What’s up with personal assistant apps?

Apple Siri loses a chunk of users, but it still possesses the biggest share of the AI-powered personal assistant apps market.

With the entry of new personal assistant apps, it’s only logical that there would be a shift in market share between the established players and the upstarts.

That trend is underscored in statistics recently published by Verto Analytics which are based on behavioral data gleaned from ~20,000 U.S. consumers via passive metering of their digital devices.

According to Verto, the current share of usage among the seven top personal assistant apps breaks down as follows:

  • Apple Siri: 41MM monthly U.S. users (~44%)
  • Samsung S Voice: 23MM (~25%)
  • Google Text-To-Search: 20MM (~21%)
  • Google Home: 5MM (~5%)
  • Amazon Alexa: 3MM (~3%)
  • Google Allo: 1MM (~1%)
  • Microsoft Cortana: 1MM (~1%)

These stats show the degree to which the top three apps continue to dominate the U.S. market. However, they don’t tell the entire story.  A more interesting trend is what’s happening with the number of monthly users by app. In the case of Siri, its monthly user figure has dropped a full 15% in the past year – or about 7 million monthly users lower than in 2016.

Samsung, #2 on the list, also experienced a decline in monthly users – in its case a drop of 8%, or about 2 million fewer users compared to 2016.

Google Home also experienced a slide in subscribers, although #3 ranged Google Text-To-Search did grow.

The biggest growth trends in personal assistant apps were experienced by Alexa (up ~325%) and Cortana (up ~350%). Both apps were starting from a very low baseline, however, and today they still number only around 3 million and 1 million monthly users respectively.

Another interesting dynamic is the level of engagement each of these personal assistant apps generates. As it turns out, there is a direct correlation between overall user growth and levels of engagement, so it’s pretty clear where most of the “go-go” action is at the moment:  Alexa and Cortana.

Perhaps most significantly, the Verto report suggests that personal assistant apps are of more utility to users than search apps such as Google or Yelp. Approximately 45% of smartphones owned by U.S. adults contained a personal assistant app that was used at least once during the month of May 2017.  Compare that to the percent of smartphones that had a search app installed over the same period:  just 34%.

It goes to show that among personal assistant apps broadly, the market is quite robust even if it’s fragmenting rather than consolidating.

When people think “search,” they still think “Google.”

… And they might say it, too — thanks to the rise of voice search.

Over the years, many things have changed in the world of cyberspace. But one thing seems to be pretty much a constant:  When people are in “search” mode online, most of them are playing in Google’s ballpark.

This behavior has been underscored yet again in a new survey of ~800 consumers conducted by Fivesight Research.

Take a look at these two statistics that show how strong Google’s search popularity remains today:

  • Desktop users: ~79% of searches are on Google
  • Smartphone users: ~86% use Google

The smartphone figure above is even more telling in that the percentage is that high whether users are on an iPhone or an Android system.

But here’s another very interesting finding from the Fivesight survey: Google’s biggest competition isn’t other search engines like Bing or Yahoo.  Instead, it’s Siri, which now accounts for ~6% of mobile search market share.

So what we’re seeing in search isn’t a shift to other providers, but rather a shift into new technologies. To illustrate, nearly three in four consumers are using voice technologies such as Siri, Google Now and Microsoft Cortana to supplement their traditional search activities.

Some marketing specialists contend that “voice search is the new search” – and it’s hard not to agree with them. Certainly, voice search has become easier in the past year or so as more mobile devices as well as personal home assistants like Amazon Alexa have been adopted by the marketplace.

It also helps that voice recognition technology continues to improve in quality, dramatically reducing the incidences of “machine mistakes” in understanding the meaning of voice search queries.

But whether it’s traditional or voice-activated, I suspect Google will continue to dominate the search segment for years to come.

That may or may not be a good thing for consumers. But it’s certainly a good thing for Google – seeing as how woefully ineffective the company has been in coming up with any other business endeavor even remotely as financially lucrative as its search business.

The Rise of Siri: Getting Set to Revolutionize Web Search?

Siri digital personal assistant on the Apple iPhone 4SSiri, the digital personal assistant that’s been integrated into the new iPhone 4S from Apple, is generating substantial buzz. That’s because it’s so much more accurate than earlier iterations of voice command platforms. (Google’s digital personal assistant on the Android operating system has generated far less accolades by comparison.)

The question is, what will Siri do to change the traditional ways people interact with the Web? Because Siri is far more than just voice recognition. It’s what it does with the voice it recognizes that’s so interesting.

Siri can update your calendar, set reminders, play music, write e-mails and text – indeed, it’s a personal assistant in every sense of the word.

Users of the iPhone 4S are using Siri to send texts and e-mails. They’re tending to open fewer apps, since Siri is very effective in deciding which app, service or site will best handle the needed tasks.

In search, this means that Siri may supplant what users might have done previously: namely, open a browser window and search using Google or Bing. If a user is asking Siri to find the closest good-quality dry cleaning establishment, for example, the result may be based on more than the top spot on Google Places … it may also be based on customer ratings on Yelp or “likes” on Facebook.

That’s because Siri navigates a variety of application program interfaces, pulling not only your information, but also information provided by others.

The rise of social media platforms has already alerted us to the fact that simply having a highly relevant, well-optimized website is no longer enough. The “endorsement” of sites, the incidence of positive customer reviews and the degree of “engagement” with visitors are playing a bigger role now, thanks to Facebook, Google+1 and various rating sites.

But now, with Siri and digital personal assistants entering the scene in a major way, we may well see people migrating away from accessing search pages and simply using the friendly voice in their mobile device to send them where they want to go.

… It’s yet another example of the constant state of change that’s a fact of life in the world of digital marketing.