The Voices Insiders

5 Voice Over Predictions for 2021, According to Top Voice Actors

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No one could predict the events of 2020. And while we can’t predict exactly what is going to happen in 2021 either, this past year has laid the groundwork for a new era of media and advertising, and with that, a series of new or accelerated trends in the voice over industry.

Our 2021 Annual Trends Report took an inside look at the changing creative services industry from a client perspective, including the top trends impacting creative professionals and how the COVID-19 pandemic has changed the future of work. 

For another perspective, we turned to the experts, the Voices Insiders, to share their voice over predictions as we enter 2021. The Voices Insiders are a team of professional voice actors who lend their insights and expertise to the Voices.com community each month to help talent at all stages level up in their voice over careers. 

Together, the Voices Insiders have booked thousands of jobs on Voices.com—giving them the inside track on what clients are requesting the most when it comes to vocal styles, voice over projects, and more.

Read on to find out the five top voice over predictions for 2021, according to the Voices Insiders.

1. Natural and conversational reads will continue to be in demand

Year after year, the conversational read continues to be the most in-demand style on Voices.com, and this trend doesn’t appear to be stopping any time soon. In a year that’s seen social distancing measures put in place, the feeling of human connection is now more important than ever.

Insights from the Voices Insiders

Tricia Stewart Shiu:

“Everything is moving toward a more natural and realistic read. Even animation characters have a thread of realism. In 2021, vocal requirements will reflect that trend.

Everyone, worldwide, is now highly sensitized to a new normal. This makes it hard to tolerate anything ‘put on’ or fake. We are all moving toward a more grounded sensibility and this trend will last as we relax into a brand new way of working and living in the world.”

Kim Handysides:

“I think we’re going to continue to see more of a call for ‘real person’ delivery styles… and more jobs with humorous scripts or styles of delivery.

Real person reads are very attention-grabbing and rise above the ‘noise.’ We need outlets and coping mechanisms (to use the infamous phrase: now more than ever!). Humor is always engaging and always works. Creatives recognize it’s what we need to make it through this pandemic and beyond.”

Elizabeth Saydah:

“I think the necessity for humanity, accessibility, and trust in company messaging will be reflected in voice breakdowns and will increase demand for conversational, warm, natural, approachable tones overall.”

Jesse Adam:

“Companies, governments, and authorities will be looking to inform, educate, and reassure everyone as much as possible around what the ‘new normal’ looks like. Genuine reads that are believable and show some care and compassion will be in high demand.”

Sandra Osborne:

“I think we will still be needing a raw and real sound as the world continues through uncertainty, but as things start to improve and open up, we will be hearing more positivity in voice over and more fun and energy. I think 2021 will have a diverse and real sound in commercials and vocal styles. 

2020 has been tough on everyone. Voices that are diverse and offer vulnerability and a real/raw sound will continue to be what listeners will respond to.”

2. Brands will continue to turn to voice over for agile marketing messaging

If 2020 has taught us anything, it’s that priorities can change in an instant—even for brands. Early 2020 saw brands faced with the challenge of pivoting their marketing messaging to reflect a new reality in the COVID-19 pandemic. Marketing teams needed to act quickly, and they turned to voice over as a tool to do so.

When the business world switched to working from home overnight, brands and voice talent turned to remote technologies like Source-Connect, Zoom, and online marketplaces like Voices.com to connect, making a case for the future state of remote creative collaboration. 

In 2020, we saw jobs posted on Voices.com increase over 40% year-over-year. And as brands and marketers continue to navigate through changing realities in 2021, we can expect this trend to continue.

Insights from the Voices Insiders

Elizabeth Saydah:

“I think agencies and companies now recognize the merits of using voice over talent for their projects: added efficiency, budget flexibility, and the ability to uphold creativity without sacrificing quality.”

Craig Williams:

“I believe it will be the busiest year on record [for voice over] as many companies will be needing to get the word out that they are back in business and ready for us to spend our money! Marketing budgets were slashed this year in 2020. Many companies will have a renewed impetus to make 2021 a more successful year to make up for 2020.”

3. Internet video jobs will continue to boom

With shelter-in-place orders and social distancing in effect for much of 2020, we turned to the small screen and the phone’s even smaller screen for our entertainment. 

Since restrictions were put in place, 69% of U.S. consumers are said to be watching between 30 minutes and three hours of short-form internet video every day, and 84% of consumers estimate their time spent watching internet videos has increased or stayed the same compared to their pre-pandemic viewing habits.

With this increase in screen time, not only in the U.S., but across the world, we’ve also seen the production of internet video increase. On Voices.com, we saw the number of internet video jobs rise 199% on our marketplace, compared to 2019.

Internet video is a diverse category, ranging from the videos we see on social media platforms like Facebook, Snapchat, or LinkedIn, to company explainer videos, blog content, and YouTube ads.

As we enter 2021, the popularity of internet video shows no sign of slowing down. TheSoul Publishing, one of the largest independent digital studios that produces entertaining, positive, and original content for a global audience, expects 83% of consumers will continue to consume the same amount of internet video content or increase their consumption in the coming year.

Insights from the Voices Insiders

Elizabeth Saydah:

“I think overall, especially post-COVID (which can’t come soon enough!), VO will continue to thrive as companies recognize the benefits and ease of using voice over for their whiteboard and animated explainers.”

Tiffany Grant:

“2021 will see more and more social media ads and explainer videos.”

4. eLearning jobs will be on the rise

In 2019, nearly half of all higher education institutions offered no online programs. That number quickly changed in the early months of 2020 as the world made the necessary and rapid shift to remote learning—and even corporate training programs turned digital.

In our 2021 Annual Trends Report, we asked creative professionals from across advertising, education, media, and technology industries to share the most important trends impacting their company or industry. A sizable 33% of respondents reported the increased demand for eLearning content and online training as one of the top answers.

The eLearning market in the U.S. is expected to grow $21.64 billion over the next four years, further signalling the increased demand for eLearning content. Experts predict we’ll see a surge in the demand for specialty programs delivered online, including skills upgrading, and micro-credentials in the coming year, especially as they relate to high-demand work such as healthcare. 

Insights from the Voices Insiders

Kim Handysides:

“Face-to-face training is still migrating to eLearning and online training and will continue to do so in a post-COVID-19 world.”

Elizabeth Saydah:

“The need for eLearning for remote working scenarios will inevitably increase. With the increase of remote work, company training decks will continue to be required and updated.”

5. AI, text to speech, and other voice technology jobs will continue to grow

While voice assistants and other voice technology have been topping year-end trend reports for the last few years, 2020 and the COVID-19 pandemic solidified the need for an increasingly touchless world.

In response to social distancing and the need to minimize high-touch areas, industries such as retail, food service, and healthcare are now looking to voice technology to fill the gap. According to an Adobe study, 86% of users say voice technology could make attending events or visiting businesses a much more sanitary experience, citing tasks like opening doors, operating the elevator, or using a vending machine.

On Voices.com, we saw our voice assistant category grow by 245% year-over-year. The voice assistant category includes not only voice assistants, but also Alexa Skills, Alexa Flash Briefings, and other voice technology applications. We can expect this category to continue to climb as businesses continue to explore and implement touchless technology in the years to come.

Insights from the Voices Insiders

Kristy Reed:

“I expect to see a continued rise in AI projects. I have had more requests towards the end of 2020 for both myself and my kids to work on AI voice libraries as well as automated systems for doctors’ offices and small businesses.

COVID has set a new standard in business operations in both good and bad ways. I see smaller companies seeking to simplify and minimize costs with AI solutions. I also see the pressure to create digital assistants on the rise in online ordering, healthcare, etc.”

Ready to take on 2021?

Discover the five most popular voice roles for voice actors in 2021 and make 2021 your best year yet with these tips to craft a standout proposal.

What are your voice over predictions for 2021? Let us know in the comments!

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Comments

  • Stephanie Ciccarelli
    December 15, 2020, 11:07 am

    Outstanding contributions from everyone! Can’t wait for 2021.

    Reply