In February 2019, Google began testing ads on Google Assistant voice searches and is now officially rolling it out as an official new ad placement on Android devices.
How Do Google Search Voice Ads Work?
Google announced that when a user is conducting a voice search on Google Assistant, if the result shows links to the web, “these results may include the existing ads that you’d see on Search today.” This means search campaigns can extend to Assistant results, but only on Android devices.
Early indicators show one search ad per result, but it’s still unclear how Google determines the winner of that single ad spot. Another unknown is how Google Ads will report on the visibility and traffic from voice ads.
How Will This Impact The Future of Paid Search?
As more users have moved towards voice search, Google has seen a decrease in lost pay-per-click revenue – until now. With paid search ads now serving for voice search results, advertisers have an opportunity to reach their audiences whenever they are searching, in a much less ad-saturated environment.
Google Assistant is now on over a billion devices, which means a lot of potential ad space. This may open an entirely new inventory of searches for advertisers to experiment with, as users are searching differently with their voice than through typing.
How Should Marketers Prepare for Google Search Voice Ads?
Marketers should prepare by ensuring campaigns are set up to trigger for voice searches. This means focusing more on dynamic keyword-less campaigns, along with relying more heavily on audience targeting. Shifting focus away from extensive keyword lists will become even more important as voice search grows – when users speak to digital assistants, searches usually become more long-tail, which also means more variations.
For creative, there are no additional requirements as of now. Expanded text ads serve just as they would for a standard text search. However, thinking specifically about mobile will be important as many of the voice results will appear on smaller screens. This also presents an opportunity for additional message testing.
Advertisers should understand that voice search ads may not perform the same as traditional search ads – they will likely need to also consider different ways to measure the new ad formats. Keeping an open mind will also be crucial for measuring the success of voice ads and making sure the proper attribution model is in place. If queries skew nonbrand, there may not be an immediate impact on lower funnel conversions. However, voice ad serving is still relatively limited, so advertisers should not expect abrupt shifts in performance. As of now, Google Ads does not allow data segmentation of voice ads placement performance, but that’s another change marketers should watch for in the near future.
What’s Coming Next in Voice?
Adding ads to voice searches that yield web results is only the beginning. This opens the door for interactive audio-based search ads that digital assistants would serve based on a user’s query. How will those ad auctions and targeting work? Only time will tell!
Final Thoughts on Voice Search Advertising
Voice search ads were the inevitable next step for Google, and they are finally here. While many aspects are still unknown – such as how an ad wins the auction and how Google will report on voice ads – the new ads open incredible opportunities to expand reach and drive incremental results for all advertisers. Properly preparing campaign targeting and creative messaging will be key to ensuring campaigns are set up for success. One thing every marketer can count on? This version of voice search ads is only the first in what’s bound to be a much larger shift in search marketing.