Conversational AI and the Adoption of Chatbots are Disrupting Search
Amid the entire buzz about voice search comes along another digital marketplace disruptor: Digital Assistants.
Indeed, voice search is disrupting the world of text-based searches, but it is only part of the larger shift on how businesses need to think about communications with current clients and new consumers who have the potential of becoming a client. Conversational AI represents an easy way to get immediate answers and is shifting consumer behavior; voice search is a key player in the bigger picture of getting solutions fast but is only one part of it.
The AI-based technology of natural language processing that enables voice search is pretty astounding, but in truth, Google doesn’t understand natural language processing yet. The race is on with many participants who are trying to. Answer engine optimization (AEO) is a means in which SEO’s are engaging with search engines to get their answer matched to a searcher’s query. Search engine marketers can take advantage of AEO and conversational AI can help your business transition into the realm that fits trends in how users gain information.
What is Conversational AI in eCommerce?
Conversational commerce is e-commerce conducted through various means of conversation. They may take the form of a live chat on e-commerce sites, a live conversation on messaging apps, through chatbots directly on websites, or via voice assistants.
Conversational AI for a voice-activated search has unique characteristics from text-based search. Considering that the top 80 percent of questions that are text-based searches usually consist of one to three words while voice searches typically range from four to six words. That conversational length provided more clues needed to understand the context of the search.
Voice assistance is using your voice to engage with some sort of intelligent technology — like a digital assistant, a chatbot, or potentially even a voice skill — to ask a question and find an answer or to control other technologies and the IoT.
Your Google Assistant is one of many assistants that engage directly with people. You can leverage your knowledge graph and Google Answer Box as well as additional knowledge repositories to provide the best response and a quick answer. Search is the intelligence platform powering these intelligent agents.
Consider the difference between voice search and conversational AI (the voice assistance aspect), the key thing to recognize is that searches are continuously happening in real time. Much of search hasn’t changed; what is disrupting the marketplace is the people are shifting how they prefer to initiate a search query. They want retail experiences that offer the luxury of immediate consultative interactions using the ease of chatbots. Assistive technologies are still in the emergent phase, so it is best to have a fluid mindset as you incorporate them into your marketing plans.
Conversational Interfaces have Disrupted the Manner in Which People Search
Study your Google Analytics to determine where your search results are coming from, and how that response is generated. no longer can digital marketers rely on our familiar ways of developing programs and marketing plans as if touch and screens are still the primary user interfaces between purchasers and devices. Analyzing your user data will reveal the insights you need to make even more memorable experiences for customers.
The age of digital touch as the primary user interface between consumers, their choice of device, and you, is vanishing. By embracing the age of conversational interfaces that are activated by people’s voice and gestures, your business can grow its engagement level where buying decisions happen.
We’ve already embarked on the age of conversational interfaces powered by voice, and sometimes even human gestures. Where an AR/VR technology element exists, a screen isn’t even needed. While such devices may include more screens in the future, their function largely involves listening and then returning a spoken response. Some may feel overwhelmed with this next change, but digital marketers have a real opportunity right here to make the transition and win better user engagement.
This article will help you understand the language of your customers and empower you to provide value in the words and phrases that they recognize.
How to use Digital Assistants that Engage with User's Voice
From augmented reality (AR) and virtual reality to bots, your brand has more engaging ways to connect with your consumers than ever before.
1. Understand how Individuals are using Conversational AI
Businesses need to know how their clientele is interacting with digital assistants.
Most people have become as comfortable talking to Alexa, Siri, Google, or Cortana as they are another person. So if this is where business conversations are, your company will do better to take a leap and adapt rather than stagnate and be left out of the question and answer conversations that happen every day prior to a sale. You may argue that it is too impersonal, but the chatbot use is a fact is heavily influencing the marketing sphere.
Those who wait another year to embrace voice and AI search will face the implications — and miss the opportunities presented when we recognize that buyers are in control of how they want to make purchasing decisions.
This reflects that people who engage with a digital assistant do so as if they are in a human conversation. They’re naturally speaking their questions and do so in a manner that is closer to full sentences. The searcher’s intent is typically clearer as more words are used when asking questions.
The connected vehicle ecosystem is a leading example of today’s evolution of existing business models as the automotive industry adapts conversational technology. The ability to analyze data and make communications on-the-go easier and safer is leading to new services that improve lives and make searches from mobile devices more efficient.
Google has become more prescriptive in the information that it provides.
2. Understand the Consumer’s Need that Prompts the Conversation
Discover The Voice of Your Consumer and offer people what they want to know.
Knowing that the very reason that Chatbots exist is to answer questions that your customers are now asking is reason enough to pause and listen to the conversations. It is the new consumer-centric response to searchers’ preferences. It is a huge opportunity to identify your top customer needs and the way that they naturally talk when trying to learn about you and your products.
This avoids some of the “marketers speak” or marketing terms that we have used. It forces digital marketers to get out off their niche languages and get inside the mind of consumers. The outcome is more value back to the average person using search. We all respond faster to messaging that we immediately relate to. A follow, a share, and a purchase all involve the aspect of human emotion. Using the voice of the consumer is both our responsibility and success; after all, the Internet is really a means to building real relationships.
Let’s take a quick look at A9. A9.com is a subsidiary of Amazon that develops a search engine and cutting-edge search advertising technology to help people find information and make a purchase. Are start-up marketers differentiating their offering enough? Formerly, a “tongue in cheek” approach to making statements online could get your content mixed up with another meaning. Today, Artificial Intelligence does a better job of deciphering the tone of the searcher or the context of the question asked. It is all about being a good listener and providing a more natural response that will meet the user’s need.
3. Engage in Meaningful Conversations with AI
Respond in a manner that matches the user’s need. If the intent behind the search was to gather information, then the conversation may lead to an in-depth article. Think of the times that human need propels a good sit down session and lengthy conversation.
In contrast, if someone is asking for the nearest medical emergency center, they need only one answer and they need it fast. Google has a lot more information than we know; make sure that you have a piece of content that fits the user’s intent. This is the way to create meaningful conversations online. As marketers, we tend to put more into what we can see or show for our efforts. Conversational AI is effect at engaging with a new connection, from there, the responsibility lies with the marketer to move the newly introduced connection into a meaningful relationship.
As of late, chatbots, or “bots” for short, have advanced into exceptionally intelligent computer programs that your business can use with core tasks ranging from your marketing efforts, human resource responses, to boosting sales communications.
These technology assistants are here to stay as they’ve already earned their mark in the business world. Users don’t need to fully understand their capabilities; they simple like the end result when they have a response that they are satisfied with. It’s on the end of business owners and digital marketing experts to understand their limitations, functionalities, and keep up with evolutions.
4. Leverage AI to Help Users on the Path to Purchase
The marketing easy button is over. Show that you care to gain an actionable audience.
Know what entities that you need to mention that demonstrate that you know your topic and are an expert on it. Add the right content to meet user’s needs at the right stage of the user’s path to purchase. Let the users keep their voice throughout their journey to purchase; they should feel in charge. It’s about embarking on a long-term relationship. Users may start with the software, but they want to know you as a person. Establish trust at every touch point.
Everyday, there is a huge investment in humanizing Healthcare searches with the use of Artificial Intelligence assisting medical queries. It is one of the largest and fastest growing telemedicine services nationwide, as there is a lot of data available from trusted sources, like the Mayo Clinic. Mayo is a great example of a business that is present, and relational along the path to purchase.
Determine how to connect in a meaningful way that is compelling and, but most importantly, adds value to the person. With conversational AI, it is worth the extra hours it takes to create an emotional connection through more high-value conversations with our customers to build relationships. Brands can differentiate themselves by adding emotional intelligence to IQ through these AI conversations. This will give you better mobile click-through rates and conversions.
The user experience (UX) when engaging your bot is your litmus test. People get frustrated if its answers are off the mark or it speaks in a confusing manner. Your success depends on if they don’t even recognize the bot is behind the conversation. Making it natural as if two human beings are conversing is hard. Conversational UX involves skilled UX designers who align with SEO’s who map the route for a flowing a conversation. It encompasses implementing helpful cues to let the user feel comfortable with the stage they’re at in the conversation.
This is a way to back to the basics where we can understand more about the user intent because consumers are giving us more personal information. They are telling us what is important to them. We may just need to listen better.
5. Create an Ongoing Immersive Experience
Be present. It remains important to get mentioned in reliable sources and show up in the right places. Search engines rely on the strength of site placement by domain trust and brand recognition. Weigh your business’s true impact. Protect it. Request edits if your Google Knowledge Graph’s content is inaccurate. Googlers take a manual look at the information someone provides when correcting information in its knowledge graph.
We have moved from marketing that we are familiar with to marketing that is outside the walls of our experience. The customers are THE MARKETER.
I find it helpful to stop and ask my marketing team to put themselves in the shoes of an in-store customer. Would the conversations we have online compel you to make a sale? Engaging a new potential customer online is one the initial step to getting the customer in-store or to make a purchase decision.
You can drive memorable user experiences that encourage people to come back for fresh content. Since AR is now on most smartphones, it is exciting to discover the vast array of new possibilities for brands to connect better. As always, exceptional content is useful and intuitive, making it easy to consume.
6. Use Voice Technology to gain Position Zero and Manage Your Graph
Almost every query produces hundreds of options a person can choose. That is not so with voice. When people utilize voice search using a digital assistant, roughly 40 percent of the spoken responses today come from a “featured snippet” within the search results. That what has become known as position zero. If your business can hold that featured snippet slot in a mobile organic search, that’s what a search assistant is going to default to as the one spoken response. Siri, Google, Cortana, and Alexa are not including the other ten links listed below that are presented as an option on that search page. Just one is offered.
This makes position zero a highly coveted spot. If your page comes up listed second in text-based searches, that works when someone types in their search query. Be aware that conversational search may mean less direct website traffic; for instance, if the person is using an intelligent agent and then listens to their spoken response, they may take immediate action. By embracing conversational AI, the opportunities are significant to align your business with consumer behavioral patterns and become the owner of that position zero.
Schema markup and structured data within your website have become best practices of organic search and basic SEO. They work to help provide search engines with content and context signals that are used for inclusion in the knowledge graph. Currently, they seem to contribute to improved chances of showing up in position zero.
This does not replace having a solid traditional search strategy. It should be implemented on top of all the optimization basics. This gives your business a better chance of winning the search and more relevant traffic to your corresponding web pages. Speakable markup is still in beta but already being successfully used.
According to Google, “The Google Assistant uses speakable structured data to answer topical news queries on smart speaker devices. When users ask for news about a specific topic, the Google Assistant returns up to three articles from around the web and supports audio playback using TTS for sections in the article with speakable structured data. When the Google Assistant reads aloud a speakable section, it attributes the source and sends the full article URL to the user’s mobile device through the Google Assistant app.”
7. Take User Engagement to a Higher Level with AI-powered Chatbots
While traditional consumer interactions often occur on brand sites to assist customer service conversations, today chatbots are doing much more than just customer service. They have one job – assisting the user. That may be pointing them to a how-to answer, make a dinner reservation, order a plane ticket, or learn of popular activities nearby.
Give yourself the time to incorporate and positioned a chatbot correctly. Hill Web Marketing doesn’t see an imminent worry that they will replace human interactions but they can aid and enhance your relationships. They should never by pushing transactional actions, but be poised to be helpful and genuine. Gain the benefits of ongoing analysis to constantly optimize these conversations based on how customers are responding.
Leverage machine learning to do more than just gain interactions; the real goal is to drive more impactful site visitor experiences. Use your chatbot to provide better solutions to commonly asked questions. Recognize that this is an emerging technology, but expect it to become Status Quo in the future.
Align your marketing teams with IT and have the decision-makers communicate often so that a roadmap for success in embraced by everyone. Chatbots hold the promise of a profitable future.
8. Take “The Customer is Always Right” Approach
A new study shows 90% of top-performing B2B content marketers put their audience’s preferences ahead of their company’s onward march for higher revenue streams. The Content Marketing Institute (CMI) seeks to accurately predict U.S. content marketing trends.
According to their latest study of B2B participants, putting audience needs first was unfamiliar to most of us just 10 years ago. Now it’s accepted among the most influential content marketing managers. In the 2018 study, CMI had over 1,000 participants who are avid and established content marketers. These proven results suggest that even if you feel like balking at the idea of chatbots, it will be better to be an early adopter than to dig in your heals.
Companies that seek to be present where most prospective buyers are will align with messaging applications that are consumer’s favored means of communication. Phone calls, text messages, and emails are giving way to messaging apps.
If your target audience is here, than focus your marketing efforts on these areas in the digital space where your audiences hang around. Today, that is inside messaging apps even more than on social media.
So what does this mean for your business?
A few tasks that your Chabot can handle:
- Answer people’s questions with the right information.
- Draft and send business messages in various languages.
- Craft personalized offers created to appeal the shoppers based on their purchasing history.
- Assist in the research and booking of travel, hotel accommodations, business appointments, etc.
- Schedule, invite, and edit meeting times.
- Make a purchase.
- Use real time to inform specific agents of updates.
- Align with home appliances and business property security notices.
- Create and send emails, texts, and make phone calls.
- Responses when your business is closed.
- Provide account details and log concerns.
- Rectify many consumer complaints.
- Use as an internal communication channel for employees.
- Transform data into something of value.
- Automate a number of your daily business processes.
Voice Technology is Revolutionizing the Customer Experience
Conversational experiences are an area of big business. It has altered and enhanced the way consumers conduct transactions and interact with the brands that they love. Chatbots have become core to assisted decision-making and enhanced voice experiences.
Voice-controlled technology is not a device war — it’s the race to create the best consumer experience, and that experience already includes voice-activated conversations.
Recent news of conversational AI purchases and mergers:
- LivePerson acquires Conversable, a conversational AI company – October 2018
- Tech Mahindra and Avaamo to partner for conversational AI solutions – September 2018
- Microsoft acquires conversational AI startup Semantic Machines – May 2018
- Facebook buys Ozlo to boost its conversational AI efforts – July 2017
- Cisco acquires conversational AI startup MIndMeld for $125 Million – May 2017
These purchases represent players who what to compete with conversational computing initiatives from Google’s Assistant, Amazon’s Alexa Skills Kit, Amazon’s Echo Dot, Apple’s Siri, Samsung’s Bixby, and the like.
Look for the names of widely recognized experts in the conversational AI arena; you’ll find Larry Gillick, the former chief scientist for Siri at Apple, and other researchers with national acclaim like UC Berkeley professor Dan Klein and Stanford University professor Percy Liang. They are leaders in successful experiments with new channels and platforms.
The basic reason behind all this voice development is that consumers do not want to download one more app or navigate to a website to place an order. They want to type, tap, or voice order fast and get what they want from a messaging service they already trust. Digital assistants do the tasks of social listening and have outbound marketing capabilities that enhance conversational commerce.
So where is the headed?
AI-based Future Traffic Predictions for Mobile Computing
Mobile computing and smart home devices that leverage conversational AI are disrupting the digital marketing space.
Built in combination with call center agents, conversational AI and predictive analytics are attracting more mobile device users. Smart home speaker systems are hitting mainstream adoption. Being fluid in your approach to content creation can help your business better understand trends, growth, challenges, and what approaches to search engine marketing that is best to adapt for 2019 and beyond. Then you can join other businesses that are successfully using Artificial-Intelligence to find, convert and monetize valuable clients.
Research and optimize your content to make sure that your answers are correct, sourced, and detailed so that your business is trusted. Test how it presents on a visual device, within the Google Maps platform, and test your audio-based answers with speakable markup. Because they can detect tone and inflection, by adding the use of an AI-based platform it is possible to connect with people to generate leads, kindness and empathy.
AI will be embedded in chatbots, VCAs, Conversational UI & IoT
Advancing technology trends indicate how artificial assistance is helping customer service frontrunners deliver continuous consumer experiences. It is reshaping how Digital Marketers are reaching consumers at different stages in their buying journey.
Today it is already a common pattern to measure how customers engaging with multiple channels concurrently. The buyer’s trend is for a video-based customer support agent to additionally allocate the user interface for a chatbot to respond as a type of customer support service while communicating with the customer.
“By 2021, 15% of all customer service interactions will be completely handled by AI, an increase of 400% from 2017”, according to Jordan Bryan in her Jordan Bryan article,
4 Trends in Gartner Hype Cycle for Customer Service and Customer Engagement.
Customers are expecting more from virtual customer assistants (VCAs) and chatbots. While simultaneously many organizations doubt if these technologies are taking hold at a pace that to has a significant impact. Gartner expects the underlying technology and methodologies behind bot and VCA development will progress swiftly over the next few years, as will individual’s expectations and use cases. “AI will be embedded in chatbots, VCAs, conversational UI and the IoT. This will drive deeper use of self-service’, believes Jordan.
Voice-activated Speaker Owners like the Ease of Chatbots
According to Think with Google, “72% of people who own a voice-activated speaker say that their devices are often used as part of their daily routines.” In her Jan 5, 2018 article 5 ways voice assistance is shaping consumer behavior, Sara Kleinberg explores how this emerging voice technology is reshaping consumer behavior when searhing for answers and purchase patterns.
Immersive Digitally Enhanced and Connected Environments
Business that wish to create an immersive digitally enhanced and connected environment, should embrace modern search. The Holy Grail is about natural language processing and whoever masters it first will steal a huge lead. If your site proves up with a strong knowledge-based trust factor versus hypothetic statements, (or even worse, is assessed as a gossip site), search engines will definitely favor your content.
Also, seek to build the number of citations your business has and make a strong effort to request positive client reviews that can be marked up for high visibility. If someone has never heard of your business before a chatbot or smart home device connects you, this will be valuable confirmation that your brand stands out and is trusted by others.
Success in search remains a team effort.
Conversational advances impact every facet of marketing. Everyone on the team should be advancing far from thinking that SEO is just about keywords and links. Google’s algorithm gathers signals you’re your brand’s entire ecosystem – on site and off site, so influencing your search presence requires full integration.
“Chatbots have seen a rise in popularity over the last few years, with the cost of implementing the technology going down and the curiosity around AI taking off.” – Jade Perry on Econsultancy
“Conversational AI is responsible for the logic behind the bots you build. It’s the brain and soul of the chatbot. It’s what helps the bot bring your users to a specific goal. Without conversational AI, your bot is just a bunch of questions and answers.” – Biance Nieves on botsociety
Google and other leading search engines use a weighted formula bias system to determine what results they serve up. Remember that each search is unique and the results will be unique to what Search Bots know about that user. Today including chatbots is now a part of effective SEO. While they make mistakes, we do too. Weight the benefit of being interconnected with your audiences 24 hours a day, seven days a week, and the load that takes off your staff. As we are at the beginning of this search trend, expect to see new opportunities for the e-commerce world open up.
Knowledge graphs have come a long way to provide immediate information but still have a long way to expand and be more useful. They also include messaging within your Google Posts. If you want your business more prepared for Voice Search and able to nab Position Zero in search results, we can help.
Jeannie Hill, owner of Hill Web Marketing loves geeking out about search and digital marketing. Most of all, we love helping others be more successful online.