The Importance of Voice-First Experiences for Multicultural Moms, a Study by Social Lens Research

What: Social Lens Research teamed with MocoSpace and response:AI to conduct an in-depth study on voice command usage across devices, locations, age groups, and ethnicities.
Why it matters: Even though voice command is not yet mainstream, it is expected to become one of the leading technologies of the near future.


Julie Diaz-Asper (right), Founding Partner, and Denisse Icaza (left), Head of Community, at Social Lens Research, co-authored the below report on the importance of voice first experiences for reaching multicultural audiences. Denisse Icaza  is the founder and editor of the award-winning blog, that offers Spanish-speaking moms new ways to save time and money without sacrificing quality or their favorite brands.


While voice command has not yet become mainstream, multicultural women are leading the way in the early adoption of this new technology. According to the Social Lens Research Voice Command Study: current state, diverse moms who are constantly online and own multiple devices are the current power users of voice. Reaching and engaging multicultural moms with voice command will be a smart strategic move this holiday season and into 2019.

Multicultural moms are more likely to use voice commands across more devices, locations, and for more reasons. Important is building voice experiences that meet their unique needs (simply translating an App into Spanish won’t be enough). High voice use cases that are important for brands to focus on include:

  • 45% use voice to find a store. Local businesses would benefit from optimizing for local voice search that is culturally relevant and useful (e.g., best Rosca de Reyes bakery near me).
  • 42% use voice to find a movie. Entertainment companies could help users find/recommend content to watch (e.g., most educational cartoons in Spanish for a 6-year-old).
  • 83% use voice in a car. What important tasks can you help your customers finish on their daily commute (e.g., create a shopping list for Chilaquiles and find me some deals).

A comprehensive voice strategy will need to prioritize building a useful voice first experience (help me find what I want, complete a task faster). Depending on the use case, it will need to work across the devices the user wants to use such as smart TVs, smart speakers, smartwatches, and smart home devices. Important will be tapping into voice first functionality already built by device manufacturers (Alexa Skills or Ok Google commands) and app providers (GrubHub voice first ordering).

To avoid multicultural audiences having usability issues, voice-activated products and services need to take accents (international and regional), unique, culturally relevant requests (e.g., best healthy meriendas for hungry teens, find the nearest mercado) and word phrasing into account.

Google Home’s adoption of Spanish commands

Google’s smart speakers can now understand and respond in Spanish. Furthermore, Google recently announced that its Assistant has become bilingual, meaning that it now can understand two languages simultaneously, making it a very user-friendly smart assistant for a multicultural market.

Comcast’s X1 Voice Remote Commands can now be set to Spanish

Smart TV is leading the way for first experiences with voice usage for Hispanics. Hispanics over-index (+19%) on smart TV voice command usage, according to the  study. Comcast has improved artificial intelligence in its X1 Voice remote for commands in Spanish. In addition to using the language of your choice (the X1 interface has to be set to the preferred language) to change channels, search for shows, get recommendations and more, the smart remote control also has a whole new range of commands for connected homes.

Marketers and developers are still in the early days of building robust voice first experiences that are truly designed to meet multicultural consumers’ needs.

Important considerations:

  • Build unique experiences that meet the interests and needs of your multicultural customers. Understand the context of when, where, and how your target customer might be completing a task across the devices they use (starting a grocery list in the kitchen, adding items/comparing prices in the car, and checking off items at the grocery).
  • Include Spanish/bilingual language options. Adapt to how your users actually talk and what words they use in both languages.
  • Make it an end-to-end experience. Don’t start with voice first and then lead to an experience that requires you to access a computer or punch in a number.
  • Assume that customer will contact you hands-free and build customer service user paths that work well with voice commands.