The digital space has become oversaturated with content, making it ever more difficult for brands...
Search Evolution 2023. Google, Amazon, TikTok, ChatGPT, and What it Means for Brands
Human psychology is based on search. We look for information, food, friends, jobs, and so much more. We look for answers to our questions, ways to solve problems and improve our lives.
During the last 10 years, the digital ecosystem had Google as a synonym for all things search. Google was the go-to engine for most individuals regardless of what type of search they were conducting, be it looking for an article, image, piece of news, video, or local information. Google's market share in search was close to 100% for a very long time.
Before Google, small and medium-sized businesses (SMBs) had limited options for marketing and advertising their products or services. The most common ways of reaching potential customers were through radio and television, which were expensive and often beyond the budgets of SMBs. Other options included print advertising, direct mail campaigns, and word-of-mouth marketing. All of these methods were time-consuming, expensive, and often had limited reach.
Not only Google helped organize the world's information (that's their mission statement), but they also made it possible for SMBs to be discovered by customers through organic visibility and very affordable advertising solutions. Google's search algorithms were based on relevance to the query and not a business size, helping even a small business be found online. Google's AdWords, Google Analytics, and other tools also allowed SMBs to better understand and target their audience, leading to improved ROI on their marketing efforts.
Google's dominance in search was first challenged when people moved to mobile
Mobile phones have changed everything. All information is available at our fingertips when we need it. And it has influenced how people access information, too. On desktop, Google was mostly always the first website people would open before getting to what it is they needed. On mobile, more and more often, that step is no longer needed – we go directly to an app, bypassing Google in most cases. This has created the first major shift for brands, customers, and Google.
Search has started migrating to a channel where a customer is
This shift has enabled social media, messaging apps, and marketplace apps to become the new search engines, as they offer a more tailored search experience that is more relevant and easily accessible to the user. The new landscape is ever-evolving, and brands need to adjust their approach accordingly, by creating and constantly optimizing content that is relevant for omnichannel brand presence and discovery.
- In 2022, 61% of US shopping searches started on Amazon, seriously affecting ad spending.
- For 40% of the younger audiences, search now begins on social media, a Google executive suggested that TikTok and Instagram are taking a share of its traffic.
- People often use social networks to ask for recommendations from their friends and colleagues, such as where to find the best food, the best places to shop, or the best services to use. This also includes professional advice on networks like LinkedIn.
- Image search is becoming popular, with visual content importance growing for brands.
- Hashtag search is a way to find content on Twitter and Instagram
- "How to..." videos are often the first step in finding the answers to complex questions.
- Voice search is increasing to find information quickly, especially with the introduction of virtual assistants such as Siri and Alexa.
Despite facing a lot of competition on mobile and from apps, Google is still the world’s top website.
Search engines remain the #1 source of how people find information about brands, according to Hootsuite.
To be successful, brands need to continue creating content that is optimized for Google and other platforms – search is becoming more complex and multi-faceted, and brands need to be prepared to adjust their strategies accordingly.
Is ChatGPT, a craze of the last several weeks of 2022, a threat to Google?
Google’s dominance has recently been challenged by ChatGPT, a new advanced AI model that can interact in a conversational way.
The release of ChatGPT has caused some alarm within Google’s ranks. According to a New York Times article, “Although ChatGPT still has plenty of room for improvement, its release led Google’s management to declare a ‘code red.’ Some fear the company may be approaching a moment that the biggest Silicon Valley outfits dread — the arrival of an enormous technological change that could upend the business.”
Google uses AI extensively across most of its products, and even if not visible to the public, they sure have many solutions that would be competitive with ChatGPT. We can’t wait to see how this competition will spark new innovations and even greater advances for customers and brands.
What does it all mean for brands?
Irrespective of how and where people discover your brand or your product, high-quality content is essential. It should be relevant to the audience, channel, and brand's communication and objectives, and optimized accordingly.
For example, website materials should meet SEO and usability requirements to ensure that your content gets organic traffic, unlike 90% of copy on the Internet. Or that you avoid unintentional duplicates and other pitfalls that could hurt your rankings.
For brands that want to connect with audiences through content, here is a short checklist:
✅ Is your content truly relevant to your audience?
✅ Are you using storytelling techniques to connect with your customers?
✅ Is the brand's tone of voice consistent across platforms?
✅ Are you testing different forms of content?
✅ Are you keeping up with the changes in the platform algorithms? How frequently do you check for updates?
✅ Are you using data to inform your content strategy?
✅ Are you tracking the engagement metrics?
What’s new in content creation in 2023
We now live in a very interesting time, when human and artificial intelligence get combined. Data helps brands understand what content needs to be produced to meet customer intent and the brand’s communication goals, and AI now allows for achieving efficiencies in quality and time that were not possible, or even imaginable, before. But these are just tools to augment and scale the work done by us, humans.
Intentful is a new type of content creation company. Our approach is built on a unique combination of human creativity, the use of data insights, artificial intelligence, and a deep understanding of engagement metrics that drive performance.
Contact Intentful team to get more details.