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How Will the Rise in Voice Search Impact Google Ads?

The rise in voice search is changing the way people use search engines to solve their problems. Voice search is becoming increasingly popular, with 51% of people admitting to using voice search in their cars, and 39% of people doing the same in their homes.

In order to stay on top and appear in the Search Engine Results Pages when people are searching via voice, it’s important for businesses and marketers to review, update and optimise their Google Ads campaigns to match the new types of search queries people will be using.

You need only think of the popularity of Amazon’s Alexa and Apple’s Siri to realise that without optimising your PPC for voice search, you’re missing out on a large percentage of a potential audience.

So, what impact is voice search likely to have on search behaviour and Google Ads?

  • Question format – many voice search queries are completed in a more conversational and question based format. As these queries are more conversational, they will often contain terms such as ‘Who’, ‘what’, ‘why’, ‘when’ and ‘how’.
  • Mobile dominance – a large proportion of search today is completed on mobile. This has enabled companies to optimise for a number of ‘near me’ searches. If people are out and about and searching on mobile, they’ll want to know where to nearest gym, pub or supermarket is to them now, and will often use voice search to find out the results to this. Voice search therefore has high worth on mobile devices, especially when it comes to local search.
  • Voice search queries are longer – it’s easier to speak a full sentence in 5 seconds than it is to type it in 20. With most voice search queries being more than 5 or 6 words long, it’s important to consider that people may be utilising more specific searches when they’re using extra keywords to pad out their queries.

Using this information, depending on your products/services and who you’re trying to target, it’s important to understand that the above variables can affect your PPC marketing campaigns.

How You Can Prepare for Voice Search

  • Launch question ad campaigns through your Google Ads account – because voice searches are likely to be more conversational and question based, it’s a good idea to set up a campaign specifically for voice search. To drive intent and make sure your ad copy is as optimised as possible for question based search, consider that ‘who’, ‘what’ and ‘why’ questions indicate interest whereas ‘when’ and ‘where’ questions indicate a readiness to buy. Ensuring your keywords work as question based keywords can be the difference between a successful or unsuccessful campaign.
  • Look at your data and see how it can be adapted for voice – learning which long tail keyword queries are driving the most people to your ad can help you decipher which longer queries might also work for voice search Ads. You could also filter your data specifically to queries beginning with ‘OK Google’ so you’re aware exactly which searches are coming from voice. From this, you can examine the likely effectiveness of your keywords when applying them to voice search.
  • Make the most of location extensions – due to the rise in mobile search and the use of voice search for local amenities within these mobile users, it is thought that many businesses will therefore benefit from better results when using location extensions for their ads. These extensions allow your business to display its address, directions and phone number directly next to the ad – having this information directly on hand is an effective way to make sure your ads are more useful for mobile searchers on the go.
  • Customise ad copy to answer questions – this goes for any ad – your text should be optimised and relevant to the keyword used in the search. When it comes to Google Voice Search though, answering the question in your ad content can increase clicks. Try to consider that the ad text must answer the specific question the user is asking, but also invite them to engage with your website.
  • Update your Google My Business listing – again more relevant to local voice searches on mobile (but still relevant), updating your GMB listing increases the chances of your business showing up for any local voice searches for your business type. Not only does this benefit your Google Ads, but it will benefit your organic search too. For more information on how to optimise your GMB listing, visit this blog post.

Voice search is a powerful tool that will continue to impact your Google Ads campaigns so long as it remains useful to users. Don’t be afraid to experiment either – as voice search is a relatively new phenomenon, don’t expect to become an expert right away, even with the advice available online.

If you prepare for this technology now, however, you’re likely to be ahead of your competition and  reap the rewards later on.

For more information on setting up a Google Ads campaign, or for help adjusting your existing campaigns, speak to one of our experts today.

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Heather Hirst
Currently undertaking a Communications degree at Bournemouth University, Heather is the Digital Marketing Intern at WNW Digital. She is part of the digital marketing team and here to gain industry experience and develop her skills in all elements of WNW’s expertise. You can contact her at

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