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What is a virtual assistant? Functions of a virtual assistant

Published by The Social Media Family on September 27, 2018

asistente virtual

Nowadays, most of the devices we find in the market will have an option to activate a virtual assistant. Surely you have heard of Siri, Cortana or Alexa, but perhaps you still don’t know what they are, what they can do, and their application in the world of email marketing.

Although touch remains the main way to use these devices, the voice has become part of the contact between humans and machines. And in the future, this technology will be even more critical.

So it will be crucial to understand how to work commercially with them, and that is why we have published this article:

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· What is a virtual assistant?

These tasks or services are based on user input data, location recognition and the ability to access information from a variety of online sources.

The virtual assistant technology works by combining mobile devices, application programming interfaces, and the proliferation of mobile applications.

Although like almost everything, it was created for military use, nowadays this technology is present in our daily lives, becoming a marketing trend in 2018.

Not only is it set to be used with the user’s voice, but you may also interact with this software in writing or through images, which means that this kind of software offers endless possibilities.

Also, we can find them in speakers, messaging applications, in smartphones, as part of a mobile operating system, in watches, appliances, cars, ETC.

·  Functions of a Virtual Assistant

But how can a virtual assistant help us? In almost everything. This type of software is useful for basic tasks such as programming a washing machine, a vacuum cleaner, calling an Uber, ordering a pizza or for turning our lights off.

This kind of software can give us information about anything.

In addition to reading the news, it can tell us about the weather, or the traffic situation in our city.

Some virtual assistants will play the song you want to hear, the series and movies you want to watch, read audiobooks, ETC.

You just need to speak the command, and the virtual assistant will do what you told it to do.

Some systems like Siri allow you to send messages using WhatsApp, set your alarm automatically for the time you want to wake up, create reminders (see your dentist, meeting in the office next Monday.), increase screen brightness, and even disable Wi-Fi.

Virtual Assistants have many functions, but the vast majority of them are unknown.

These features will help us to save time and effort, so we recommend that you fully explore your virtual assistant, because they can help you in all aspects of your daily life.

asistentes virtuales

· Virtual Assistants, statistics and general information

Virtual assistants are increasingly present in our routine. That’s why companies like Apple and Google are investing millions of dollars to perfect this technology. This is demonstrated by a Gartner study, which demonstrated that virtual assistants are already used by 42% of the population in the USA and 32% in the United Kingdom. And more than a third of these people use this technology more than once a day.

It is true that the vast majority of these users (54%) used Siri as their virtual assistant. However, the emergence of new VDA’s (Virtual Digital Assistants) popularized other applications such as Alexa, Cortana, Aura, Bixby, and many other systems.

Gartner says that by 2019 20% of the population will use virtual assistants daily.

According to a report by Socratic Technologies, VDA’s users see different benefits when using them.

59% of Americans interviewed say that the Virtual assistant they use facilitates their daily lives. Also, 40% of users said that this kind of software helps them spend less time looking at a screen.

But there is some bad news; many users think that VDAs have several disadvantages.

The privacy of this technology is one aspect that many users think could be a problem, but there are other issues they also mentioned.

The report indicates that 50% of users believe that virtual assistants make life less personal.

On the other hand, 30% believe that advertising will be a problem when using virtual assistants. Also, 39% fear that misunderstandings can occur with this kind of technology.

· Examples of Virtual Assistants

Although we have already talked about several VDAs, now will see the most relevant VDAs of the market. At Mailrelay, we believe that you should check: Siri, Cortana, the Google Assistant, and Alexa.

► Cortana and Alexa

Cortana is the VDA integrated into the Windows operating system, and Alexa is the virtual assistant developed by Amazon.

Now, they have teamed up to create the next generation of virtual assistants.

One of the advantages of this technology will be the possibility of buying on Amazon through Cortana. This will be possible because Alexa can purchase and manage orders for this platform.

Also, you can access different third-party tools by asking Cortana to activate Alexa. But that’s not all.

The Amazon Virtual Assistant can access Cortana and help with calendar management, or reminders.

In short, two great brands that come together to make your life more simple and enhance your shopping experience.

► Siri

Siri is perhaps the best VDA of the market.

Maybe it’s because in the past it was the most used by users, but now the competition with Apple is fierce.

Its new system makes Siri much more human.

Its speech is more clear, and it will better understand what we are saying, so we can interact with it more easily.

In addition to configuring passwords, sending messages to WhatsApp, ordering a pizza, Siri tells us about the news, suggests songs, writes texts, translates sentences into other languages. It offers many resources to make your life easier.

► Google Assistant

The Google Assistant is very different from the previous three systems.

It is not as “human” as the others, but it has many features. One of its great advantages is that it is not only embedded in devices with Android, you can also download the application for iOS, or use it for Chrome.

With this VDA you can also visit online stores and restaurants, or register your searches to suggest some recommendations in the future. The software understands any common language and is capable of answering complex questions. Also, with the new update, you can create alerts about the prices of flights.

Another of its advantages is that, as it was created by Google, everything passes through its search engine, so it is perfect for getting the ideal information.

asistente virtual

· Virtual Assistants in Marketing

We already know the data, the advantages, and disadvantages, the features, as well as the most used ones.

But how can Virtual Assistants help your business?

At Mailrelay, we believe that virtual assistants can help us with our marketing in two ways: ads and SEO.

Perhaps, its clearest use is for creating contextual ads for these technologies.

We can create publicity that these virtual assistants will deliver to users before answering their question, or after the interaction.

In this case, we should remember that advertising was one of the main concerns of users who answered the survey on this technology.

For example, a few months ago, Google started playing an ad for the movie The Beauty and the Beast in Google Home.

However, most users hated it, forcing the company to stop this campaign.

We already know that users are not very fond of advertising when interacting with a VDA.

How else could we get to them? With Voice Marketing.

Basically, we could guide our SEO strategy to improve voice recognition.

·  We already know that users are not very fond of advertising when interacting with a VDA..

We already know that users are not very fond of advertising when interacting with a VDA.

How else could we get to them? With Voice Marketing.

Basically, we could guide our SEO strategy to improve voice recognition.

VDAs like Google can understand complex sentences, which makes us think that it is not something so disheveled.

SEO has been monitored by the world of marketing, but with the speed with which the virtual assistants advance, we must render even more attention to this new technology.

What parameters do Virtual Assistants use to get the top 10 results? SEO by voice? Try listing your site in the first positions when a user searches for a pizzeria or a barbershop.

When results are presented by voice rather than by image, it is more difficult to induce subscribers to remember the products offered.

When trying to create campaigns for virtual assistants, we should use phrases that can be easily remembered.

The repetition of the phrase, background music, the cadence of  voice, can be weapons that we can use to create memorable campaigns.

We can use the experience of radio ads for creating attractive voice marketing.

As it is a voice chat in a personal environment, virtual assistants can collect data with intrusive questions, that a traditional marketing campaign couldn’t do.

Questions like: What is your favorite ingredient? Did you like this product? What is the vacation of your dreams?  Are not uncomfortable because they are socially accepted.

The data obtained in this conversation will not only serve to create new campaigns in the future but also to offer a more personalized service when customers contact you again.

asistentes virtuales y email marketing

· Virtual Assistants in Email Marketing

The Mailrelay family wants to talk about the concept of Voice Marketing, adding it to our email marketing strategy.

We can adapt our emails to be read with the voice of Siri, Cortana, or the Google Assistant.

We can include a chatbot in our email marketing strategy to get more information about our new customer.

We can ask our customers what content they prefer to receive, in addition to requesting their email.

We can add all this information in a database to create email campaigns targeted to each customer.

At the time of purchase, it is important that the customer feels at ease. Some of them feel better if you send them an email, others prefer a chatbot.

As a business, we should offer both possibilities and take advantage of all resources.

·  Conclusion

The world of virtual assistants was born to make life easier for humans. Our tasks can be solved in a matter of seconds just by using our voice.

Virtual Assistants such as Alexa, Cortana, Siri, Google Assistant, will be more and more accurate, which in turn will exponentially increase the number of users who will begin to rely on this technology.

Within the world of marketing, it is a poorly researched strategy, but with great potential we could take advantage of.

With more accurate virtual assistants, we’ll see more Voice Market strategies. Today, we want to launch a challenge: to incorporate these virtual assistants into our email marketing strategy.

The Social Media Family

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