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How to Promote Your YouTube Channel [+ Tips from HubSpot’s YouTube Team]

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How to Promote Your YouTube Channel [+ Tips from HubSpot's YouTube Team]

In the early days of YouTube, there weren’t a whole lot of YouTubers or brands creating content on the platform, so it was much easier for content creators to stand out. Fast forward to 2022, and there are now roughly 15 million active content creators on YouTube pumping out 500 hundred hours of content every minute.

With that in mind, you’re probably wondering how to promote your YouTube channel so that it stands out above the rest. And how much will promotion cost? Fortunately, there are many tools, tips, and tricks you can use to promote your YouTube channel without having to spend a lot of money — or any money at all.

In this blog, we’ll explore some of my favorite, no-cost methods to promote a YouTube channel.

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  1. Create compelling content.
  2. Use keywords in your headlines, descriptions, and tags.
  3. Use hashtags.
  4. Customize your thumbnails.
  5. Post regularly.
  6. Promote your channel on social media.
  7. Promote your channel on forums.
  8. Build a community.
  9. Run a contest.
  10. Cross-promote your videos on YouTube.
  11. Collaborate with other creators.
  12. Create playlists for your YouTube videos.
  13. Embed your YouTube videos.
  14. Livestream.
  15. Add a YouTube widget to your website.

How to Promote Your YouTube Channel for Free

I have my own YouTube channel where I talk about anime, and when I first got started I definitely did not have money to spend on expensive ads or pricey tools to grow my channel. So, I did a lot of the following to find my audience, and I saw growth pretty quickly:

1. Create compelling content.

There are many tactics you can use to attract viewers to your channel, but none of these tactics can make up for lackluster content. The fact is no one wants to get invested in content that isn’t good.

A major key to attracting an audience and encouraging them to subscribe is to create compelling content that will keep them coming back for more.

Pro-Tip: Look at other established content creators in your niche for inspiration. What do you enjoy most about their videos, and what would you do differently? Use your answers to help you figure out the kind of content you want to make.

2. Use keywords in your headlines, descriptions, and tags.

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Hundreds of thousands of videos are uploaded to YouTube every day. To ensure your videos reach your target audience, you need to incorporate keywords into your headlines, descriptions, and tags.

There are free tools like Google Keyword Planner, which can be accessed from your Google Ads dashboard. Don’t worry — you don’t have to run ads to use it. All you need is a Google account.

Google Keyword Planner can be used to promote your YouTube channelImage source

Pro-Tip: One of the simplest ways to find the right keywords without using any tools is to enter your video’s topic in the YouTube search bar, and use the autosuggest to find words and phrases you should incorporate into your content.

yt autosuggestImage source

3. Use hashtags.

You can also use the keywords you found to create hashtags for your videos’ titles and descriptions. Your video’s content may also inspire ideas for a hashtag. For example, maybe you interviewed a popular guest on your channel — that guest’s name can be used as a hashtag to attract their fans to your content.

Hashtags are used to promote a YouTube channelImage source

Pro-Tip: Look at other YouTubers in your niche to see what hashtags they are using so you can find the right ones for your content.

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4. Customize your thumbnails.

The thumbnail of your video serves as your video’s first impression — and we all know you never get a second chance at a first impression. To grab viewers’ attention, create a unique, eye-catching thumbnail that will compel them to click on your content.

YouTube thumbnails that stand out typically include a combination of the following:

Pro-Tip: For my own YouTube videos, I use Canva’s free YouTube thumbnail tool. With Canva, the thumbnail templates are already the proper dimensions and there are tons of fun stickers, bold fonts, colors, and background images to choose from. Plus, I can upload my own images from my phone or computer to the template.

This thumbnail is used to promote a YouTube channel

5. Post regularly.

Consistency is important when attracting potential subscribers to your channel. When you post frequently and consistently you’ll gain credibility with your audience because they know you’ll always keep the good content coming. To start, try posting a new video every two weeks and eventually work your way to once or twice a week.

Pro-Tip: You can also use YouTube Analytics to track the days and times your audience interacts with your content the most. For example, if you notice your videos get the most views when posted on Saturdays at 12 p.m., you’re going to want to have videos posted around that time to get the most engagement.

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6. Promote your channel on social media.

The news director of a TV station I worked for would always say this about promoting content: “If it’s not on social media, then it doesn’t exist.” Keep this in mind when promoting your YouTube channel.

You can put out amazing content, have the perfect thumbnail, and use all the right keywords — but if you don’t promote your content on social media, you’re losing out on a potentially huge audience.

To attract anime fans to my channel, I started a Twitter account and started using the #anitwt and #AnimeAfterDarkCH hashtags whenever I tweeted about my videos. “Anitwt” is short for “Anime Twitter,” and is used to help anime fans connect with other fans on the platform.

#AnimeAfterDarkCH is a hashtag used for a weekly Twitter space geared toward Black anime fans. Now when I check my YouTube analytics, I often notice about 80% of my views come from Twitter users.

HubSpot’s Senior Manager of Marketing Essie Acolatse also suggests creating videos to cross-promote on different platforms.

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“Make shorter bite size versions as teasers for other platforms. These teasers should fit the best video format for that platform, and should be engaging enough to make the viewer want more,” she said. “It’s often times hard to get people to leave the platform they’re already on, but taking advantage of your other social platforms can help drive views to your channel.”

Pro-Tip: Use social media to follow and connect with content creators, figureheads, and other prominent people in your niche. This will help you find online communities that correspond with your niche and can help expose your channel to the right audience.

7. Promote your channel on forums.

Online forums like Reddit are great places to promote your channel. Just remember that many forums have “no promotions” policies — but you can get around them with a little bit of tact. Make sure that you’re contributing value to the conversation and that your posts don’t come off too much like advertisements.

For example, let’s say you’re a fashion YouTuber and you notice a Reddit forum discussing thrift store fashion — a topic you’ve covered on your channel. Instead of replying with “Hey, check out my YouTube channel about fashion.” You can say:

“That’s a really cool perspective! I love thrifting and actually made a YouTube video with some great tips on how to find the best items at thrift stores. You can check it out if you’re looking for advice.”

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Then you would link to your specific video.

Pro-Tip: Be an active contributor to these forums even when you don’t have new content to promote. Doing this adds value to the conversation and shows that you’re trying to be helpful instead of just plugging your channel.

8. Build a community.

Use your YouTube to establish yourself as an authoritative voice in your niche and to create a space for people with shared interests. The most effective (and free) way to do this is to simply engage with your audience. Reply to comments by sharing more valuable information.

Some YouTubers will even shout out new subscribers in their videos. You can also ask commenters for suggestions on your next topic and give them some recognition for contributing.

Pro-Tip: If you have more than 500 subscribers, you can take advantage of YouTube’s “Community” feature. This feature allows creators to engage with their audience between uploads via status updates, polls, and GIFs.

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9. Run a contest.

Running a contest is an effective way to attract new subscribers, but you’ll want to make sure the contest attracts people who are genuinely interested in your niche and not just the prize.

To do this, make sure the prize is something connected to your topic. For instance, if I were to run a contest to attract anime fans, a good prize would be free anime merchandise or a gift card to anime clothing retailer Atsuko.

Pro-Tip: Be sure to promote your contest on social media and in online forums whenever possible.

10. Cross-promote your videos on YouTube.

In every YouTube video I post, I always take advantage of the platform’s “cards” feature. This feature allows you to promote a video across different videos on your platform. This works by posting a small icon at the corner of your video that links to another video or playlist. You can set the duration for how long you want the card to appear. Below is an example of what a card looks like:

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YouTube's cards feature is used to promote a YouTube channelImage source

Another way to cross-promote your videos is to include an end screen. Have you ever watched a YouTube video and saw clickable ads for other videos appear in the final 10 seconds? That’s an end screen, and it encourages viewers to explore more of your content and subscribe.

Acolatse also suggests using YouTube Shorts.

“Those bite size video versions for other platforms can also be used as YT shorts,” she said. “YT is investing a lot of money into shorts and because that feed reaches a different audience, it’s a great way to boost engagement on your overall channel. Make sure these shorts hook viewers in within the first couple of seconds and make them very compelling.”

YouTube's end screen feature is used to promote a YouTube channelImage source

Pro-Tip: Whenever I upload a new video, I always use cards and the end screen to link back to my previous video. This can give your older content a second life and a chance to gain new views.

11. Collaborate with other creators.

This is another form of cross-promotion that is helpful to all parties involved and can help expand your reach. For a successful collaboration, find a YouTuber whose audience overlaps with yours.

For example, if you’re a fitness expert, you can collaborate with a content creator who also focuses on exercise or nutrition. Once you know who you want to work with, reach out to that person, and you two can plan on how you’re going to make a unique video for both of your channels.

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“This is one of the best organic ways to grow. Their audience will get a chance to see you and your audience can see them,” Acolatse said. “Creating content with other creators that have a similar niche and following size as you can help you get additional views on your content.”

Pro-Tip: Now is the time to use the connections you’ve made on social media to scope out the best collaborator.

12. Create playlists for your YouTube videos.

The more videos you create, the harder it will be for viewers to navigate your channel. Creating playlists organizes your content into specific categories, and allows viewers to binge your work. Playlists will help viewers find the relevant content they are looking for on your channel, and they’ll be more likely to subscribe when they finish binge-watching your videos.

Pro-Tip: Keep in mind your playlists when creating content. Ask yourself how you’d categorize the video and what playlist it would fit into.

13. Embed your YouTube videos.

If you have a blog or website, embedding your YouTube videos in your blog content or product page is a great way to boost conversions and attract subscribers to your channel. Having an article or webpage connected to your video can also help it rank higher in search engine results.

Pro-Tip: Make sure to use keywords in your blog or webpage’s content as well to help people find your site and, in turn, your YouTube video.

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14. Livestream.

With the rise in popularity of livestream platforms like Twitch, livestreaming content is a trend that doesn’t seem to be going anywhere. TikTok, Instagram, and Facebook have all incorporated live-streams into their platforms — and YouTube is no different. Some ways you can use YouTube Live include:

  • Q&As
  • Webinars
  • Live tutorials
  • Product demonstrations

Gamers will often livestream themselves playing the latest video games and artists will sometimes livestream themselves completing a project.

Pro-Tip: Don’t be too concerned about perfection when it comes to your livestream. One of the biggest draw-ins of livestreams is that no one knows what’s going to happen live. It all just adds to the fun and creates a more personal relationship with your followers.

15. Add a YouTube widget to your website.

By adding a YouTube widget to the footer or sidebar of your website, anyone who visits your site will be able to see and engage with your videos. This can turn site clicks into views for your content. It will also encourage interested visitors to subscribe to your channel.

Pro-Tip: Many website-hosting platforms have their own free YouTube widgets you can easily embed onto your website.

Promoting your YouTube channel doesn’t have to be a financial liability. As you can see, there are many ways to expand your audience reach, find your niche, and promote your content without spending a dime. Now that you have some free promotional ideas, you’re ready to craft the perfect marketing plan to grow your channel.

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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.

1709033181 544 Crafting Effortless Sales Through Wow Moments in Experience Marketing1709033181 544 Crafting Effortless Sales Through Wow Moments in Experience Marketing

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.

1709033181 790 Crafting Effortless Sales Through Wow Moments in Experience Marketing1709033181 790 Crafting Effortless Sales Through Wow Moments in Experience Marketing
  • 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.

1709033181 656 Crafting Effortless Sales Through Wow Moments in Experience Marketing1709033181 656 Crafting Effortless Sales Through Wow Moments in Experience Marketing
  • 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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