100 years ago when we were lost or a loved one was sick, we would pray to the heavens. Today, we turn to a search bar for answers. But whether it’s Google, Amazon for product searches or even Tiktok for Gen Z, search is ripe for disruption. Enter Conversational AI.
OpenAI’s ChatGPT caught everyone’s attention after its December 2022 release. For many, it became clear this was a better search experience than a page of blue links. Microsoft has since given us a preview of AI-powered search by integrating ChatGPT into the new and improved Bing. Google responded with its own Bard AI in early February.
Yes, there is a lot of hype and each of these roll outs have had their issues, but Microsoft is capitalizing on interest and demand by gating the new Bing AI; users can skip the waitlist if they make Bing their default search engine and install the Bing mobile app.
There is little reason to doubt we are on the precipice of another dramatic shift in digital behavior.
Conversational AI will transform search advertising over the next 2-3 years and introduce behavioral changes that shift consumer expectations. Improved consumer experiences and better results will mean more adoption. But what does this mean for you and your business today?
Our expert team of search marketers and engineers have compiled a guide for you to prepare for the changes ahead:
Start using chat-based AI
You’ll immediately get a better sense of how chat-based AI will change behavior and expectations by trying it out yourself. Getting a direct answer is 10x better than sifting through websites for an answer.
- Play with ChatGPT
- Begin to test AI writing tools like Jasper.AI, Quillbot, and Wordsmith. See our post here for more details.
- Get a glimpse of future AI-powered Search Engines with NeevaAI
Keep an eye on how the SERP evolves
The Search Engine Results Page (SERP) already tries to answer questions to common fact-based queries with Featured Snippets and Knowledge Panels, but chat-based AI will take this to another level.
- Anticipate that AI will distill results down to 2-3 answers vs multiple pages of results. Less breadth, more depth.
- Expect more search products to emerge that keep users on the SERP (like Google’s Featured Snippets and Knowledge Panels).
- SERP-based shopping feeds and carousel ads may gain increased relevance as AI begins to recommend products based on ratings and availability.
- Users may have higher confidence in ads delivered by AI, resulting in higher CTR and ROI.
Evaluate your business model and customer journey
How might AI search disrupt your business model, customer journey, and role of your website? If you rely on search to drive traffic to your site, chat may begin to shift users away from your owned and earned properties.
- Prepare for potential site-traffic drops: AI may begin to pull more content from sites and serve it directly in the SERP. For example, Bing is already starting to pull content from recipe sites into the SERP and serve more ads in the process:
- If you're in the business of aggregating results (e.g., comparison sites, online travel agents) you may want to diversify your offering. The launch of Google Travel was already threatening sites like Orbitz and Expedia. AI Search may only accelerate the trend.
- Audit your customer journey. If you use a BI tool or cross-channel bid management platform, keep a close eye on attribution across channels. Consider where other channels may play an increased role in driving conversions to - or away from - your website.
Adjust your budgets and channel mix for increased competition
As consumer behavior evolves, monetization will also shift.
- If search results shift to a short list of AI-generated answers, ads will become more expensive on a per-unit basis. More competition for fewer ad spaces will mean higher CPCs (cost per click).
- Diversify your channel mix: Gen Z uses Tiktok more than Google to search, discover, and recommend. Anticipate that other channels will capitalize on the diversification of search by drawing more customers to their platforms with new search features.
- Partner with your publisher, agency, and technology partners to seek beta opportunities. New ad formats will be tested over the coming months - be part of the experiment!
- Ensure you can monitor how your budgets are pacing across channels, and be fluid with your spend targets across publishers. Optionally, leverage a bid-management tool with machine learning capabilities to monitor and adjust your marketing budgets for you.
Review your Bing accounts
Bing is getting a lot of renewed attention, and may continue to increase its market share at Google’s expense.
- Audit your existing Bing account structure. Begin to test new keyword match types and monitor changes in search queries over the coming months.
- Be prepared for higher volume of search queries on Bing, and better ROI for ads.
- If your competitors are moving to Bing, you’ll want to be there as well. If your competitors aren’t, this may be an opportunity to reach new customers.
Auditing your channel mix and expanding search campaigns from Google to Bing to prepare for an uncertain future can be arduous. Sure - exporting campaigns, ad groups, ads and keywords in a bulk sheet isn’t complicated. But replicating your settings, then tracking the changes and going back and forth between two interfaces to analyze differences may be time you just don’t have.
We’re here to help. MarinOne automates the account replication process between Google and Bing for you. We also enable you to view and manage all your paid marketing channels in one interface so you can automate bid and budget rules across publishers.
Additionally, our new Budget Optimizer tool uses machine-learning to identify where to invest your next dollar across your entire marketing portfolio and paces to spend targets to avoid over or underspending.
Don’t wait for AI to transform search. Be confident that your search marketing efforts can withstand any and all changes from Search AI transforming consumer behavior in the months and years to come.
If you’d like, we’d be happy to audit your Bing account and show you how MarinOne can give you the upper hand. Sign up for a consultation with our team below and we can show you how in just 15 minutes!