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Reliance on Voice Assistants Heralds a Hands-Free Future

Trend Report 2023: Reliance on voice search heralds a hands-free future

The following is an extract from The Bank’s Trend Report 2023, our deep dive into the events and innovations that are set to shape and characterise online advertising and digital marketing over the next 12 months.

To access the full report, along with our directory of essential tools for 2023, click here.

Part VIII: Hey, Siri…

Every month in 2022, an estimated 123.5 million adults in the US will use a voice assistant to issue a search query, make a purchase, or request a piece of media. Estimates suggest that by 2025, almost half the population (48%) will rely on voice assistance technology to navigate and improve their online experiences.

In terms of user behaviour, PwC found—perhaps unsurprisingly—a vast majority of queries (89%) are for something the user would normally type into a search engine. And, as connected wearable devices continue to grow in popularity (sales of such devices have doubled in the last three years), queries of this kind are likely to keep increasing. Wearables are particularly well-suited to voice search, and their increasing ubiquity should contribute to an increase in the total number of searches issued via speech.

Interestingly for advertisers, voice assistant usage is spread surprisingly evenly across ages and demographics, particularly when it comes to online shopping and product research. A study by Coupon Follow found that 47% of shoppers who frequently made purchases online had recently done so via a voice assistant—this includes 51% of millennial consumers, 45% of Generation Xers, and 34% of baby boomers.


Voice-Friendly Ad Channels

The growing adoption of voice search signifies an irreversible trend towards a hands-free future. For advertisers, this means evaluating which apps and customer-facing platforms are most likely to be used by hands-free consumers, and which of those apps offer the best opportunities for the delivery of branded messages. 

In real terms, this means looking at workout apps, music streaming apps, and—perhaps most significantly—smart home apps. Revenue in the smart home market is projected to hit £99.84 billion by the end of 2022; by 2026, this figure is expected to reach £168.44 billion. Advertisers who seize this emerging opportunity are likely to realise huge gains in the years to come. 

User Intent

Many advertisers rely on written keywords and phrases for targeting their digital ad campaigns, and with contextual advertising experiencing a renaissance in popularity, that approach is likely to become even more crucial. However, those advertisers whose campaigns are optimised for the idiosyncrasies of voice queries will have a distinct advantage, particularly when it comes to paid search and PPC.

The way we frame a search via speech is very different to that via a keyboard. For instance, most of us would enter “weather London” into Google, confident the engine will cope with the truncated formating. We don’t have the same faith in the Siris and Alexas of the world, which is why we frequently use fuller sentences, such as “what is the current weather in London?” Strategists need to explore these natural, long-tail keyphrases for potential low-CPC opportunities.


Spotify Advertising

Spotify has some 200 million freemium (ad-served) users of its music platform, all of whom contribute to a huge first-party database of musical tastes, interests, and consumer preferences. The platform has comprehensively adopted voice search technology, releasing its own Hey Spotify feature in 2021.

In terms of real-world targeting, Spotify allows you to choose from a range of contextual settings, including platforms, genres, and real-time contexts. With Spotify’s user base accessing its app within a wide range of local and social settings, this provides astute retail marketers with lucrative opportunities for targeting physical audiences with a digital strategy. 


AdvertiseCast offers an industry-leading platform for the purchase and management of podcast ads. Supplying access to over 3,000 podcasts and over 170 million monthly listeners, it is the perfect tool for advertisers that want to take advantage of the burgeoning hands-free trend.

AdvertiseCast has advanced options for targeting, and sells a variety of ad units, including dynamic ads, and host-read ads. You can also target by device, making it easier than ever to reach consumers that are increasingly interacting with their devices on a hands-free basis.


Ahrefs is an astonishingly powerful SEO toolset, with a range of solutions to help site owners boost organic traffic and monitor the rank of their competitors. Significantly in the context of voice search, it also has industry-leading tools for keyword research and analysis, with full support for both short- and long-tail keyphrases.

When it comes to optimising your ad campaign keywords for voice search, it is these long-tail conversational keyphrases that can offer valuable insights. By identifying these natural phrases and adapting its ads appropriately, a business gives itself a unique advantage over its competitors, particularly if they are able to guide these searches through to the point of purchase without interrupting the user/assistant dynamic.

We’ll be posting further extracts from the Trend Report 2023 in the coming weeks.

Can’t wait to read more? Get instant access to the full report here.

0. Executive Summary
1. The Proliferation of Incentive-Based First-Party Data Strategies
2. Fresh Solutions for Tracking and Retargeting
3. A Recalibrated Approach to Targeting and Lead Identification
4. More Innovative Methods for Contextual Targeting
5. A Greater Focus on Values-Based Marketing and Consumer Connection
6. Expanded Opportunities for Programmatic Digital Out-of-Home
7. Stronger Programmatic Pathways into Video Ads
8. Reliance on Voice Assistants Heralds a Hands-Free Future
9. Digital Planning for Real-World Implementation
10. Apple Makes Aggressive Moves into Digital Advertising
11. Global 5G Adoption Boosts Programmatic Ad Serving
12. Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning Do the Heavy Lifting for Planning and Creative
13. A Push for Cohesive Cross-Device and Cross-Channel Experiences
14. More Sophisticated Access to In-App Inventory
15. Stricter Adherence to the Better Ads Standards


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