19 May 2023

How does last week’s AI Search Engine Experience update from Google impact Paid Search marketers?

After the announcement of Google's beta-launch of their all-new Generative AI Search Engine experience, our Head of Paid Search at mSix&Partners, Reece Collins takes us through a snapshot of the updates, how this impacts Paid Search and how our agency is choosing to move forward.

Last week, all eyes and ears were drawn to Google’s annual I/O event, possibly the most anticipated series of these events in recent years. If you were like me, you were probably tuned in to understand Google’s next move in the race to integrate artificial intelligence (AI) into their Search Engine experience.

With AI becoming increasingly powerful and pervasive, Google aims to leverage its capabilities to enhance user experiences, provide personalised services, and streamline various tasks.

After the rather unsuccessful launch of Google’s Bard which led to Microsoft pulling ahead in the race to integrate Generative AI, this was Google’s moment to showcase their ambitious long term plans to integrate AI across its entire range of products and services.

What is changing?

The key highlight of the day was Google previewing their soon to be launched, all-new AI powered search engine, which they’re calling Google Search Engine Generative Experience (SGE) - quite the mouthful! SGE is currently only available through the Google Labs waitlist - which, if you’re based in the US, means you’ll be waiting weeks until you’re able to play around with the new experience (unfortunately no timelines on other market’s rollout as yet).

But this provides agencies and advertisers an opportunity to digest the changes that we already know, understand how these changes will impact the Paid Search industry and how we can prepare to take advantage and gain a competitive edge.

I’m going to spend some time touching on some vital topics that our Paid Search specialists will be addressing with your channel owners.

  1. SGE is more conversational: Google users will be searching in a different way. Their search queries will be longer and more informative to provide Google more information (input) to receive a better response (output). In other words, we’re having to include a lot more information in our search query for Google to generate  a response we’re looking for. This means that we can expect more and more new search queries that Google have never seen before!
    • Google’s new Broad match keywords are even more vital than we originally believed. They offer a solution to match our targeted keywords to these new, longer search queries - therefore contributing to more reach and potential traffic to your websites.
    • A good or excellent Responsive Search Ad’s (RSA) ad strength is crucial. RSA’s are a machine learning product that allows Google’s algorithm to show the right variation of ad to the right type of audience. We risk limiting performance if we’re running Broad match keywords and our accounts have poor or average ad strength.
    • To ensure Broad match, RSA’s and other elements of your account work optimally (real-time optimisation and machine learning) - we suggest powering activity through Smart bidding strategies (preferably Value-based bidding). This will ensure performance is better aligned with your business objectives.
  2. There’s an expectation that users might search for products in a more situational way (for example: “bluetooth speaker for a pool party”). Google’s responses will be more informative and incorporate responses such as battery length, water resistance or sound quality.
    • The quality of your Product feed data is going to be more vital than ever. We suggest running shopping feed audits and engaging with feed partners to identify opportunities for improvement.
  3. From an &Search perspective, optimised on-site content is going to be crucial for organic rankings.
    • By sharing Paid Search data, such as landing page relevancy and quality scores, with our SEO counterparts - we can make better informed decisions to optimise content.

mSix&Partners POV on the change

We’re incredibly excited about the introduction of SGE. Google is attempting to be the frontrunner in the race to integrate generative AI in a responsible way and these recent announcements are truly game changing.

I see a huge opportunity for all our clients to be more personalised, offering a better user experience within the Search space and inevitably drive more reach and visibility than ever before.

Over the past few months, we’ve been placing a lot of importance on the benefits of Modern Search and taking our clients through the transition journey. With Google’s latest announcement, the timing couldn’t be better. Whether it’s campaign consolidation, use of Smart bidding strategies, testing of Broad Match keywords or importance in Creative Excellence - all these elements of Modern Search will help provide a competitive edge in anticipation for the all-new Google Search Engine Generative Experience.