The hype surrounding ChatGPT and other AI concepts of OpenAI is a warning sign for anyone involved in search engine marketing or website traffic today. AI in online marketing is not new, but the development is happening so rapidly that it is worth taking a closer look today. Google, the indisputable leader among Western search engines, has declared the red alert. This means that the most important business model – search engine ads and market leadership – is seen as endangered.
What this is all about becomes all the more aware when you consider the connection between Microsoft and OpenAI. At a presentation convened at short notice on 08.02.2023, Microsoft will present its plans to integrate ChatGPT into the search engine Bing and the Windows browser Edge. Users of these Microsoft products will become fewer (not at all?) Enter keywords into the search slot, but they will simply ask the search engine.
Far-reaching implications of AI in search engines
The integration of powerful AI such as ChatGPT or Google’s counter-concept Bard is not about modernizing old search engine concepts. Instead, we are witnessing a stark paradigm shift comparable to the rise of the Google search engine and its link graph theory. Such changes happen like a landslide: they start small, you hardly notice the change on the surface, but once you slip, no stone is left unturned.
The paradigm shift can already be seen in the area of content creation. Professional copywriting today usually takes place within AI tools that are still based on old models such as GPT3. They prescribe texts or reformulate them. It is a matter of time before such tools are able to research information and write complete books.
AI: Search engines in transition
The change in search engines will be similarly serious. The goal is a portable system that turns voice search into a dialogue. Will people accept if the answer contains paid advertising, or if not the best, but the most expensive answer wins? Space for paid ads is running out. This may also be the reason why Google only appears today with its AI, quite spontaneously and surprisingly. They have known for a long time that real intelligent systems leave no room for search advertising.
We would therefore like to look at 5 theses for the demise of traditional online marketing and then 5 theses about the emergence of a new online marketing.
Theses on the demise of traditional online marketing
1. Traditional paid ads will lose relevance as AI responds directly to questions.
As AI technology advances, traditional paid ads may become less relevant. That’s because AI-based answers now respond directly to questions asked by users in natural language processing. As a result, personalized search results are provided that are tailored to the user’s interests and needs.
In most cases, only a single answer is given, which either satisfies the user or which the user refines by asking questions. This means that traditional paid ads aren’t as effective as they used to be because they can’t compete with the more personalized and tailored responses provided by AI chatbots and AI search engines.
2. The importance of traditional search terms and keywords will decrease.
As technology advances, traditional search terms and keywords become less important. Context-based searches will increase as they provide users with more relevant results. This means that content creators should focus more on delivering value-added content that is tailored to the needs of their target audience.
Context-based search not only uses keywords, but also includes the search history and the current reality of the user’s life. So far, the context has been a very privacy-relevant topic. If the search engine knows what we do regularly when and where, then it is suspected of being able to manipulate us. In addition, such personal data is also the holy grail for governments, secret services, corporations or criminals. By shifting the context into complex AI, it becomes obfuscated and blurred. This can put data protection concerns into perspective.
3. The importance of context and meaning will increase.
With the increasing use of AI-based search algorithms, the importance of context and meaning could become even more important. The more sophisticated these algorithms become, the better they understand the intent behind a user’s search query and provide results that are more relevant to their needs. This could have a huge impact on the relevance of paid ads, as advertisers need to make sure their ads are not only relevant but also meaningful.
By understanding the context and meaning of search queries, AI-based search algorithms can help deliver content that is better tailored to users’ needs. This could lead to an increase in click-through rates for advertisers and a higher ROI for their campaigns. Therefore, it could be crucial for online marketers to understand the importance of context and meaning in paid advertising in order to remain competitive in an increasingly crowded market.
For Google as the market leader, however, this has a huge downside: if search ads are more context-oriented, i.e. the situation of the searcher, they are more likely to be hidden in case of doubt. As a result, the competition in the auction models of Google Ads decreases and also false clicks disappear. AI in paid ads therefore has a negative effect on the price and at the same time a negative effect on the market volume. In the end, Google fares similarly to many publishers with Google Adsense – which has long since lost its suitability as a primary source of income for advertisers.
4. Online marketers need to adapt to master the interaction between AI and users.
With the increasing interaction of AI and search engines, online marketers face the challenge of adapting their strategies to the changing environment. As AI-based technologies become more advanced, it is also becoming increasingly difficult for online marketers to stay relevant in the digital age. They need to be able to keep up with the latest trends and use them to their advantage when it comes to marketing their products or services.
In addition, they need to be clear about how AI-based technologies can be used to optimize online marketing strategies. This includes the use of AI-driven tools such as natural language processing (NLP) and machine learning (ML) algorithms for content optimization and personalization. In addition, they need to understand how the new search engine algorithms work to ensure that their content is presented by Google and other search engines. It is important to appear at the right time with the right content. Search results pages and positions are then obsolete: There is only position 1.
5. Users will spend less time scrolling through search results.
By using a personalized search experience, users are likely to spend less or no time scrolling through search results, minimizing the importance of ads and traditional content.
The search experience is not necessarily shortened, because it will be much easier in the future to refine the search by asking more questions to the search engine. The motto “Who does not ask remains stupid” applies even more in AI search engines!
For the content creator or editor, this means finding out what questions users will ask for each general question. If, for example, a search engine user asks “Which car models are particularly economical?” and then receives a ranking list, then further questions are inevitable. For example, the order could then be “Include comfort, range, acquisition costs and the availability of workshops in your recommendation.” Of course, the search experience doesn’t end here.
Theses on the emergence of a new online marketing
6. AI-powered ads based on the individual needs and interests of the user are gaining in importance.
With the increasing use of AI-based search algorithms, personalized advertising is gaining in importance. AI-powered ads are not only more effective, but also cheaper than traditional advertising methods. They can be used to create highly targeted campaigns that produce better results for businesses. In addition, personalized ads allow businesses to build a better relationship with their customers by better understanding their needs and interests.
7. Marketers will focus even more on creating relevant and high-quality content that is useful for AI.
As AI technology continues to evolve, marketers need to focus more on creating content that is both relevant and of high quality. This content should be able to harness the power of AI technology to improve the customer experience and increase sales.
Content created with an understanding of customer needs and preferences helps AI better engage its audience. In addition, high-quality content helps build trust between the brand and its customers, which ultimately leads to increased engagement and loyalty. This suggests that branding will experience a certain boost in AI-powered voice search.
8. There will be a revolution in voice search and voice assistants.
With the advent of AI chatbots like ChatGPT and Bard, businesses are paying more attention to voice search and voice assistants again. This greatly simplifies the use of speech recognition and natural language processing to allow users to search for information and interact with devices. Until now, users of speech recognition or voice search had to adhere to certain rules. They had to memorize commands or speak unnaturally to reduce errors.
Voice search and voice assistants will revolutionize the way we interact with technology. With the advancement of voice assistants, speech recognition, and AI-powered Q&A, it’s getting easier and easier for users to find what they need with a simple voice command.
As more and more people use these technologies, agencies and companies need to adapt their strategies to reach and engage with customers through voice search. This will help them stay ahead of the competition by offering unique experiences specifically tailored to each customer’s needs.
9. AI-based marketing and management will play a greater role, with a greater focus on algorithms and automation.
Digital transformation is changing the way businesses work, and AI-based marketing will be at the forefront of this change. Automated marketing strategies are becoming more achievable as they increase efficiency and reach the mainstream through quantum leaps and competition in the field of AI.
AI-based tools can be used to create small-scale personalized content, automate processes and optimize campaigns. With AI in online marketing, companies can analyze data quickly and accurately to make decisions that help them achieve their goals faster. Analyses can be created fully automatically, enabling more frequent and accurate monitoring – at lower costs.
At the end of the development, there are concepts for AI-based corporate management that may be able to replace supervisory boards and large parts of the C-level in companies with AI. Instead of a CFO or CTO who determines the guidelines of finance and technology, an AI can holistically monitor these aspects, define strategies and write instructions to the executive departments.
10. New technologies and processes based on AI, natural language search, automatic research and AI generators will emerge
In the digital age, AI-based tools and processes are becoming critical to success. The specialized tools can help automate tasks, make searches more efficient, and provide natural language search capabilities. This means that companies can save time and money while improving the quality of their work.
As a result of these technological developments, we are seeing a shift in the way people work. AI generators make it easier for creatives, decision-makers and clerks alike to create content quickly and efficiently. Natural language search helps reduce manual work and improve search accuracy. In addition, AI-based technologies help streamline processes for businesses of all sizes.
Outlook: A change as big as the invention of the smartphone
These new AI-based technologies and processes will have a huge impact on how online marketers work in the digital age, increasing efficiency while reducing costs, but also destroying many agency and corporate jobs. In contrast to previous automation, not only lower-skilled jobs will be affected.
But that’s where it starts. Until now, it was inconceivable to use a computer “headless”, i.e. without technical crutches, which we call “input devices”. However, if computers can understand us, understand our linguistic queries and answer or respond comprehensively to them, then there is no longer any need for a touchscreen. It also doesn’t need a keyboard to compose text like this. As a result of this development, computers are becoming assistants that can finally be meaningfully integrated into clothing, watches or glasses. It doesn’t take a visionary like Steve Jobs to appreciate this change highly enough.
This change begins at the bottom and continues into the supervisory boards. It will be very interesting to see how society, which is still rubbing its eyes with fascination, reacts to these new opportunities and risks. However, we should also look with great interest at the corporations. The current race for the best AI is driven by competition from Alphabet (Google) and Microsoft (Bing).
If Alphabet and Microsoft come to the conclusion (or rather: the agreement) that they are abolishing themselves through this AI, then they can just as easily end the development. Just as Google has long anticipated and suppressed this development in order to protect its cash cow Google Ads. There is no other explanation for the fact that Google is able to counter Bard with an OpenAI and its GPT equal AI system within a few weeks. It was already ready for the market.