But what about the likes of Siri or Microsoft’s equivalent Cortana taking the search box to a new level and making information even closer to our finger tips with a combination of voice and text commands.

Software that can interact and speak with you like a normal conversation with a friend, it can go off and scour the web for what it is you are in search of and it can return results within an instant. It can book flights and purchase that lipstick you’ve been searching for and it does all of this from a simple voice or text command.

Where can this technology take us?

For Bing, they want to take this a step further and empower people that maybe have a disability that traditional search functionalities just don’t work for – cue Visual Search. The idea is truly inspiring and thought provoking. The possibility for someone who is visually impaired to take a picture of what is in front of them, and the software to then be able to read what is happening in the image and relay it back to the person is really quite amazing, you could feel gasps in the room as people watched truly inspired that this could soon be a reality in the real world.

But that isn’t where the technology ends – have you ever seen a dress in an image online but there is no indication of where it may be from? This is where visual search also comes into its own – it will scan the image, assess what’s contained and upon your instruction go off and search the web for similar dresses.

So according to Bing this is where the future is heading – they say that ‘50% of searches will be voice by the year 2020’ – and the concept and results are pretty mind blowing to think about. In short ‘it’s still search, just a little bit more human’ says James.

But What Does That Mean for Your Business?

Bing now occupies 21% of search market share in the UK; yes, you read that right 21%! And with the likes of Windows 10, new partnerships being forged & technology being developed it is only set to increase so can you afford not to be putting work in on Bing too?
James says what traditional search lacks is that human element – it’s very robotic and the way we search and target searches within it are also.

James goes on to give these top tips:

1). Don’t be afraid of broad match

It can be a daunting thing opening up your keyphrases on ‘full broad’ match, especially for people like me who like to be in control. But James recognises a very important point, no-one can possibly know every search a person could make, which raises the question what are you missing if you completely cut broad match from your account – Bing suggests 50% of possible clicks.

If you are to adopt this approach though as ever, be sure to stay on top of your negatives, as with experience keywords can be taken out of context and matched to a whole array of things. However, as the algorithms are becoming more and more intelligent this level of error is decreasing.

2). Target question keyphrases

Typically, when we add in question type keyphrases we tend to shorten the term, take the example below:

‘Cheap Harry Potter book’, compared with ‘How much is Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone book?’.

Instantly the second phrase is a lot more naturally spoken, it’s more human if you like. While this way of searching is more common through voice command it’s not to be ignored in traditional search as well.

Will ads become a part of voice search in the future? Who knows.

3). Cover all bases

When we look into keywords we tend to overlook some variations of essentially the same question when adding in exact match – so the difference between ‘is’ and ‘for’ in a sentence.

Make sure you have all variations and options covered – some of these you will pick up as search terms come through as you don’t want to overload with low volume keyphrases.

To Summarise

New technology in the likes of voice and visual search are sure to be the next big thing digital marketers across the globe are talking about – and with Bing leading the race in terms of search engines developing this, could this be where Google this time must learn from Bing.

With Bing’s market share growing not only in the UK but globally, it could be time to take the leap from AdWords across to Bing Ads if you haven’t already.

If you want to make sure you secure your place at next years E-Commercial early bird tickets are on sale now – And if this year is anything to go by your not going to want to miss it.

Holly Kelly

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Holly Kelly

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