How SGE Will Impact Paid Search in the Future

May 13, 2024
5 min read

Paid search marketing is about to undergo a major transformation with Google's upcoming Search Generative Experience (SGE). This AI-driven innovation is set to change how users interact with search engines, bringing both challenges and opportunities for smart advertisers.

What is Google SGE?

At its core, Google SGE harnesses the power of generative AI to provide users with direct, contextual answers to their queries, rather than the traditional list of blue links. By analysing a vast trove of data, the AI-driven system can synthesise comprehensive responses, reducing the need for users to navigate through multiple web pages.

This shift in search behaviour has sparked widespread discussions and reactions from industry experts and publishers alike. 

While some foresee a substantial decline in website traffic, others believe SGE could open up new avenues for brands to showcase their expertise and connect with their target audience.

The Evolving Paid Search Landscape

With Google SGE gaining traction, the paid search landscape is set for a major shift. Advertisers need to adjust their strategies to succeed in this new era, carefully navigating the details of ad placements, targeting, and performance metrics.

Redefining Ad Placement and Formats

One of the most significant changes brought about by SGE is the integration of ads within the AI-powered search results. 

Whereas traditional SERPs featured a clear delineation between organic and paid content, SGE blurs these boundaries, with ads appearing both above and below the AI-generated summaries.

This shift necessitates a reevaluation of ad creative and messaging, as the content must seamlessly integrate with the conversational nature of the SGE experience. 

Advertisers will need to prioritise developing concise, informative ad copy that resonates with users seeking direct answers, rather than relying on attention-grabbing calls-to-action.

Evolving Targeting and Bidding Strategies

The introduction of SGE also calls for a recalibration of targeting and bidding strategies. As users increasingly rely on AI-powered summaries to satisfy their informational needs, the focus may shift away from traditional bottom-of-the-funnel keywords toward more upper-funnel, exploratory queries.

Advertisers need to keep a close eye on search trends and user behaviour to spot emerging opportunities in the SGE landscape. Bidding strategies might need tweaking to accommodate shifts in click-through rates and cost-per-click, as users become more selective in engaging with paid content.

Navigating Shifting Performance Metrics

The impact of SGE on traditional paid search metrics, such as click-through rates and cost-per-click, is a topic of much discussion and speculation. 

Some experts predict a decline in these metrics, others believe that the increased relevance and quality of ad placements within SGE could lead to improved conversion rates and return on ad spend.

Advertisers must be prepared to shift their focus from vanity metrics to more holistic performance indicators, such as cost-per-action and return on ad spend. Collaborating closely with Google representatives and closely monitoring the evolution of SGE will be crucial in adapting to these changes and maintaining the profitability of paid search campaigns.

The Rise of Integrated Search Strategies

As the search landscape evolves, the lines between paid and organic search are becoming increasingly blurred. 

Savvy advertisers will need to adopt a more holistic, integrated approach, leveraging the synergies between their paid and organic efforts to maximise their visibility and impact.

Aligning Paid and Organic Strategies

In the SGE era, having a strong organic presence will be more important than ever. While paid ads will still be vital for driving traffic and conversions, AI-powered summaries could boost the visibility of authoritative, high-quality content, whether it's paid or organic.

Advertisers must work closely with their SEO counterparts to ensure that their content and website infrastructure align with the evolving search landscape. Factors such as expertise, authoritativeness, and trustworthiness will become increasingly important in determining which results are featured within the SGE experience.

Embracing the Power of Multimedia

As SGE integrates visual elements and multimedia content into its search results, advertisers must adapt their creative strategies accordingly. Incorporating engaging visuals, videos, and interactive elements into their paid campaigns can help them stand out within the AI-powered search experience and capture the attention of users.

By seamlessly blending paid and organic efforts, advertisers can create a cohesive, multi-faceted presence that resonates with their target audience, regardless of their initial point of entry into the search experience.

Preparing for the Future of Paid Search

The impending rollout of Google SGE represents a watershed moment for the paid search industry. Advertisers who embrace this change and proactively adapt their strategies will be well-positioned to thrive in the years to come.

Cultivating Agility and Adaptability

Regularly monitoring industry trends, experimenting with new ad formats and targeting strategies, and collaborating closely with Google and industry peers will be crucial in navigating the challenges and opportunities presented by SGE.

Investing in Comprehensive Skill Development

Advertisers must expand their skill sets beyond traditional paid search tactics. Developing expertise in areas such as content creation, multimedia production, and integrated marketing strategies will be essential in crafting compelling, user-centric experiences that resonate within the AI-powered search environment.

Fostering Cross-Functional Collaboration

As the boundaries between paid and organic search become increasingly blurred, advertisers must foster closer collaboration with their SEO counterparts. By aligning their efforts and sharing insights, they can create a cohesive, data-driven strategy that maximises their visibility and impact across the entire search landscape.

Embracing the Future of Paid Search

Google's Search Generative Experience marks a pivotal moment in the evolution of paid search marketing. While the road ahead may present challenges, it also offers unprecedented opportunities for advertisers who are willing to embrace change, cultivate new skills, and forge a path towards a more integrated, user-centric approach to search marketing.

If you need advice or support with your paid marketing, get in touch for a chat.

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