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With Microsoft’s announcement of AI-enhanced Bing search and Edge browser features and Google’s rebuttal with its unveiling of BARD, the paid search world has its eyes on the two tech giants, anticipating their next move and wondering how AI will affect PPC.

There is no doubt that search as we know it is evolving. However, the timeline in which that happens and to what extent the landscape will change is yet to be seen. While wonky conversations with the chatbot integrated into Bing search have stolen headlines, the AI features that will affect PPC lie underneath the hood.

How Will SERPs & the Ad Landscape Change?

With the introduction of ChatGPT, Google and Bing have taken the initiative to implement AI into Search, with search engine results pages (SERPs) being at the forefront of this change. Users can often find the information they are looking for without clicking into a link for the information.

Bing’s AI & Google’s Bard AI

Microsoft shocked the digital marketing world when they announced a new AI-powered Bing Search engine. Microsoft decided to embrace ChatGPT’s technology and implement it into their search engine, which uses an upgraded version of the technology to create a seamless user experience.

What this means for SERPs is that a greater sense of relevant information will be provided for the user’s search. Similarly, Google launched new AI technology to further enhance their search engine as well, which they are calling Bard.

How Will AI Affect Your Paid Search Strategy?

While many marketers are nervous about what AI could impact, we should be looking to embrace this new technology and adjust our strategies. It’s important to be proactive when it comes to technology, just as we were proactive when it came to the Google Analytics 4 (GA4) transition.

With the transition toward AI, brands will need to have a stronger Display presence. When diving into this new technology, our teams noticed that consumers’ searches have been shown a heavier number of images than before. Including high-quality images within your Display campaigns will be crucial to be at the forefront of this transition.

Another initiative we recommend is including more broad match keywords. When looking at this from a consumer’s perspective, this new AI technology will allow consumers to search for things in a more conversational way. This could potentially make long-tailed keywords more prevalent, which will make it important for your ads reach a broader audience and show up when users search.

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Frequently Asked Questions About AI for PPC

Q: Will the way people search change?

A: AI chatbots are more conversational in nature, which is counterintuitive based on how Google has trained users to search. If conversational search picks up, broad match keywords will become even more important as queries become longer and more text heavy (which could be why Google has been pushing for broad match so hard recently).

Q: Will the ad landscape truly look that much different?

A: 80% of search queries can be considered informational and not commercial. Regardless, bots like ChatGPT are still scraping the internet to learn and provide answers to questions, so the source data is not changing.

If bots like ChatGPT do become applicable for commercial queries, the market is too lucrative for Google and Microsoft to not try to capitalize on how a bot would push out an answer to a query like “best wine opener” or “adjustable monitor stand for sale”.

Whether this is determined through OptiScore, overall investment, leveraging certain assets and account features, or some kind of combination, the return on investment for AI like ChatGPT has to be covered somewhere along the way. Covering the cost may ultimately fall on advertisers. If the solution is to simply expand your keyword catalog, this will be the case. Increased ad investment may be the ideal strategy for Google and Microsoft as queries become more unique.

Q: What will paid ads look like?

A: It depends – in chat or in search? Google’s Bard is going to eat up a ton of space on SERPs, especially on mobile. Google’s NORA (Not One Right Answer) focuses on subjective questions (best, worst, etc.) and spits out a compilation of sources backed by AI with the goal of creating a more diverse, open web experience. Display may be much more important; if ChatGPT begins to send people directly to webpages before they have a chance to scroll through a SERP, capturing advertising traffic may only be possible once a user lands on a page.

Q: What does ChatGPT for Bing look like?

A: Imagine a customer is shopping on Bing for a wine bottle opener. In Edge’s sidebar, the user can ask ChatGPT to scan the web for wine bottle openers with the highest reviews under $30 on the web, format it into a table, download it, and compare products from multiple sources in one minute or so. Google’s Bard will be able to take six images of a single product and formulate a 3D model. Bing’s integration is still grounded in human training and thinking, indicating that the same signals we now use to determine effective ads will remain untouched.

Tying It All Together

As Premier Partners with Google and Elite Agency Partners with Microsoft, we are presented with new offerings and features within Google and Bing constantly. We react quickly, jumping on the opportunity to enhance your ad campaigns with cutting-edge tools and innovative strategy. Conversations regarding AI and its potential effects on PPC call for more proactive responses to ensure we are well-equipped for this new era of search.

Our PPC experts are passionate about delivering strategies that not only help you achieve your goals but also save money, grow profitably, and mitigate risk. To explore the opportunities we can discover for you, send a message to our team today.

PPC is just one half of the puzzle when it comes to the impacts of AI on search. To learn about ChatGPT from an organic perspective, read our blog on Using AI for SEO.