One of the most interesting articles to cross my desk this week was this piece by Ad Age, “JPMorgan Chase Brings On VaynerMedia As Agency of Record for Voice.”
I received some flack for my criticism of VaynerMedia’s advertised pricing model when Gary Vaynerchuck announced its debut a bit over a year ago.
But I meant what I wrote then, and I stand by it now.
That said, whatever he’s been doing seems to be working.
This week, JPMorgan Chase – the venerable New York investment bank, signed VaynerMedia as Agency of Record.
Even more intriguing, however, is the scope of the contract.
VaynerMedia, which has been leading Chase’s social strategy for over a year, will now also lead Chase’s strategy for voice search.
The Rise of Voice Search
A year ago I highlighted the rise of voice search as one of the top digital marketing trends of 2017.
The implications of voice search are huge.
For the last decade, the goal of web marketing was to rank on the “first page” of Google.
This essentially means ranking among the top 10 results for a given word or phrase.
Voice changes that.
Voice means the goal will soon be the single number one answer of choice.
As I wrote a year ago:
Part of the shift toward a “single best” answer for Google and Bing is the rise of Voice Search, through such platforms as Siri, Amazon Alexa, and Google Home.
The next big driver of Voice Search and the quest for “single best” answers will be the advent of connected cars. While driving, consumers are far more likely to want the answer to their question rather than a menu of the best possible answers.
Amazon Echo (which uses Alexa) is the market leader in voice search. But Google Home sales have been growing, commanding 40% of the market share in Q4 2017. market share.
There are currently 31 million Amazon Echo devices installed in the U.S., vs. 14 million Google Home units.
SEO – Web v. Voice
The problem is that search in its current (web-based) form is wildly skewed to the first page of Google.
In 2014, research showed that 67 percent of all clicks for search engine queries went to the top five results, while less than six percent of clicks went beyond page one (i.e., the top 10).
Thus, for the last decade, the goal of nearly every Search Engine Optimization (SEO) expert has been to have their clients rank within the type five results for as many long-tail keyword combinations that are relevant to their business as possible.
My own experience writing bears this data out.
In the 25 months I’ve written for this blog, one post (out of 145) has received more than twice as many views as any other post.
Yes – the post is a well-researched resource list.
But more importantly, it has a clickbait listicle title.
Even more importantly?
That clickbait title led it to rank on page one of Google for “Pinterest + 2016.”
For a solid nine months, anyone who typed in those two words saw my post appear within the first five answers on Google.
The fact (sobering as it is) is this:
Results in the top five receive exponentially greater click-throughs than those ranked lower down.
This is precisely what makes the rise of voice search so ominous.
As voice gains prevalence, the number of viable answer choices will shrink from 10 to one, or reduce by 90 percent.
2018 and beyond will thus see an arms race as brands of all stripes vie to become the single best answer, eclipsing all others.
VaynerMedia and Voice
According to a piece in MarketingDive,
“VaynerMedia began developing its voice capabilities, including building Amazon Alexa skills and briefings, and hiring specialists under its VaynerSmart offering about a year ago. The organization has created Alexa skills for GE, Johnnie Walker, Ellen’s Heads Up, the Amazon original series “The Tick” and Wine Library.”
From JPMorgan Chase’s perspective, the goal is to solve issues related to consumer privacy as questions posed to devices like Alexa increasingly shift from “What’s the weather like today?” to “What’s my bank balance?”
By publicly signing an agency as high-profile as VaynerMedia to guide it’s Voice Search strategy, JPMorgan Chase is putting its competitors – and businesses in general – on notice.
If the future of search is voice, Chase aims to be heard.