by Omri Levin

In Google Now and Siri Part 1, we took a look at how voice search tools could affect the future of mobile adver­tis­ing from the per­spec­tive of pub­lish­ers like Google. In Part 2, we’ll look at how voice search and oth­er mobile func­tion­al­i­ties may also change search engine mar­keters roles as well.

Voice search is a first step in chang­ing the way users find answers to ques­tions and find prod­ucts and ser­vices they are look­ing for. We can’t for­get that only as far back as the ear­ly 90’s, con­sumers reached for a phone book, called a friend or searched through the local news­pa­per for the same things. Key­word search allowed con­sumers to do this much more effi­cient­ly via the web.

Today, we have incred­i­bly effi­cient web­sites and apps for find­ing every­thing we need. From Google Maps to Yelp to Amazon’s win­dow shop­ping app, we can find basi­cal­ly every­thing we need through a quick web search.

Search engine mar­ket­ing used to be the way for busi­ness­es to con­nect with con­sumers at any phase of the buy­ing cycle. But what hap­pens when voice search allows a con­sumer to skip search all together?

Let’s say I get home and my two year old daugh­ter has got­ten a hold of my wrench under the sink and is now danc­ing in, from her per­spec­tive, a fan­tas­ti­cal water rain­bow. I use my wife’s iPhone 5 and ask Siri to find me the high­est rat­ed plumber in my area. In order to pro­vide the most rel­e­vant result, Siri may dis­play the top rat­ed plumbers in Atlanta – from Yelp. Uh, oh. There goes the oppor­tu­ni­ty for our local plumbers to show me their search ad.

Google has always pledged to serve us the most rel­e­vant results but, as we dis­cussed in Part 1, they may slow the devel­op­ment of voice search func­tion­al­i­ty in places where it reduces mobile ad impres­sion vol­ume. To stay com­pet­i­tive, these func­tion­al­i­ties should hit Google Now and/or Android devices some­time in the near future.

To be clear, Google and Bing search adver­tis­ing aren’t going any­where any­time soon. Search­es that are more com­plex or require refined answers will still be made, just not through voice search. We SEM folk have some time before we need to wor­ry about voice search sig­nif­i­cant­ly impact­ing our ter­ri­to­ry. Even once more advanced voice search is com­mer­cial­ly avail­able, large-scale adop­tion will take time.

We can be sure that mobile search­es will con­tin­ue to surge as most of the indus­try gurus have pro­ject­ed and we’ll con­tin­ue to see oppor­tu­ni­ties to engage folks more often and at even more pre­cise moments with­in the pur­chase process – all via a mobile device. We as search mar­keters must adapt to the ever-chang­ing dig­i­tal media land­scape and diver­si­fy our strengths beyond search. **

My advice to you? Start read­ing up on con­tex­tu­al, dis­play and cook­ie based tar­get­ing. Ask your dis­play media friends to intro­duce you to their favorite reps. Learn how to adver­tise on Face­book. And, most impor­tant­ly, start test­ing cam­paigns and learn best prac­tices for all exist­ing and new media chan­nels. If it’s dig­i­tal – it’s your domain. The largest oppor­tu­ni­ty in mobile will be in strate­gi­cal­ly-tar­get­ed, cross-chan­nel cam­paigns. With a broad media skill set, you’ll be able to tack­le any chal­lenge a new tech­nol­o­gy presents!