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!