If you have yet to jump on the smart speaker bandwagon, it’s likely you still interact with these devices via virtual assistants like Apple’s Siri for iPhone or Google Assistant on many Android devices. Voice-activated devices have seen tremendous growth in the past few years, perhaps signaling a fundamental change in the way we access information. In 2018 alone, smart speaker ownership in the U.S. rose 39.8%, to a total of 66.4 million Americans; and in 2019 voice-activated devices like Amazon’s Echo and Google Home found their way into more than a quarter of American homes.
As new advancements such as Amazon’s announcement of their HIPPA-compliant Alexa healthcare skills in April, healthcare advertisers have the opportunity to incorporate voice tech into their marketing mix and engage with their audience in new and unique ways.
The Impact of Voice Tech In Healthcare
- The new Alexa healthcare skills enable healthcare practitioners to provide services such as automated appointment scheduling, integrate with Electronic Health Records (EHR) systems, set and follow health improvement goals, and provide solutions for medication nonadherence.
- A recent study found 47% of HCP’s are interested in incorporating voice tech at work, since skills such as those that record dictations have the opportunity to alleviate their administrative burdens and provide them more facetime with patients.
Paid Search Considerations
- According to ComScore, 50% of searches will be queried via voice by 2020.
- Since it is likely Google and Amazon will introduce voice tech paid search platforms in the near future, it is important advertisers take this into consideration for their current SEO strategy. By making optimizations now in anticipation of paid search via voice tech, brands can ensure their sites are positioned to perform well when the technology does become available.
Leveraging Branded Skills
- Users activate skills by speaking commands into their speakers or add them via platforms like the Alexa skills marketplace, enabling them to perform an action like reordering a product or answering brand-specific questions.
- Brands can use a custom developed branded skill to repeatedly engage with their audience. For example, a pharma skill geared towards providing information on dosing, indications, or patient savings positions enables them to answer patient questions and put their brand front-and-center.
- Livongo, a platform for patients with chronic conditions like Diabetes, recently rolled out one of the first HIPAA-compliant Alexa healthcare skills. Their skill enables patients to query their latest blood sugar reading, ask for blood sugar measurement trends, and receive personalized health nudges.
As voice tech continues to penetrate the healthcare system, it is important for advertisers to stay abreast of innovations in the space. New voice technology, such as Alexa’s HIPAA compliant skills, offer healthcare advertisers unique ways to reach and engage with their audience. Keeping an eye towards voice search optimization will set brands up to succeed when paid voice search becomes viable, and incorporating new technologies like custom skills can help brands position themselves as thought leaders while adding touch points along the consumer journey to stay top of mind.