It’s no question that voice has been on the rise when it comes to digital marketing trends but just how viable is it as a sustainable content marketing format? Twitter launched voice tweets back in June 2020 with some mixed reception. Some loved it, whilst others loathed it.
The question is – what did Twitter see in using voice as a content form that other platforms did not?
Stemming from the hype that voice search received a few years ago, there has been great anticipation for the use of voice to continue growing as a result of increased mobile device usage.
Voice as a content marketing form, however, is still to be tested extensively by the main social media platforms. Twitter specifically jumped in the midst of a pandemic to release a feature that sounded cool but didn’t ultimately live up to its expectation.
What went wrong for Twitter
There were a couple of problems that stunted the growth of voice tweets: accessibility and the US elections.
When voice tweets were released, they weren’t available to all users right off the bat, which prompted a lot of anger from those that were not able to use the new feature. Additionally, the US elections were less than six months away, and there was a lot to it, leading to people’s attention diverting from voice tweets and onto what Donald Trump was tweeting each day.
Assuming that the feature would’ve been released at a different time, it may have performed better and gotten more people to adopt voice as a form of content marketing. However, Twitter has always been fundamentally known for one thing…
Tweets – which are fundamentally text-based and easy to scan.
Will voice overtake video?
People go on social media to quickly consume content – and lots of it. The concept of having voice tweets on Twitter, for example, essentially means that people would be forced to have their volume on as they wouldn’t know what they’re consuming otherwise.
One reason why video content works so much better than voice content is because you can add subtitles to videos, allowing people to follow along without needing to listen to anything.
This can be extremely helpful whilst on a busy commute, or generally, if you don’t want others to hear what you’re consuming but have forgotten your headphones. The importance of this also stems from engagement. The more engaged people are whilst they’re consuming videos, the more likely they are to stay on the given platform for longer.
Another reason why voice will find it difficult to overtake video is the lack of aesthetics that comes with video content. This, for a lot of people, is a big factor in deciding what types of content they want to share online.
When considering the social media users’ desired self-image, they will often want to portray certain desired elements on their feeds for others to see. With videos, this is a perfect way of shaping their desired or ideal selves – and is almost impossible to convey as effectively using voice alone.
The freshness and uniqueness that can be portrayed within videos is almost impossible to find in solely voice content. It’s bland, and looks the same as all of the other ones. This could easily be a factor that may have contributed to the lack of adoption of voice chats on Twitter, but in essence, video is here to stay (and possibly dominate) for the long run.
But how come podcasts are still popular?
Whilst podcasts are still very popular forms of content to consume, they’ve been hit hard by the pandemic as they were often consumed whilst people were commuting to and from work.
That’s not to say that podcasts aren’t ideal in today’s current climate, but voice-type content can have different forms and might not be suitable for standard social media platforms.
There is also going to be an issue with the length of audio consumption. With podcasts, people know well ahead of time that they are going to zone into around 25 minutes of audio. Knowing this (and the title of the podcast) helps them get ready for the audio they are about to hear, and usually, there aren’t any diversions away from the topic at hand.
Voice content on social media platforms offers a whole different perspective for consuming audio. Unlike podcasts, sharing voice content on social media will be much shorter and vaguer, since users won’t know exactly what is going to be included in the message. This makes it harder to anticipate the content that is being consumed unless of course, you assume it will be related to the other types of content that particular person shares on their social media profile.
The future of voice content
There are lots of possibilities when it comes to how voice can be utilised as a part of a content marketing strategy. The core of its adopting voice will come down to ease of use, which tends to be the case with social media nowadays.
As long as voice content can be easy to create, share, and consume, it should have no trouble getting used by larger audiences on different platforms.
However, with popular apps such as Facebook, WhatsApp and Instagram being known for allowing users to send voice messages to friends, it’s interesting why this option can’t be shared to the masses at once.
Do these tech giants not see the need for this form of content sharing, or have they been too passive when it comes to trying new things on their platforms?
Other (much smaller) platforms such as Telegram also offer voice chats, with its specific use-cases outlined. However, there remains a void in the mass social media sphere where voice content can be used in a more widespread setting.
With time, it will be interesting to see how voice content will be used on platforms like Twitter, and to see if people simply don’t want it, or just haven’t had enough time to consider it as their content form of choice.