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22 Questions To Ask Hiring Managers (and HR) in a Job Interview

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22 Questions To Ask Hiring Managers (and HR) in a Job Interview

“Do you have any questions for me?” We’ve all been on the receiving end of that question in an interview.

Ask the right ones and you’ll make a strong impression. Otherwise, you risk blending in with the other applicants.

Discover some valuable questions that will make hiring managers’ and HR professionals’ ears perk up. Try them at your next interview and see how the conversation shifts in your favor.

Questions to Ask the Hiring Manager During Job Interviews

top questions to ask interviewer

1. How does this role contribute to larger company goals?

It’s not terribly difficult to find a candidate who can execute in a role. It is, however, terribly difficult to find a candidate who can also understand how it fits into larger goals.

This includes being able to self-manage, prioritize high-value activities, and grow their role in a direction that aligns with the company’s growth.

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How It Helps You

This information can be hard to come by if your company isn’t very communicative or transparent, so this is a good chance to get that information to use it to guide your decisions if you land the role.

2. What do the most successful new hires do in their first month here?

This question shows that you’re the type of person who likes to hit the ground running.

It also shows that you recognize patterns of success and want to replicate only the most effective performers.

How It Helps You

Every company has its weird nuances, its own environment, and its own unspoken expectations. This helps you start with a little bit of the insider info so you don’t suffer a case of “if I knew then what I knew now” in six months.

3. What metrics would you use to measure success in this role?

Asking a question like this shows that you’re goal-oriented and aren’t afraid to be held accountable for those goals. You don’t avoid accountability, you welcome it.

How It Helps You

It’s shocking how many people don’t actually know what they want from their employees beyond a vague idea of some work that needs to get done.

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Asking this question will force a hiring manager to figure it out – and then can communicate it to you, so you can execute on it.

4. What are some of the challenges or roadblocks I might come up against in this role?

A question like this indicates that you’re already envisioning yourself in the role and thinking through a plan of attack, should you land the gig.

It’s also a sign that you’re well aware that no job comes free of roadblocks. It signals that not only are you not afraid to deal with those challenges, but you’re also prepared for them.

How It Helps You

The response you receive should help you better understand some of the less-than-ideal aspects of the job – bureaucratic processes, internal politics, and so on.

You can use that information to decide if you’re up for the challenge.

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5. What is the biggest challenge the team has faced in the past year?

While the interviewer might be trying to paint a pretty perfect picture of what working on the team might look like, asking this question will help you uncover some of the realities the team has been facing recently.

If you end up joining, you’ll inevitably hear about these challenges – and you may have to help solve them, too.

How It Helps You

It really helps to know what challenges you could find yourself or your team up against ahead of time. In some cases, it could affect whether you accept the role.

Learning about these challenges could give you some great insights into the steps the team has taken to overcome these challenges already.

6. Why did you decide to work at this company?

This question gives an interviewer a chance to do two self-serving things: talk about themselves and perform a no-holds-barred sales pitch on the company.

For promising candidates, the sales opportunity is welcomed. And most people love any excuse to talk about themselves.

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How It Helps You

This gives you insight into what motivates your future colleague or manager, as well as what the company offers its employees. If those all line up with what you’re looking for in a job, you’ve got yourself a good fit.

7. What keeps you motivated?

If your interviewer has been at the company for a while, understanding why could give you some really interesting insight into the company and its relationship with its employees.

How It Helps You

Depending on the interviewer’s answer, you might learn something about the company’s career training, leadership opportunities, workplace flexibility, internal job opportunities, and more.

You might dig a little deeper by following up with related questions, like, “What do you enjoy most about working here?”

8. Do you host any events with the team outside of work?

Does everyone keep their head down and do their own thing? Or does everyone enjoy each other’s company? This interview question serves as a great way to find out a little bit about the company culture.

Ideally, there’s a good balance of work and life and the company creates opportunities for those to blend.

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How It Helps You

Along with learning about company culture, this is a more lighthearted question that might relax a stiffened atmosphere or lead to a conversation about shared interests.

9. What is your company’s customer or client service philosophy?

This is an impressive question because it shows that you can make the connection between how the company thinks about its customers and the end result.

In other words, how the customer is treated on a day-to-day basis, and in turn, how that shows up in the product.

How It Helps You

While you might be able to find a canned response to this question on the company’s website, it’ll be useful – and possibly eye-opening – for you to hear it more candidly from an employee.

10. What are some of the less tangible traits of successful people on this team?

Ever work with people who just get it? That’s who hiring managers are looking for.

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This question demonstrates that you understand a job is about more than just going through the motions. Successful people have a specific frame of mind, approach, attitude, work ethic, communication style, and so on – and you want to know what that mix looks like at this company.

How It Helps You

Because these characteristics are often hard to pin down, this question forces a hiring manager to articulate that “it” factor they’re really looking for – even if it wasn’t written in the job description.

11. What behaviors do the most successful members of the team exhibit?

Asking a question like this shows you’re interested in getting a practical example of what success looks like to the manager of the team you’d be joining.

Plus, when you phrase the question in this way, “you leave no room for a hypothetical answer,” says Dave Fernandez, a former recruiting team lead at HubSpot. Instead, you’re pushing the hiring manager to think about their top performer.

How It Helps You

Because this question forces an example, the answer to this question will give you a strong idea of what success actually looks like. That way, you’ll learn what it takes to impress your colleagues and be a star candidate.

12. What behaviors do the people who struggle most on the team exhibit?

Follow up question #9 with this question, and you’ll show the hiring manager that you’re really trying to get a concrete idea of what to do and what not to do as an employee on the specific team you’re applying to join, says Fernandez.

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While this question can make a manager uncomfortable, it’s impressive because it shows that you’re not afraid to ask tough questions.

How It Helps You

First, you’ll get an idea of what poor performance looks like, which will help you set expectations for the position.

Second, you’ll learn how the hiring manager handles a tough question like this – which can teach you something about how office politics are handled in general.

13. How do you deliver negative feedback?

If you would be working with the person interviewing you, this is another tough question that can give you some insight into how the team works.

It pushes the hiring manager to think about how they would handle an uneasy situation, while at the same time highlighting your self-awareness.

How It Helps You

Everything gives and receives feedback differently. Does this person tailor their feedback approach depending on whom they’re giving it to? Do they make feedback a two-way street?

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Their feedback style – especially when it comes to negative feedback – will help you understand how well you would be able to work with them.

14. Do you have any questions or concerns about my qualifications?

This question shows that you’re not afraid of critical feedback – in fact, you welcome it.

Interviewers tend to make note of red flags to discuss with a colleague following the interview, whether it be something on your resume or something you said

. This question gives them the green light to ask about any of the things that are holding them back from being 100% on board with hiring you.

How It Helps You

You get a chance to address concerns face-to-face without being too confrontational. This could be the difference between an offer and a rejection – or maybe even a higher opening offer.

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Before you meet the person you’d be working for, you’ll likely meet a member of HR via a phone screening.

Although this initial phone call is a standard first step for most organizations today, it’s also an opportunity for HR to take notes on you as a candidate and relay those notes to the hiring manager.

Make a good impression on HR – it matters more than you think.

Here are some appropriate questions to ask at this initial stage of the recruitment process so you can put your best foot forward.

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1. What do you like most about working here?

This question can be a breath of fresh air to HR reps who primarily answer questions about benefits (which are valuable questions).

Asking an HR employee what they like about the company tells them you care about the company’s culture and that you care about the opinion of someone whom you might not work with directly.

In other words, talking to people like people is always a good idea.

2. How has this position changed over time?

It’s easy to forget that someone might have once held the position you’re applying for – or, more importantly, that the role might have evolved since it came on your radar.

Don’t be afraid to ask HR what this job looked like before you were interested in it. This can include what the responsibilities looked like, how many other people currently hold this position at the company, and even where HR thinks it’s going in the future.

Getting HR’s perspective on the history of your potential role can give you unbiased insight into your department, and let HR know that you’re interested in your future at the company – not just your present.

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3. What does this team’s role hierarchy look like? How does this position fit into it?

This is another big-picture question that HR should be equipped and eager to answer for you.

You might not want to bluntly ask “who would I report to?” It can show resistance or insecurity before you ever set foot in the role. But, it’s still something you might want to know.

4. How does the company promote diversity and inclusion?

Every company should always be working toward building a diverse and inclusive work environment. If they don’t, that’s something you should know ahead of time.

Asking this question will tell you which initiatives or programs the company is involved in and what active measures they’re taking toward this mission.

5. What are you most excited about in this company’s future?

Want to inject a little positivity into your phone call with HR? Ask them what has them pumped up right now.

What motivates them to get up in the morning? Put yourself in HR’s shoes: Wouldn’t you love to answer this question, especially if you love the company you work for?

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Asking the HR rep what they’re most excited about shows them that you, too, thrive on enthusiasm. It also brings the best out in your interviewer – a good headspace for HR to be in as they hand you off to the hiring manager.

6. What is something the company is still working on getting right?

As a flip-side to the question above, also consider asking HR what they think the company’s greatest challenge is right now.

While other candidates might be skittish around a business’s weaknesses, this question shows HR you’re willing to accept the current negatives and join them in righting the ship.

Note the phrasing of this question, too. By asking HR this question precisely this way, you put focus on the positive and show the company that you have natural optimism (a desired trait in future leaders, just so you know).

7. Is there a dress code I should abide by?

Dress code can be a touchy subject in interviews – you don’t want to reveal that you have deal-breakers so early into a hiring process. But, it is an important aspect of the job for many professionals.

If you want to get an idea of the company’s dress code without suggesting it’s a big deal to you, simply ask HR what you’re expected to wear on your first day. It’s a harmless question that gives you the information you need at the same time.

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8. Is there anything about my application that makes you doubt my qualifications right now?

Cap off your phone screening with this confidence play. Asking HR what they’re skeptical about with respect to your application can show them you welcome feedback and you can take criticism. It also helps you better prepare for your next interview.

Editor’s Note: This post was originally published in Nov. 2018 and has been updated for comprehensiveness.

Apply for a job, keep track of important information, and prepare for an  interview with the help of this free job seekers kit.

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Only 6% of global marketers apply customer insights to product and brand

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Only 6% of global marketers apply customer insights to product and brand

While many brands talk about focusing on the customer, few do it. Less than a quarter (24%) of global brands are mapping customer behavior and sentiment, according to Braze’s 2024 Customer Engagement Review. What’s worse, only 6% apply customer insights to their product and brand approach.

“At the end of the day, a lot of companies operate based on their structure and not how the consumer interacts with them,” Mariam Asmar, VP of strategic consulting, told MarTech. “And while some companies have done a great job of reorienting that, with roles like the chief customer officer, there are many more that still don’t. Cross-channel doesn’t exist because there are still all these silos. But the customer doesn’t care about your silos. The customer doesn’t see silos. They see a brand.”

Half of all marketers report either depending on multiple, siloed point solutions to cobble together a multi-channel experience manually (33%); or primarily relying on single-channel solutions (17%).  Only 30% have access to a single customer engagement platform capable of creating personalized, seamless experiences across channels. This is a huge problem when it comes to cross-channel, personalization.

The persistence of silos

The persistence of data silos despite decades of explanation about the problems they cause, surprised Asmar the most.

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Screenshot 2024 02 27 140015
Source: Braze 2024 Global Customer Engagement Review

“Why are we still talking about this?” she said to MarTech. “One of the themes I see in the report is we’re still getting caught up on some of the same stumbling blocks as before.”

She said silos are indicative of teams working on different goals and “the only way that gets unsolved is if a leader comes in and aligns people towards some of those goals.”

These silos also hinder the use of AI, something 99% of respondents said they were already doing. The top uses of AI by marketers are:

  • Generating creative ideas (48%).
  • Automating repetitive tasks (47%).
  • Optimizing strategies in real-time (47%).
  • Enhancing data analysis (47%).
  • Powering predictive analytics (45%).
  • Personalizing campaigns (44%). 

Despite the high usage numbers, less than half of marketers have any interest in exploring AI’s potential to enhance customer engagement. Asmar believes there are two main reasons for this. First is that many people like the systems they know and understand. The other reason is a lack of training on the part of companies.

Dig deeper: 5 ways CRMs are leveraging AI to automate marketing today

“I think about when I was in advertising and everybody switched to social media,” she told MarTech. “Companies acted like ‘Well, all the marketers will just figure out social media.’ You can’t do that because whenever you’re teaching somebody how to do something new there’s always a level of training them up, even though they’re apps that we use every day, as people using them as a business and how they apply, how we get impact from them.”

The good news is that brands are setting the stage for the data agility they need.

  • 50% export performance feedback to business intelligence platforms to generate advanced analytics.
  • 48% sync performance with insights generated by other platforms in the business.

Also worth noting: Marketers say these are the four main obstacles to creativity and strategy:  

  • Emphasis on KPIs inherently inhibits a focus on creativity (42%).
  • Too much time spent on business-as-usual execution and tasks (42%).
  • Lack of technology to execute creative ideas, (41%).
  • Hard to demonstrate ROI impact of creativity (40%).
Screenshot 2024 02 27 135952Screenshot 2024 02 27 135952

Methodology

The 2024 Global Customer Engagement Review (registration required) is based on insights from 1,900 VP+ marketing decision-makers across 14 countries in three global regions: The Americas (Brazil, Mexico, and the US), APAC (Australia, Indonesia, Japan, New Zealand, Singapore, and South Korea), and EMEA (France, Germany, Spain, the UAE, and the UK).

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Crafting Effortless Sales Through ‘Wow’ Moments in Experience Marketing

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Crafting Effortless Sales Through 'Wow' Moments in Experience Marketing

Crafting Effortless Sales Through Wow Moments in Experience Marketing

In an era where consumers are bombarded with endless choices and digital noise, standing out as a brand is more challenging than ever. Enter experience marketing – a strategy that transcends traditional advertising by focusing on creating immersive, memorable interactions. This innovative approach leverages the elements of surprise, delight, and reciprocity to forge strong emotional connections with customers, making the sale of your core product feel effortless. But how can businesses implement this strategy effectively? This guide delves into the art of crafting ‘wow’ moments that captivate audiences and transform customer engagement.

The Basics of Experience Marketing

Experience marketing is an evolved form of marketing that focuses on creating meaningful interactions with customers, aiming to elicit strong emotional responses that lead to brand loyalty and advocacy. Unlike conventional marketing, which often prioritizes product promotion, experience marketing centers on the customer’s holistic journey with the brand, creating a narrative that resonates on a personal level.

In today’s competitive market, experience marketing is not just beneficial; it’s essential. It differentiates your brand in a crowded marketplace, elevating your offerings beyond mere commodities to become integral parts of your customers’ lives. Through memorable experiences, you not only attract attention but also foster a community of loyal customers who are more likely to return and recommend your brand to others.

Principles of Experience Marketing

At the heart of experience marketing lie several key principles:

  • Emotional Connection: Crafting campaigns that touch on human emotions, from joy to surprise, creating memorable moments that customers are eager to share.
  • Customer-Centricity: Putting the customer’s needs and desires at the forefront of every marketing strategy, ensuring that each interaction adds value and enhances their experience with the brand.
  • Immersive Experiences: Utilizing technology and storytelling to create immersive experiences that captivate customers, making your brand a living part of their world.
  • Engagement Across Touchpoints: Ensuring consistent, engaging experiences across all customer touchpoints, from digital platforms to physical stores.

Understanding Your Audience

Before diving into the intricacies of crafting ‘wow’ moments, it’s crucial to understand who you’re creating these moments for. Identifying your audience’s pain points and desires is the first step in tailoring experiences that truly resonate.

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This involves deep market research, customer interviews, and leveraging data analytics to paint a comprehensive picture of your target demographic. By understanding the journey your customers are on, you can design touchpoints that not only meet but exceed their expectations.

  • Identifying Pain Points and Desires: Use surveys, social media listening, and customer feedback to gather insights. What frustrates your customers about your industry? What do they wish for more than anything else? These insights will guide your efforts to create experiences that truly resonate.
  • Mapping the Customer Journey: Visualize every step a customer takes from discovering your brand to making a purchase and beyond. This map will highlight critical touchpoints where you can introduce ‘wow’ moments that transform the customer experience.

Developing Your Experience Marketing Strategy

With a clear understanding of your audience, it’s time to build the framework of your experience marketing strategy. This involves setting clear objectives, identifying key customer touchpoints, and conceptualizing the experiences you want to create.

  • Setting Objectives: Define what you aim to achieve with your experience marketing efforts. Whether it’s increasing brand awareness, boosting sales, or improving customer retention, having clear goals will shape your approach and help measure success.
  • Strategic Touchpoint Identification: List all the potential touchpoints where customers interact with your brand, from social media to in-store experiences. Consider every stage of the customer journey and look for opportunities to enhance these interactions.

Enhancing Customer Experiences with Surprise, Delight, and Reciprocity

This section is where the magic happens. By integrating the elements of surprise, delight, and reciprocity, you can elevate ordinary customer interactions into unforgettable experiences.

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  • Incorporating Surprise and Delight: Go beyond what’s expected. This could be as simple as a personalized thank-you note with each purchase or as elaborate as a surprise gift for loyal customers. The key is to create moments that feel special and unexpected.
  • Applying the Principle of Reciprocity: When customers receive something of value, they’re naturally inclined to give something back. This can be leveraged by offering helpful resources, exceptional service, or customer appreciation events. Such gestures encourage loyalty and positive word-of-mouth.
  • Examples and Case Studies: Highlight real-world examples of brands that have successfully implemented these strategies. Analyze what they did, why it worked, and how it impacted their relationship with customers.

Best Practices for Experience Marketing

To ensure your experience marketing strategy is as effective as possible, it’s important to adhere to some best practices.

  • Personalization at Scale: Leverage data and technology to personalize experiences without losing efficiency. Tailored experiences make customers feel valued and understood.
  • Using Technology to Enhance Experiences: From augmented reality (AR) to mobile apps, technology offers myriad ways to create immersive experiences that surprise and engage customers.
  • Measuring Success: Utilize analytics tools to track the success of your experience marketing initiatives. Key performance indicators (KPIs) could include engagement rates, conversion rates, and customer satisfaction scores.

Section 5: Overcoming Common Challenges

Even the best-laid plans can encounter obstacles. This section addresses common challenges in experience marketing and how to overcome them.

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  • Budget Constraints: Learn how to create impactful experiences without breaking the bank. It’s about creativity, not just expenditure.
  • Maintaining Consistency: Ensuring a consistent brand experience across all touchpoints can be daunting. Develop a comprehensive brand guideline and train your team accordingly.
  • Staying Ahead of Trends: The digital landscape is ever-changing. Stay informed about the latest trends in experience marketing and be ready to adapt your strategy as necessary.

The Path to Effortless Sales

By creating memorable experiences that resonate on a personal level, you make the path to purchase not just easy but natural. When customers feel connected to your brand, appreciated, and valued, making a sale becomes a byproduct of your relationship with them. Experience marketing, when done right, transforms transactions into interactions, customers into advocates, and products into passions.

Now is the time to reassess your marketing strategy. Are you just selling a product, or are you providing an unforgettable experience? Dive into the world of experience marketing and start creating those ‘wow’ moments that will not only distinguish your brand but also make sales feel effortless.


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The Current State of Google’s Search Generative Experience [What It Means for SEO in 2024]

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The Current State of Google's Search Generative Experience [What It Means for SEO in 2024]

SEO enthusiasts, known for naming algorithm updates after animals and embracing melodrama, find themselves in a landscape where the “adapt or die” mantra prevails. So when Google announced the launch of its Search Generative Experience (SGE) in May of 2023 at Google/IO, you can imagine the reaction was immense.

Although SGE has the potential to be a truly transformative force in the landscape, we’re still waiting for SGE to move out of the Google Labs Sandbox and integrate into standard search results. 

Curious about our current take on SGE and its potential impact on SEO in the future? Read on for more.

Decoding Google’s Defensive Move

In response to potential threats from competitors like ChatGPT, Bing, TikTok, Reddit, and Amazon, Google introduced SGE as a defensive maneuver. However, its initial beta release raised questions about its readiness and global deployment.

ChatGPT provided an existential threat that had the potential to eat into Google’s market share. When Bing started incorporating it into its search results, it was one of the most significant wins for Bing in a decade. In combination with threats from TikTok, Reddit, and Amazon, we see a more fractured search landscape less dominated by Google. Upon its launch, the expectation was that Google would push its SGE solution globally, impact most queries, and massively shake up organic search results and strategies to improve organic visibility.

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Now, industry leaders are starting to question if Google is better off leaving SGE in the testing ground in Google labs. According to Google’s recent update, it appears that SGE will remain an opt-in experience in Google Labs (for at least the short term). If SGE was released, there could be a fundamental reset in understanding SEO. Everything from organic traffic to optimization tactics to tracking tools would need adjustments for the new experience. Therefore, the prospect of SGE staying in Google Labs is comforting if not entirely reliable. 

The ever-present option is that Google can change its mind at any point and push SGE out broadly as part of its standard search experience. For this reason, we see value in learning from our observations with SGE and continuing to stay on top of the experience.

SGE User Experience and Operational Challenges

If you’ve signed up for search labs and have been experimenting with SGE for a while, you know firsthand there are various issues that Google should address before rolling it out broadly to the public.

At a high level, these issues fall into two broad categories including user experience issues and operational issues.

Below are some significant issues we’ve come across, with Google making notable progress in addressing certain ones, while others still require improvement:

  • Load time – Too many AI-generated answers take longer to load than a user is willing to wait. Google recommends less than a 3-second load time to meet expectations. They’ll need to figure out how to consistently return results quickly if they want to see a higher adoption rate.
  • Layout – The SGE layout is massive. We believe any major rollout will be more streamlined to make it a less intrusive experience for users and allow more visibility for ads, and if we’re lucky, organic results. Unfortunately, there is still a decent chance that organic results will move below the fold, especially on mobile devices. Recently, Google has incorporated more results where users are prompted to generate the AI result if they’d like to see it. The hope is Google makes this the default in the event of a broad rollout where users can generate an AI result if they want one instead of assuming that’s what a user would like to see. 
  • Redundancy – The AI result duplicates features from the map pack and quick answer results. 
  • Attribution – Due to user feedback, Google includes sources on several of their AI-powered overviews where you can see relevant web pages if there is an arrow next to the result. Currently, the best way to appear as one of these relevant pages is to be one of the top-ranked results, which is convenient from an optimization standpoint. Changes to how attribution and sourcing are handled could heavily impact organic strategies. 

 

On the operational side, Google also faces significant hurdles to making SGE a viable product for its traditional search product. The biggest obstacle appears to be making the cost associated with the technology worth the business outcomes it provides. If this was a necessary investment to maintain market share, Google might be willing to eat the cost, but if their current position is relatively stable, Google doesn’t have much of an incentive to take on the additional cost burden of heavily leveraging generative AI while also presumably taking a hit to their ad revenue. Especially since slow user adoption doesn’t indicate this is something users are demanding at the moment.

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While the current experience of SGE is including ads above the generative results now, the earliest iterations didn’t heavily feature sponsored ads. While they are now included, the current SGE layout would still significantly disrupt the ad experience we’re used to. During the Google I/O announcement, they made a statement to reassure advertisers they would be mindful of maintaining a distinct ad experience in search.  

“In this new generative experience, Search ads will continue to appear in dedicated ad slots throughout the page. And we’ll continue to uphold our commitment to ads transparency and making sure ads are distinguishable from organic search results” – Elizabeth Reid, VP, Search at Google

Google is trying to thread a delicate needle here of staying on the cutting edge with their search features, while trying not to upset their advertisers and needlessly hinder their own revenue stream. Roger Montti details more of the operational issues in a recent article digging into the surprising reasons SGE is stuck in Google Labs.

He lists three big problems that need to be solved before SGE will be integrated into the foreground of search:

  1. Large Language Models being inadequate as an information retrieval system
  2. The inefficiency and cost of transformer architecture
  3. Hallucinating (providing inaccurate answers)

 

Until SGE provides more user value and checks more boxes on the business sense side, the traditional search experience is here to stay. Unfortunately, we don’t know when or if Google will ever feel confident they’ve addressed all of these concerns, so we’ll need to stay prepared for change.

Experts Chime in on Search Generative Experience

Our team has been actively engaging with SGE, here’s a closer look at their thoughts and opinions on the experience so far:

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“With SGE still in its early stages, I’ve noticed consistent changes in how the generative results are produced and weaved naturally into the SERPs. Because of this, I feel it is imperative to stay on top of these on-going changes to ensure we can continue to educate our clients on what to expect when SGE is officially incorporated into our everyday lives. Although an official launch date is currently unknown, I believe proactively testing various prompt types and recording our learnings is important to prepare our clients for this next evolution of Google search.” – Jon Pagano, SEO Sr. Specialist at Tinuiti

“It’s been exciting to watch SGE grow through different variations over the last year, but like other AI solutions its potential still outweighs its functionality and usefulness. What’s interesting to see is that SGE doesn’t just cite its sources of information, but also provides an enhanced preview of each webpage referenced. This presents a unique organic opportunity where previously untouchable top 10 rankings are far more accessible to the average website. Time will tell what the top ranking factors for SGE are, but verifiable content with strong E-E-A-T signals will be imperative. –Kate Fischer, SEO Specialist at Tinuiti

“Traditionally, AI tools were very good at analytical tasks. With the rise of ChatGPT, users can have long-form, multi-question conversations not yet available in search results. When, not if, released, Google’s Generative Experience will transform how we view AI and search. Because there are so many unknowns, some of the most impactful ways we prepare our clients are to discover and develop SEO strategies that AI tools can’t directly disrupt, like mid to low funnel content.” – Brandon Miller, SEO Specialist at Tinuiti

“SGE is going to make a huge impact on the ecommerce industry by changing the way users interact with the search results. Improved shopping experience will allow users to compare products, price match, and read reviews in order to make it quicker and easier for a user to find the best deals and purchase. Although this leads to more competitive results, it also improves organic visibility and expands our product reach. It is more important than ever to ensure all elements of a page are uniquely and specifically optimized for search. With the SGE updates expected to continue to impact search results, the best way to stay ahead is by focusing on strong user focused content and detailed product page optimizations.”  – Kellie Daley, SEO Sr. Specialist at Tinuiti

Navigating the Clash of Trends

One of the most interesting aspects of the generative AI trend in search is that it appears to be in direct opposition to other recent trends.

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One of the ways Google has historically evaluated the efficacy of its search ranking systems is through the manual review of quality raters. In their quality rater guidelines, raters were instructed to review for things like expertise, authority, and trustworthiness (EAT) in results to determine if Google results are providing users the information they deserve. 

In 2022, Google updated their search guidelines to include another ‘e’ in the form of experience (EEAT). In their words, Google wanted to better assess if the content a user was consuming was created by someone with, “a degree of experience, such as with actual use of a product, having actually visited a place or communicating what a person has experienced. There are some situations where really what you value most is content produced by someone who has firsthand, life experience on the topic at hand.” 

Generative AI results, while cutting-edge technology and wildly impressive in some cases, stand in direct opposition to the principles of E-E-A-T. That’s not to say that there’s no room for both in search, but Google will have to determine what it thinks users value more between these competing trends. The slow adoption of SGE could be an indication that a preference for human experience, expertise, authority, and trust is winning round one in this fight. 

Along these lines, Google is also diversifying its search results to cater to the format in which users get their information. This takes the form of their Perspectives Filter. Also announced at Google I/O 2023, the perspectives filter incorporates more video, image, and discussion board posts from places like TikTok, YouTube, Reddit, and Quora. Once again, this trend shows the emphasis and value searchers place on experience and perspective. Users value individual experience over the impersonal conveyance of information. AI will never have these two things, even if it can provide a convincing imitation.

The current iteration of SGE seems to go too far in dismissing these trends in favor of generative AI. It’s an interesting challenge Google faces. If they don’t determine the prevailing trend correctly, veering too far in one direction can push more market share to ChatGPT or platforms like YouTube and TikTok.

Final Thoughts

The range of outcomes remains broad and fascinating for SGE. We can see this developing in different ways, and prognostication offers little value, but it’s invaluable to know the potential outcomes and prepare for as many of them as possible.

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It’s critical that you or your search agency be interacting and experimenting with SGE because:

  • The format and results will most likely continue to see significant changes
  • This space moves quickly and it’s easy to fall behind
  • Google may fix all of the issues with SGE and decide to push it live, changing the landscape of search overnight
  • SGE experiments could inform other AI elements incorporated into the search experience

 

Ultimately, optimizing for the specific SGE experience we see now is less important because we know it will inevitably continue changing. We see more value in recognizing the trends and problems Google is trying to solve with this technology. With how quickly this space moves, any specifics mentioned in this article could be outdated in a week. That’s why focusing on intention and process is important at this stage of the game.

By understanding the future needs and wants SGE is attempting to address, we can help you future-proof your search strategies as much as possible. To some extent we’re always at the whims of the algorithm, but by maintaining a user-centric approach, you can make your customers happy, regardless of how they find you.

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