Interviews, insight & analysis on digital media & marketing

How are users actually using voice search to get answers?

Until now, all the major assistant providers have kept voice search data locked down. Unlike traditional web search there is no voice search key phrase tool detailing what people voice search for and how many searches per month. Voice Experience agency, Rabbit and Pork, have this week released research that uncovers key behavioural patterns in Voice Search for the first time. 

The report looks at a subset of data which gives some key insights and data around what people are voice searching for and how often.  At the same time, users can use the new voice search key phrase tool to explore the different searches from the report.

John Campbell, Managing Director at Rabbit & Pork said: “By having this level of data brands are able to adjust and optimise content, understand user demand and advance their voice search strategy.”

Language semantics for Voice Search 

One of the key findings included language semantics of voice search – the average number of words per search was 6.4 words in the UK, compared to 5.8 words in the US. 

Across all territories there is also a clear variance in categories when using Voice Search. Searches for history, video games and climate tend to be longer in length.  Video and Animal searches tend to be much shorter, for example,  “can june bugs bite” or  “do dogs howl”

How people search is also important to understand – 77.5% of the searches start with either “what”, “how” “who” or “what’s” with a third overall starting with the query, “what”.

Voice Search Behaviour Trends 

Splitting out searches by days of the week it was interesting to see a growing trend from Monday to Wednesday.  Time of the day for Voice Search is another key factor for brands to look at. From 5am in the morning there is steady growth of Voice Search usage, all the way to the peak at 7pm in the evening.  

Behaviour differs significantly on the weekend compared to weekdays, with increased usage during the daytime on Saturday and Sundays.  

Naturally, Voice Search behaviour and usage has shifted since COVID-19. In 2020 and 2021 there was far higher usage during the day, with more users working from home.  Whereas in 2019 usage would rapidly peak in the afternoon and evening as people come home from work.

Searches for food as one would expect peak around 5 / 6 pm as people start to make their evening meals. Sport voice searches peak at 3 pm and 8 pm both the times football generally starts. For Music, we see peak usage at 9 am people starting their working day and then again at 7 pm after people have eaten.  

To uncover many more key trends, and find out how users are really using Voice devices to search, you can download the report here: