Why You Need To Take Notice Of Virtual Digital Assistants Now
More and more, virtual digital assistants are becoming a part of our lives. They’re on our phones. They’re on our watches and fitness trackers. They sit in our living rooms. They’re even in our cars, with Audi recently announcing that they’ve integrated Amazon's Alexa into their new E-Tron SUV.
But what exactly are virtual digital assistants and how can content marketers use them?
What are Virtual digital assistants?
Virtual digital assistants (VDAs) are automated software applications or platforms that use natural spoken or written language to interact with humans and help them accomplish tasks. You know them some of them by their more common names of Siri, Alexa, Google Assist and Google Home.
But you can find them in many other devices that are part of the Internet of Things. And you can also find them on websites and telephone-based answering services, where they offer customer support and customer service.
How fast are VDAs growing?
VDAs are exploding in popularity and their range of applications is rapidly expanding. Tractica, a company that focuses on human interaction with technology, recently released a report on this and predicts that unique active consumer VDA users will grow from 390 million in 2015 to 1.8 billion by the end of 2021. On the enterprise side, Tractica forecasts that unique active enterprise VDA users will rise from 155 million in to 843 million in the same period. Together these two VDA segments will bring in a massive $15.8 billion in 2021.
Why they are gaining traction
Gone are the days when you call your phone or credit company only to be met with the frustrating robotic voice that doesn't understand anything you say. Cue much angry shouting into the phone and repeating yourself three times before the voice recognition software understands you. Now, the technology is getting startlingly close to creating human-like conversations.
This is possible because of recent advances in AI and natural language processing (NLP), or the ability of AI to understand and converse in natural language.
As Principal Tractica analyst Mark Beccue explains, “The consumer and enterprise use cases for virtual digital assistants are proliferating rapidly thanks to accelerated innovation and scalability of underlying technologies, such as natural language processing and artificial intelligence.
“Meanwhile, most of the world’s technology giants believe VDAs will be vital to their businesses in the future, and they are investing significant resources to capture market share at this early stage.”
How content marketers can use them
So, how can content marketers use VDAs? The possibilities for AI-informed content plans are endless. Some ways to do this are to create chatbots on your website and on Facebook Messenger that answer questions and help people along in the sales process.
You can also get into the “minds” of VDAs , which means optimizing content for VDAS. Because of the rising populairty of VDAs such as Alexa, Siri and Google Home, your content needs to be optimised to the answer that's given when to your potential customers’ questions – these VDAs will only pick one, so the competition is high and you want to be on the top.
Successfully folding VDAs into your content marketing can be a challenge, especially on a limited budget, but as always with emerging technology, it’s an opportunity — and one that is only going to get bigger as this technology advances. Watch this space.