🔎 SMARTER SEARCH

An unprecedented revolution in the search experience is unfolding right now


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Deepfate

An unprecedented revolution in the search experience is unfolding right now. Here's what you need to know about it to stay ahead

Google’s new search experience will put AI-generated answers at the top of the Search Engine Results Page, instead of serving up articles, blog posts, or sponsored posts (Google)

AI, SEARCH. SEARCH, AI

Last month Google officially announced that they’re bringing AI to search.

Soon, when you Google something, instead of ads and a list of articles and blog posts, you'll get an AI-generated summary on a nice looking pastel color background, that offers up a bit of context along with the answers you're looking for.

Before we dive in, a bit of context ourselves:

ChatGPT’s instantaneous, global success caught Google out. Since the end of 2022, they’ve been working flat out to roll out generative AI products of their own, starting with their own ChatGPT clone, called Bard.

But Google’s search engine marketshare is estimated to be >92%. Given that, Google’s upgraded search experience —not Bard— is poised to become the firm’s most popular/most used AI product.

RIP, SERP?

Google thinks their upgraded search tool (nicknamed SGE, for “Search Generative Experience”) will significantly change our expectations of search engines —and possibly even the entire Internet.

They say SGE will bring better info, and a greater level of personalization, to the Search Engine Results Page (aka SERP).

Will it? And, if so, how will SGE impact marketing and advertising? Let’s game things out.

SEO UNCERTAINTY

As others have also written, it is totally plausible that Google’s new SGE could reduce the number of clicks on both organic links (things like blog posts and articles) and on sponsored content (those ubiquitous Google ads at the top of the SERP). That’s because users will simply find the answers they want within that nifty, AI-generated summary up top.

No need to click through to anything, right?

Well, in reality, the situation is more nuanced than that.

CAPITALISM MOVES FAST

Zoom out: new products and services come to market every minute of every day. And their prices are dynamic too.

Trouble is, generative AI is not naturally amazing at staying on top of super timely info like that. That’s because generative AI is a computational system, meaning it works by analyzing a tremendous volume of existing material, and then uses statistics and probability to generate new material to answer specific queries.

And while generative AI can of course work with fresh data, rapidly evolving, dynamic inputs can lead to unstable, or even incorrect, outputs.

HUMAN TO HUMAN

But there’s something else worth thinking about as we ponder the future of search: sometimes we humans don’t want or even need hard answers to our queries. Sometimes, what we really want are opinions. Ideally, from other humans.

And while Google has clearly integrated real time, live search and its generative AI engine, the fact remains that AI is better at answering questions itself than it is letting users know what other humans think about things.

But we know that, for a lot of searches —especially those that involve purchases— people really want to know what other humans think.

One reason we know this because (as this newsletter has written) users are increasingly appending the word "Reddit" to their Google searches, so they can click through to read human written answers on Reddit’s comment boards.

Sidebar: Reddit itself is in the news these days because subreddit administrators are making their groups —and the collective knowledge they contain— private to protest some recent pricing changes.

OK, WHAT'S ALL THIS MEAN FOR MARKETERS?

For starters, when it comes to generating marketing content, humans (still) matter. A lot.

SEO and marketing experts believe that AI powered search will increase the importance of generating unique, entertaining, and informative content —with a human voice, experience, or opinion behind it.

Meaning: as generative AI gets better and better at creating quality content, marketers will need to use it in conjunction with talented, opinionated humans, in order to help ensure that their content is fresh, likeable, clear, actionable, and valuable.

BRANDS V AI

But here's the rub: brands are not only going to want to "compete" with AI generated content, they're also going to want to feed it. Talk about a frenemy.

Today, brands should start preparing for SGE by optimizing their online presence, and structuring their content in a way that makes it suitable for AI consumption.

Brands should also start embracing ever more natural-sounding language in all of their content. Funnily enough, this has always been a copywriting rule. Today, it’s more apt than ever: sound human.

On that front, brands should also train their focus on super conversational keywords, as well as so-called "long tail" queries. (Long tail queries is just fancy SEO speak for search queries that get a super small number of searches. These tend to be longer and super specific—and they also have high conversion rates.)

ADAPT OR PERISH

Google bringing generative AI into search is huge. The pros for users are clear: faster, more streamlined answers.

The pros for marketers and advertisers are less clear. If you’re selling anything, adapt your strategies now. Here’s the cheat sheet: unique, informative, likeable content with a human take is more important than ever.

More:

What Google Search Generative Experience means for marketers »»

The ongoing Reddit blackout, explained »»

You don't have to face the AI revolution alone. Fate v Future has been working with AI marketing tools since long before ChatGPT came on the scene. Our expertise goes beyond this newsletter —we're helping brands turn the tide in their favor in the era of AI-optimized search. Want to help ensure your brand thrives in this new landscape? Simply reply to this email with "ai". We’ll tell you all about how we work with brands to reinvent their online presence, elevate their content creation, and implement the right strategies for this new digital era. Don't just watch this AI era unfold, be a part of it. Reply with "ai" to start.

Written by Jon Kallus. Any feedback? Simply reply. Like this? Share it!

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