Google will prioritize AI ad reviews over organic search

Speakers at the Google Marketing Live event demonstrated how they will use user search queries and AI Overviews content to display interactive shopping ads that will push organic search results even lower, saying that Google is “ffocused on discovering new opportunities for your business.

We like to think that Google Search engineers are in charge of search results, but as the DOJ antitrust lawsuit revealed, engineers are increasingly only sympathetic to the SERPs, with other teams in advertising and layers of business SVPs also contributing and making decisions about it what these SERPs end up looking like. I suspect that if the search team had their way, the SERPs would look different than what they have become.

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

The first speaker, Philip Schindler, senior vice president and chief business officer at Google, said out loud what Googlers usually don’t do when he said that the purpose of search results is to show advertising.

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

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

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

So what does this all mean for you? More creators creating better quality content attracts 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 discovering new opportunities for your business.”

The claim that Google is using AI Overviews and Search to build reach and ROI for advertisers isn’t the only one. The next two speakers did the same.

Search and shopping ads in AI reviews

The next speaker was Vidhya Srinivasan, VP/GM, Google Advertising. She begins by describing how the search experience will drive traffic to websites. He then quickly switches gears to show how interactive advertising will push organic search listings literally out of sight of users making search queries.

At the 30-minute mark of the video, Srinivasan explained:

“AI insights will appear in search results when they are particularly useful beyond what search offers today. As we continue to test and develop the search experience, we’ll remain super focused on sending valuable traffic to publishers and creators. But then, more avenues for consumer exploration lead to more choice, and more choice leads to more opportunity for advertisers.

You may have noticed that we are now showing ads above and below AI reviews. These ads are matched to the user’s search query. We will now begin testing search and shopping ads in AI reviews for US users.

What’s also new about this is that we’ll match these ads not only against the context of the query, but also against the information in the AI ​​reviews. And, as always, ads will be clearly labeled.”

1. AI Reviews – No organic listings

2. Scroll down for shopping ads

She then went on to describe an example of wrinkled clothes while traveling and turned to Google Search to find ways to prevent wrinkles. It shows search activity for travel hacks and shows how organic search results are being pushed under the AI ​​Overviews feature and new search and shopping ads that feature product images and pop up much higher than all search results.

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

“By reviewing the AI, I quickly found some common travel hacks that sounded promising. As I looked through the many options that came up, I found one really good solution, a wrinkle release spray that I had never heard of before. So perfect. I want to try this.

Now, with this feature, I can just click on that ad right there, right there, and buy it.

So as you can see, we’re just making it easier and faster for users so they can take action right away. So this is just one example of how we use Gen AI. There’s a lot more, and we’re going to start with more applications in search ads.”

3. Targeted ads based on AI reviews

Google Search is the bait

Google’s search engineers use the most advanced technology and data to create the most useful search results ever in Google’s history, the best it’s ever been. But according to the people really in charge at Google, the purpose of Search is not to “organize the world’s information and make it universally accessible and useful,” but to build more “reach, engagement and ROI” for advertisers. Sam Altman was right to call what Google is doing dystopian.

SEOs are socially engineered

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

But to what end? Was it all in the service of “opening up new opportunities” for advertisers?

It’s not the fault of Googlers who put their hearts into perfecting search. They do an outstanding job. But it’s clear that Google’s mission may no longer be to make information accessible and useful. If we take what was said at this conference at face value, it seems that it may all have been in the service of building greater reach and ROI for advertisers.

Watch the Google Marketing Live Keynote 2024

Featured image by Shutterstock/pixelstock

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