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  • YouTube & Voice Search: 4 Surprising Things to Know

Voice search is becoming a part of everyday life. For many consumers, posing a search query to their phone, tablet, smart speaker, or desktop with their voice, rather than typing it in, is now the norm.

Voice assistants are everywhere, and they’re only growing more ubiquitous. Research predicts that there will be eight billion digital voice assistants by 2023, up from 2.5 billion in 2018.

YouTube is part of Google, so it should come as no surprise that it’s begun to integrate voice search into the video platform. What may be surprising, though, is how the technology is shaping up and what businesses should know about it.

1. YouTube Voice Search Continues to Expand

When it started, YouTube’s voice search capabilities were pretty basic, but YouTube keeps rolling out changes that make the technology smarter and more appealing for searchers. Just last year, it introduced a feature where videos play automatically after a voice search.

Searchers can also now use voice to issue other commands on the YouTube platform. With voice, they can stop or play video, lower or raise the volume, and even scroll through channels they’re subscribed to.

The improvements to the technology speak to the broader consumer demand for both video content and voice search. YouTube reports that users watch over one billion hours of video each day on the platform. And as voice search is integrated into more smart devices over the coming years (like smart TVs), the intersection between voice search and video content will only continue to grow.

2. Metadata Drives YouTube Voice Search

Right now, the way that YouTube voice search displays content is based on text, rather than video content. YouTube isn’t able to pull the audio from the video or analyze the images to tell what a video is about. Instead, the search results are based on metadata.

The description you provide for your video, the keywords you select, the tags you put on a video, and even the file name of the video itself all affect how your content will show up for a given term. Thinking about long-tail keyword research can be helpful when you think about crafting your video descriptions and titles. Consider naming your video something that reflects the kind of query that would lead someone to that content.

For example, if you own a home remodeling business and have a video about the process of hiring an architect to assist in the redesign, consider titling the video something like “Do I Really Need an Architect for My Home Remodel?” That reflects the kind of question a relevant consumer might actually speak into their smart device, looking for a video to answer it.

It’s also a smart idea to add subtitles to your video content. While YouTube’s robots aren’t yet sophisticated enough to crawl the audio or visual content, they can read through closed captions and subtitles – another way to optimize for voice search.

3. Voice Search Is Now Possible on Your TV

A new update from YouTube allows consumers to use voice search when their smart device is synced up with their television. That means they can connect their smartphone or tablet to their regular TV, enter their voice search into the smart device, and see the desired video content on the big screen.

Six out of 10 consumers already report a preference for online video platforms over traditional TV, and YouTube is clearly looking to capitalize on that trend by making it easier than ever to access content on its platform from a television.

The research cited above predicts that smart televisions will represent the fastest rate of growth in voice assistant-enabled devices. With the advent and adoption of smart televisions, the link between voice search and video content will only continue to strengthen.

This is a great opportunity for you to think about how to create the type of branded content your audience might want to watch on a big screen. Don’t limit yourself to short videos light on information. Someone who’s going to sit down in front of their television to consume video content is ready to watch something meatier. You can create longer-form videos that do a meaningful deep dive into relevant concepts, answer your audience’s biggest questions, or present a comprehensive tutorial on a specific topic.

4. Search Technology Is Getting Smarter at Understanding Voice Commands

As YouTube expands the types of devices across which consumers can use voice search, it’s also training the technology to have a more nuanced understanding of the commands one can issue through voice. It used to be that voice search was limited to searching via title for video content, but that’s no longer the case. The “show me” feature now allows YouTube voice searchers to scan channels they’re subscribed to, look through trending videos, and more.

This means the technology can now distinguish between an ask for video content and a command for another type of action on the platform. By adding new features that make voice search more user-friendly on YouTube, the platform drives consumer behavior towards more voice-based video searches.

So what does all of this YouTube voice search mean for your brand? It means that video content is here to stay and that when you create that video content, you need to be optimizing that content to perform in voice search.

For marketers and business owners, these are two major areas of focus to juggle. If you need help with your video marketing strategy and creation or want to talk about how to optimize that content to take advantage of YouTube voice search, check out our solutions and give us a call.

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