AI search results threaten brand terms, Google > ChatGPT, the new Amazon ad library, and more

March 29, 2024

Hello there, Digital Darlings,

With any luck you’re having a drama-free week, but it’s time for me to spice things up. Google’s stirring the digital pot again with AI Overviews sneaking into search results–opt-in or not, you’re getting a taste. And with “top ads” not so top anymore, we're left to wonder, what's G's end game? Big things are happening, and I’m here to simplify them for your eager eyes.

AI is coming to dominate the Google SERP.

Google’s beta-testing their newest flavor of search result – AI Overviews. They said they want to collect feedback from searchers who have not opted in to the Search Generative Experience (SGE). Um, what’s the point of having an opt-in option if you’re just gonna serve AI results to whoever you want?! But I digress… According to a Google spokesperson, the AI overviews are being served on a small subset of queries that are more complex and might benefit from combined results from a collection of web pages. Sounds helpful for users, but not so great for us marketers. These AI answers serve at the top of the SERP, pushing down paid search ads and SEO-powered top results. A study found that…

Google SGE is a top threat to brand and product search terms.

In a study by Authoritas, SGE results appeared for 91.4% of queries… so much for them being served to “a small subset”! Paid ads appeared below SGE results about half of the time. Not great for us search marketers! But according to Authoritas the worst part is “these new types of generative results introduce more opportunities for third-party sites and even competitors to rank for your brand terms and related brand and product terms that you care about” since competitor’s pages could be included in the same SGE results as yours. Keep an eye on this one, folks. In other paid search ranking news…

Google changed the definition of ‘top ads’.

Call me crazy, but I assumed that top ads were placed above organic results, at the top of the page… however, Google updated the official definition of top ads to say that they usually appear above organic results, but may show below the top organic results for some queries. It seems like Google may be moving forward with its idea to show ads between organic results, which they tested in 2023. This could be a good thing for advertisers – if Google starts serving ads in traditionally organic placements, that may mean more ad space for sale overall on page 1 of the SERP. Now for my final bit of search news…

Are AI bots a better search tool than Google?

TL;DR… No. A journalist at The Verge took the most commonly Googled queries and fed them to various chatbots to see if AI is the Google search killer everyone’s claiming it to be. And AI lost the fight against Google in numerous ways. For navigational searches, like Googling ‘Amazon’ to get to, AI flopped. For informational queries, like ‘current NFL game scores’, AI was often straight-up wrong… another flop. The takeaway was – rather than AI being a Google-killer, it’s more likely Google will incorporate AI in its search results, offering the best of both worlds. And they’re already doing it with SGE, so we won’t be seeing the end of Google any time soon. Now let’s gossip about another Google product…

Google Analytics was bugging yesterday, showing zero real-time traffic.

If you noticed zero real-time traffic in GA4 yesterday, your site didn’t suddenly drop off. Google confirmed a bug was causing this metric to appear empty. They rolled out a fix late US-time last night, so you should be all set now. I just wanted to let you know that if you saw those zeros yesterday… it wasn’t just you! Anyways, in the world of eCommerce…

The EU is forcing Amazon to publish an ads library.

As a result of the Digital Markets Act, Amazon will have to provide a publically accessible library of all ads running on its platform. This is great for transparency, sure, but I’m more excited about the ability to search for my competitor’s ads. If you haven’t read our post about using the Facebook Ads library for competitive analysis, check it out to understand why this is an exciting thing for us advertisers. And I have some other exciting news for B2B marketers in particular…

LinkedIn’s new feature enables users to chat with brands.

It’s called ‘Pages Messaging.’ Activating this feature will produce a ‘Message’ button on your company’s LinkedIn page so users can easily reach out to you and ask questions or schedule demos. In the world of LinkedIn marketing, brands benefit from posting like people. Now, users can chat with brands like they’re people too. 

That's the scoop for this week, my digital darlings. In the dynamic digital marketing world, staying static isn't an option. Let's adapt, innovate, and maybe enjoy a little schadenfreude watching our competitors scramble to keep up. Until next week, stay sassy, stay savvy.

You know you love me.

Maddie Marinsider

Marin Software
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