Google will prioritize AI summary ads over organic search results

AI Overviews Ads

Speakers at Google’s Marketing Live event showed how they will use user searches and AI Overviews content to serve interactive shopping ads that will push organic search rankings even lower, stating that Google “faimed at creating new opportunities for your company.

We like to think of Google Search engineers as responsible for search results, but as the DOJ antitrust trial showed, engineers are increasingly just co-contributors to the SERPs, while other advertising industry teams and layers of corporate SVPs also contribute and make decisions take over what those SERPs ultimately look like. I suspect that if the search team had its way, the SERPs would look different than they turned out.

Google: we’re not just building a better search engine

The first speaker, Philipp Schindler, SVP & Chief Business Officer at Google, said out loud what Googlers normally don’t do when he said that the purpose of search results is to show ads.

He made the comment in the context of a new AI video tool that will help YouTube creators create more content.

At 18:19 minutes of the event, Schindler boasted:

“We collaborated with some very talented filmmakers, musicians and artists, and the results were simply incredible. We’ll soon be bringing video to short films, opening up a whole new world of creative possibilities for you and your brands. Imagine if every creator had the power of AI in their pocket.

So what does this all mean for you? More creators creating more quality content attract more viewers, which means more reach, engagement and ROI for you. We’re not just building a better search engine or a better YouTube. We are focused on creating new opportunities for your business.”

Screenshot from the Google Marketing event

The claim that Google uses AI Overviews and Search to build reach and ROI for advertisers is not alone. The next two speakers made the same point.

Search and Shopping ads in AI overviews

The next speaker was Vidhya Srinivasan, VP/GM, Advertising at Google. She begins by describing how search experiences will drive traffic to websites. He then quickly shifts gears to show how interactive advertising will literally push organic search results out of the view of users performing the searches.

After 30 minutes of the video, Srinivasan explained:

“AI overviews appear in search results when they are particularly useful beyond what search offers today. As we continue to test and evolve the search experience, we remain hyper-focused on driving valuable traffic to publishers and creators. But more user research options lead to more choice, and more choice leads to more opportunities for advertisers.

You may have noticed that we already show ads above and below AI overviews. These advertisements are tailored to the user’s search query. We’ll now start testing Search and Shopping ads in AI listings for US users.

What is also new is that we will not only match these advertisements with the search context, but also with the information within the AI ​​overviews. And as always, ads are clearly labeled.”

1. AI Listings – No Organic Listings

2. Scroll down to Shopping ads

She then described an example of wrinkled clothing while traveling and turned to Google Search to find ways to prevent the wrinkles. She shows a search activity for Travel Hacks and shows how organic search results are pushed under the AI ​​Summaries feature and new Search and Shopping ads that contain product images and appear much more often than any search results.

She explained how the new AI Overviews shopping ads will be there to convert searchers:

“With the AI ​​overview, I quickly found some common travel hacks that sounded promising. While browsing through the many options, I found a really nice solution: an anti-wrinkle spray that I had never heard of before. So perfect. I want to try that.

Now with this feature I can just click on this ad right away and buy it.

As you can see, we’re just making it easier and faster for consumers so they can take action right away. So this is just one example of how we use Gen AI. There are many more, and we will start to see more applications in search advertising.”

3. Targeted ads based on AI overviews

Google Search is the bait

Google’s search engines use the most advanced technology and data to create the most useful search results ever in Google’s history; this is the best ever. But according to the people in charge at Google, Search’s goal isn’t “to organize the world’s information and make it universally accessible and useful,” but to drive more “reach, engagement and ROI” for advertisers. to build. Sam Altman was right when he called what Google is doing dystopian.

SEOs were socially engineered

Social engineering is the management of people’s behavior to make them perform in a certain way. Google encouraged a significant part of the web ecosystem to use concepts like Core Web Vitals (CWV) and also Experience, Expertise, Authoritativeness and Trustworthiness (EEAT) to rank in Google and delight users. A lot of time, effort and money was spent on upgrading websites and it was all managed by Google.

But for what purpose? Was it all in service of advertisers ‘offering new opportunities’?

It’s not the fault of the Googlers who put their hearts into perfecting search results. They do an excellent job. But it’s clear that Google’s mission is no longer to make information accessible and useful. Taking what was said at this conference at face value, it appears that this has all been in the service of increasing reach and ROI for advertisers.

Watch the Google Marketing Live Keynote 2024

Featured image by Shutterstock/pikselstock

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