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The Ultimate Guide to Relationship Marketing

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The Ultimate Guide to Relationship Marketing

Did you know that customer retention has been found to be even more critical to your company’s success than customer acquisition? Frederick Reichheld of Bain & Company found as little as a five percent increase in customer retention can result in an increase in company revenue by 25-95%.

In fact, no matter if you’re a team of one or leading a scaling enterprise, you can build customer relationships with your existing audience without the typical costs associated with acquiring new customers. The key is strategic relationship marketing.

Especially since, as Adobe learned, returning customers spend more than newer customers. Why? Because existing customers understand the value of your products and services and they’re invested loyally in your brand. If a customer feels satisfied with their interaction with you, they’re more likely to turn to your business for their needs, again and again.

“But isn’t all marketing relationships marketing?” Not exactly. Some marketing strategies are solely about gaining traffic and conversions to get potential customers into the customer flywheel. From there, you’ll have even more marketing tactics that get that potential customer to make their first purchase like customer acquisition.

The perfect time to start a relationship marketing strategy is when the customer has made a purchase (or several). Your goal with relationship marketing is to get these new customers to become brand-loyal patrons of your business. To do that, you’ll want to take a personalized approach to client retention and become integrated into their lives in a way that feels natural and genuine.

What are the benefits of relationship marketing?

Like many forms of white-hat marketing tactics, there are various benefits to leveraging relationship marketing strategies for your brand. But, when properly executed, the most impactful ways to improve your business through relational advertising include:

So, let’s take a look at some relational advertising examples from firms that adopt a relationship marketing strategy to attempt to retain existing customers. Then, we’ll explore how you can implement a strong relationship marketing strategy today.

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1. Capital One

The Capital One relationship marketing strategy

Capital One understands its customers deeply — all the way down to the small inconveniences that plague them most. One of those annoyances is the long TSA line at the airport.

Capital One reimburses all venture cardholders up to $100 when they pay the TSA PreCheck fee. All they have to do is pay for it with their Capital One credit card.

TSA PreCheck expires after five years, and this benefit applies every time the cardholder wants to renew their PreCheck status. Here, Capital One is demonstrating its brand value to its current audience through:

  • Offering a perk that’s universally appealing to their base — free money
  • Mitigating a prevalent issue customers face with a long-term resolution

This benefit speaks to a relevant pain point for Capital One customers and makes keeping an account open with Capital One well worth it in the long run.”font-size: 1.5rem; font-weight: 500;”>

2. Delta

An example of a Delta relationship marketing strategy

Speaking of TSA lines, as the oldest operating airline in the United States, Delta, is no stranger to relationship marketing strategies that preserve the brand loyalty of their customers.

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One of their most effective methods remains the airline’s customer loyalty program, the SkyMiles program. Customers who sign up for this program earn “miles based on the amount of money they spend with Delta, which can then be redeemed for future travel purchases like airfare, seat upgrades, and more.

To expand their miles offering, they’ve also partnered with credit card companies like American Express to offer bonus miles and accruement when customers use their SkyMiles credit cards to make purchases. In fact, if you qualify for the Amex Reserve card you will also receive complimentary access to the Delta Sky Club. Within this lounge, you can enjoy unlimited free meals, snacks, and drinks on the day you take a Delta flight.

By employing these relationship marketing strategies, Delta has been able to:

  • Build a loyal customer base that continues to choose them over competitors
  • Seamlessly integrating their business into the lives of their customers through platforms they utilize daily

As a result, their marketing strategy is paying off — they were recently ranked number 1 by J.D.Power for customer satisfaction across North American airlines.

3. Fairway Independent Mortgage Corporation

Fairway Mortgage's relationship marketing strategy

Buying a home is one of the most important decisions a consumer can make. During the purchasing process, buyers typically shop around for the lowest rate, but they’re also shopping for a reliable team that will make the process as smooth as possible.

Fairway Independent Mortgage Corporation is a great example of a business that takes the relationship marketing approach for its customer retention plan. For example, I received a birthday email from Fairway when I needed to make a lending decision.

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In addition to that, the loan consultant was sure to send over some marketing documents with their value proposition and benefits for me as a buyer. Their relationship marketing strategies improved my experience as a consumer by:

  • Retargeting audiences via email on a major life event like a birthday
  • Enforcing their service offering with valuable supporting documents

Their retention strategies show that the company is committed to being responsive, respectful, helpful, and most importantly — closing on time. This is a recipe for success in the mortgage industry as referrals are the “bread and butter of any successful loan officers business.”

4. Fenty

AN example of Fenty beauty and Fenty Savage's relationship marketing  approach

When international singer and actress Rihanna made her professional pivot to a businessperson in the Fashion & Beauty industry, the “Talk That Talk” vocalist had also kept people talking about what would come of her brand, Fenty, once it made its debut.

Well in a market already saturated with celebrity beauty and fashion ventures, Fenty distinguished itself to the point of changing the industry landscape through inclusivity. But how? Amongst many examples of marketing strategy, Fenty’s relational advertising tactics remain supreme.

For instance, the popular Fenty Beauty foundation includes shades such as “Vanilla” capturing some of the palest tones, and “Espresso” embracing some of the deepest. At the same time, her Savage X Fenty lingerie sends messages of size inclusivity and body positivity to their customers through the wide range of sizes (from XS to 4XL) they offer to all. Models and celebrities of all shapes and sizes model the clothing during the Savage X Fenty Show streamed on Amazon.

Customers are also able to sign up with a membership program that allows customers to get first dibs on product launches, exclusive content, and access to VIP-only sales. By applying these strategies for customer retention, Fenty has been able to:

  • Presenting the brand as a solution and product for all through inclusivity
  • Showcasing their messaging globally to connect with consumers across borders

By sending an impactful brand message to their audience, that they back up with their product offerings, Fenty is able to stand out from the crowd and create its own.

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5.GE

.An example of a well executed relationship marketing approach

Relational advertising is ultimately about offering both new and existing customers valuable content regardless of where they are in the buyer’s journey.

GE does a great job of diversifying its content– and the platforms on which it promotes– to ensure its examples of relationship marketing strategy satisfy as many people as possible. For instance, GE created two sponsored podcasts in the sci-fi genre. It seems strange, but GE positions itself as an “inventor of the future of industry,” so it makes sense that the company might dabble in the world of what-ifs in the sci-fi genre.

Additionally, the company has a popular YouTube channel that features historic, innovative stories from the perspective of GE employees. This is because good relationship marketing should appeal to the first-time viewer as powerfully as it appeals to your long-term customers to ensure your customers grow with you over time.

By consistently offering a diverse range of quality content, GE shows its desire to satisfy its long-term customers even at the expense of short-term wins.

6. Domino’s

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In the past couple of years, Domino’s has taken its fair share of risks with its relationship marketing strategy for the sake of innovation and improvement. This includes a series of ads called Pizza Turnaround, in which they showcased a series of negative customer reviews, before promising a new and improved recipe.

These self-deprecating ads appeal genuinely to viewers but go against any traditional sales playbook… which is why they work. By admitting an area of opportunity, Domino’s re-invented its brand as transparent and honest — and who wouldn’t want to buy from a company like that?

Domino’s has also done a fantastic job tapping into its digital audience. In fact, 70% of Domino’s sales are now through digital channels.

Ultimately, Domino’s has taken innovative steps to cultivate a loyal, long-term customer base through:

  • Slowly and strategically re-inventing their product and their brand
  • Engaging with their customers on their favorite digital platforms

Plus, the best part is you can too.

7. Panera

An example of relationship marketing from Panera bread.Panera’s commitment to health and convenience has resulted in 40 million Panera loyalty members.

In 2014, Panera issued a statement promising its customers it would remove all artificial flavors, sweeteners, and preservatives from all Panera products by the end of 2016. The company remained transparent throughout the process, publishing progress reports to demonstrate a level of accountability and transparency to its customers.

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Undoubtedly, it was a risky decision to admit they’d previously used unhealthy ingredients in their food — but their brand promise paid off big-time in 2016 when the brand could officially say “100% of our food is 100% clean.”

Additionally, the brand focuses on building customer relationships through personalization. For instance, Panera alerts loyalty members about new food offerings they feel will meet members’ “flavor profile” based on past purchases.

  • Making a brand promise and fulfilling this pledge to their customers
  • Improving the quality of their products for customer satisfaction

The company also meets its customers where they are — starting an online grocery business due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Panera even offers home and business delivery, rapid pickup, and catering to improve customer service.

8. Marriott

An example of relationship marketing initiatives from MarriottUndoubtedly, a 35-minute film is not the most traditional avenue a hotel can take when it wants to increase sales — and yet, that’s exactly what Marriott chose to do with their film, “Two Bellmen Three“.

This film enables Marriott to appeal to a younger demographic and build brand awareness on dominant platforms like Snapchat. Best of all, their retention marketing content rarely resembles an advertisement and is typically focused on providing an audience with fun, or helpful, information on various travel destinations.

9. ArmorSuit

Armor Suit's approach to relationship marketing  through warranty policy

ArmorSuit’s warranty policy begins like this — “Most warranties are limited to 30 days or one year, but with our Lifetime Replacement Warranty, our customers can request for a replacement screen protector for a lifetime. This way, you never need to purchase a whole new kit when a replacement is needed.”

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This way, you never need to purchase a whole new kit — a phrase you’ll likely never hear in traditional sales transactions. While it might seem ridiculous to offer a lifetime warranty, it makes sense with retention strategies for two central reasons:

  • Maintaining customer satisfaction with their products
  • Building strong relationships with their base for the long term

Now when their customers need other products related to tech, they’ll most likely check out ArmorSuit’s website first.

Next, let’s explore how you can create a strong relationship marketing strategy for your own business.

1. Provide personalized, customer-focused service.

When you’re creating a relationship marketing strategy and engaging with your customers, your primary concern should never be focused on your product or service. Instead, your concerns should always revolve around the customer — So ask yourself:

  • Would the customer want to see this ad?
  • Would the customer be excited about this Instagram post?
  • Does our new product delight the customer?

Additionally, you must create channels for direct support when your customers need help. Perhaps your retention strategies include implementing a Facebook Messaging Bot for service-related concerns. Alternatively, maybe you answer your customer’s questions via Instagram DM. By meeting your customers on platforms they use most, you’re proving your willingness to help them wherever that takes you, a tenet of successful customer retention.

2. Engage with the customer where they are.

The reason Marriott’s strategy works is not only because of the content they create — it’s also where they post that content. Creating videos specifically for Snapchat is a great marketing strategy example because it enables Marriott to appeal to a younger demographic on a platform already popular with that audience.

Research which platforms are most popular for your ideal demographic. By reaching out to them through their preferred channels, you’re demonstrating strategy examples that embody helpfulness and understanding. It’s this sentiment that will encourage users to interact with your brand.

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3. Incorporate technology to work more effectively.

Technology might seem counterintuitive to building organic relationships that are personalized, but it can be the key to solving customer pain points. As your company grows, it’ll become increasingly more difficult to connect one-on-one with each customer and continue keeping customers satisfied.

Using an automated marketing system can ensure that every customer receives communication from your business and has the opportunity to engage. Tools like HubSpot’s Marketing Hub can automate workflows and email cadences so that you never miss a customer milestone.

4. Offer incentives and rewards for customer loyalty.

To cultivate a long-term relationship with your customers and create lasting brand loyalty, continue engaging with customers even after they’ve purchased a product. Consider what you can offer them once they’ve become customers — perhaps they can get a discount on additional products, or receive personalized recommendations based on their preferences.

By creating a loyalty rewards program, Panera’s customer relationship marketing continues to incentivize its customers to purchase additional products and slowly forms a more meaningful relationship by gathering information about each customer. They then use that information to offer unique suggestions depending on their individual food preferences.

5. Create valuable content that tells a compelling story.

If a customer has already purchased your product, they don’t need to see additional product advertisements to become brand loyalists — instead, they need to feel your business offers value regardless of their purchase intent. Marriott’s film isn’t meant to immediately convert a viewer into a paying customer. Firms that adopt a relationship marketing strategy attempt to continuously provide quality to their customers. So Marriott’s purpose is to increase brand awareness. Therefore, down the road, when that viewer is ready to book a hotel for an upcoming trip, they’ll remember the compelling film they saw once and think of Marriott.

6. Collect feedback regularly.

A relationship works two ways — to truly develop a meaningful connection with your customers, then, you must ask for feedback:

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  • What do they want to see from your brand?
  • What do they like about your product?
  • What do they wish you wrote about on your blog?

This information improves your relationship marketing strategy so you best fit the needs of your specific audience.

7. Concentrate on building customer relationships for the long-term

There will always be a time for marketing strategies like Pay Per Click ads that generate the instant sales gratification of proper product promotion– but this moment isn’t one of them.

In order to foster meaningful relationships that cause your customers to truly connect with your brand, you have to create purposeful content and deliver quality service to guide them throughout the relationship. By doing so, you will establish brand trust, show your audience you’re not just in it for a quick buck, and demonstrate your commitment to their success, not just your own.

Play the Long Game With Relationship Marketing

There’s a time and place for quicker marketing strategies wins and they’re paramount in hitting goals and KPIs each quarter. However, your marketing, sales, and service teams work much better together at playing the long game. Relationship marketing won’t score you consistent quick wins that you can measure with hard numbers on a dashboard. But you’ll find that staying the course and nurturing the customer through relational advertising will yield happier and more loyal brand advocates for quarters to come.

Editor’s note: This post was originally published in February 2019 and has been updated for comprehensiveness in May 2022.

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Roundel Media Studio: What to Expect From Target’s New Self-Service Platform

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By Tinuiti Team

Roundel™ Media Studio (RMS) has arrived, revolutionizing Target’s advertising game. This self-service platform offers seamless activation, management, and analysis of Target Product Ads, with more solutions on the horizon.

Powered by first-party data from both in-store and online shoppers, RMS provides new audience insights. Coupled with Target’s new loyalty program, Circle 360, advertisers gain precision targeting like never before.

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But Target isn’t stopping there. With the rollout of a paid membership program on April 7th, bundling Target Circle, the Circle Card, and Shipt delivery, Target is elevating its media and membership offerings to rival the likes of Walmart and Amazon.

Curious to learn more? We sat down with our experts at Tinuiti to dive deeper into the potential implications of this platform for brands and advertisers alike.

What is Roundel Media Studio?

Roundel™ Media Studio is an integrated platform that consolidates various solutions and tools offered by Roundel™. At its core, it kicks off with our sponsored product ads, known as Target Product Ads by Roundel™.

example of target roundel ad
Example of Target Product Ads by Roundel™
Image Source: Target.com

This comprehensive platform grants access to the complete range of Target Product Ad placements, featuring tailored slots like “More to Consider” and “Frequently Bought Together” to enhance relevance and personalization.

Moreover, Roundel™ Media Studio operates without any DSP or access fees for Target Product Ads, ensuring that your media budget is optimized to deliver greater efficiency, more clicks, and ultimately, increased sales.

“One of the larger benefits of the transition is that advertisers have an opportunity to capitalize on the additional dollars saved by switching to RMS. Without the 20% fee, brands can re-invest those funds to scale campaigns or optimize budgets, all without having to allocate more funds which drives better results. Roundel™ is putting more control in the hands of advertisers by introducing this new self-service platform.”

– Averie Lynch, Specialist, Strategic Services at Tinuiti

To summarize, key benefits of using RMS include:

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  • No Access or DSP Fees
  • All Target Product Ads Inventory
  • 1st Price Auction with Existing Floor Prices
  • Closed Loop Sales & Attribution
  • Billing via Criteo Insertion Order
  • Access Using Partners Online

How to access Roundel Media Studio 

According to Target, there’s 3 steps to access Roundel™ Media Studio:

Step 1. Check that you have a Partners Online (POL) account for access. Don’t have one? Reach out to your POL admin to get set up with an account (reach out if you need help locating your organization’s admin). 

Step 2. Once you have gotten access to POL, reach out to your Roundel representative who will grant you access to the platform. 

Step 3. Users can access Roundel™ Media Studio in 2 ways:

Roundel Media Studio Best Practices

Target offers a variety of tips on how to best leverage their latest offering to drive performance. 

Let’s take a look at the latest best practices for strategies such as maximizing efficiency or driving sales revenue. 

Recommended bidding tactics for maximizing efficiency:

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  • Set your line-item optimizer to Revenue for the highest return on ad spend (ROAS) or to Conversions for the lowest Cost per Order (CPO).
  • Since the Revenue and Conversions optimizers modulate the CPC you enter to maximize performance, it is useful to set a CPC cap to make sure that your bid will not exceed the maximum amount you wish to pay. The CPC cap should always remain at least 30% above the bid you enter to allow the engine to optimize effectively.
  • Set your bids competitively to balance scale and performance (ROAS or CPO) targets.
  • Optimize bids with respect to your CPO targets: lower CPCs slightly to increase efficiency, or raise them to increase scale

Recommended bidding tactics for maximizing sales revenue:

  • Set the line-item optimizer to Revenue.
  • Set bids to maximize scale and competitiveness while staying above KPI thresholds. Since the Revenue optimizer modulates the CPC you enter to maximize performance, it is useful to set a CPC cap to make sure that your bid will not exceed the maximum amount you wish to pay.
  • Adjust your bids progressively and preferably at the product level: filter the top products by Spend and then slightly reduce any bids that have a ROAS below your threshold.
  • In general, slightly lower CPC to increase efficiency or raise CPC to increase win rates and therefore increase sell-through.

Takeaways & Next Steps

This is just the start for RMS. In the future, Tinuiti will continue its partnership with Roundel to refine features and introduce additional ad types and functionalities.

When exploring any new advertising opportunity, the best results are typically realized when partnering with a performance marketing agency that understands the unique landscape. Our team boasts years of hands-on experience advertising in new and established marketplaces, including Amazon, Walmart, and Target. Working directly with Roundel, we ensure our clients’ ads harness the full functionality and features Target has to offer, with results-oriented scalability baked in.

Ready to learn more about how we can help your brand? Reach out to us today!

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Unlocking the Power of AI Transcription for Enhanced Content Marketing Strategies

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Unlocking the Power of AI Transcription for Enhanced Content Marketing Strategies

Have you noticed how artificial intelligence (AI) is slowly integrating into, well, everything? Then it won’t surprise you to hear that it’s also infiltrated content marketing.

How can AI enhance your content marketing? Through AI transcription.

Want to learn how?

Why AI Transcription is Revolutionary

AI transcription is transforming the way we access and interact with information. Here’s how it’s changing the game:

Rapid Content Transformation

Imagine turning a one-hour podcast or webinar into a comprehensive text document in minutes.

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AI transcription allows for quick conversion of long-form audio and video content, making it a breeze to repurpose these materials into articles, blogs, or reports.

This means you’re spending a lot less time working on making your content as accessible as possible—the AI is doing it for you—and more time on simply creating new content.

Inclusivity and Accessibility

By providing a text version of audio and video content, AI transcription breaks down barriers for people with hearing impairments. This widens your audience.

It also aids non-native speakers in understanding the content better by allowing them to read along, improving comprehension and engagement.

Content Amplification

With AI transcription, a single piece of content can be repurposed into a multitude of formats.

For example, a transcribed interview can be used to create an in-depth blog post, several engaging social media posts, and even quotes for infographics. This not only amplifies your content’s reach but also maximizes the return on investment for every piece of content created.

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SEO Benefits

Transcripts can be a goldmine for SEO. They are rich in keywords spoken naturally during conversations. Including these transcripts on your website or blog can significantly improve your search engine ranking by providing more content for search engines to index.

Real-Time Engagement

With real-time transcription services, audiences can follow along with live events, like conferences or webinars, through captions. This enhances the interactive experience and viewers don’t miss out on important information.

AI transcription is revolutionary because it democratizes content, making it accessible and usable in a variety of formats. It caters to a global audience, and multiplies the impact of the original content, all while improving SEO and user engagement.

Integrating AI Successfully

To truly tap into the power of AI transcription, you need a game plan. It starts with picking the right AI transcription service—one that’s not only accurate but also savvy with the lingo of your field.

Here’s how you can integrate AI transcription into your workflow like a pro:

Record Quality Content

The clearer your audio or video recording, the better your transcription will be. Invest in good recording equipment, minimize background noise, and ensure speakers articulate clearly. Think of it as laying the groundwork for flawless transcription.

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Transcribe with AI

Once you have your high-quality recording, it’s time to let the AI work its magic. Upload your file to AI technology like Clipto and let it transform your spoken words into written text. This step is where the tech shines, turning hours of audio into text in minutes.

Edit and Polish

AI is smart, but it’s not perfect. Review the transcript for any errors or awkward phrasings. Adjust any text you need to. This editing process ensures the final product is not only accurate but also engaging and readable.

Incorporate into Your Strategy

Now that you have your polished transcript, use it to upgrade your marketing materials. Transcripts can be repurposed into blog posts, social media content, eBooks, or even used to enhance video and podcast SEO by providing searchable text.

AI transcription is  a dynamic tool that can extend your capabilities. By treating AI as a collaborative partner, you can enhance your content marketing efforts, making your message clearer, more accessible, and far-reaching. Integrating AI transcription allows you to engage with your audience on multiple levels.

Spicing Up Your Content with AI Transcription

Let’s get real—AI transcription is more than just a fancy way of turning chatter into text. It’s a secret weapon in your content marketing arsenal.

Boosting Quality and Nailing Relevance

Think about it: when you transcribe your audio and video goodies, you’re capturing every little detail and nuance that might have slipped by unnoticed. Here’s the scoop:

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  • Accuracy is Key: With AI, you can nail the exactness of your content, catching the subtle hints and expressions that give it flavor.
  • SEO Magic: Those transcripts are like SEO gold, stuffed with keywords that naturally pop up in conversation, giving your site’s visibility a hearty push.

And the cherry on top? AI transcription can sort out the big themes in your content, keeping your marketing vibe consistent and spot-on across all platforms.

Digging into Data

Now, here comes the detective work. AI transcription lays out all the juicy data about what your audience loves (and doesn’t). With this goldmine of info, you can:

  • Analyze Engagement: Spot the hotspots in your videos or podcasts where people hang on every word—and where they hit the fast-forward button. This insight is like a roadmap to your audience’s heart.
  • Strategize with Confidence: Armed with data, you can tweak your topics, amp up engagement, and keep your audience coming back for more.

So, by turning your spoken content into text, you’re not just filling up space. You’re diving deep into the analytics pool for a smarter, more data-driven approach to content marketing. It’s about getting down to the nitty-gritty of what your audience really likes, making every word you publish count.

Bottom Line

It’s clear that AI transcription is not just a fleeting trend but a robust ally in the realm of content marketing. Equipped with tools to make your message not only heard but felt across the globe.

From crafting precision-packed text that search engines adore to unveiling layers of audience insights waiting to be explored, AI transcription is your go-to for making every piece of content count.

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How To Adapt Your SEO and Content Strategies for SGE and AI Experiences

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How to Adapt Your SEO and Content Strategies for SGE and AI Experiences

A massive change is coming to search.

As Google experiments with AI in its standard search results and its Search Generative Experience (SGE), marketers must understand how to adapt their content strategies for new AI-impacted search experiences.

Since 2023, Google has been prolific in its AI experimentation, changing the way content is represented in search results. Its content-led SGE recently moved out of its testing lab to show up in a small percentage of results in Google’s main search interface.

Brands that produce content experiences that align with new search behaviors and focus on conversion stand a better chance to survive the search change.

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Google adds generative AI, first-person reviews, and anti-spam actions

Your news feed says all. Search and generative AI investments are everywhere. And it’s not just Google — new entrants, such as Perplexity AI and You.com, are on the search scene. Meanwhile, OpenAI is working on a search engine powered by Microsoft’s Bing.

Still, Google owns the biggest market share in search, so let’s focus on the ways AI is affecting Google SEO.

Reddit and new content sources

Google added new content sources to its traditional results and Search Generative Experience.

In traditional search results, adding more content sources helps fine-tune its AI technologies. The recent content licensing deal with Reddit is a prime example. You can already see its content appearing more often in traditional search results.

This screenshot shows the search engine results for “Is Volvo a good car?” A discussion from the Volvo subreddit appears as the third result on the page (or fourth if you count the people-also-ask module.)

Click to enlarge

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SGE appearance

The image below shows the SGE for the Volvo query. The first paragraphs are an AI-generated summary drawing on ratings from RepairPal (after an alert explaining the experimental nature of the generative AI content.)

Below the SGE summary, a search box prompts the visitor to ask a follow-up question. After that element, the Reddit discussion on Volvo reliability appears.

The image shows the SGE for the Volvo query.

Click to enlarge

Showing Reddit content in SERPs lets Google show more first-person reviews and opinions (the experience element of Google’s EEAT (experience, expertise, authoritativeness, and trustworthiness) for search ratings.

But how will Google distinguish between subjective, objective, and informative opinions? With Reddit content, which can include positive and negative opinions readily on display, brands will need to follow relevant discussions on Reddit.

Google goes after spam sites

You may have read about Google’s latest update, which aims to avoid sites with low-quality (often AI-generated) content and give helpful content more prominence in SERPs.

This hammers home the message to avoid relying on generative AI alone for content creation. Content needs a human touch to earn the experience, expertise, authoritativeness, and trustworthiness that Google and, more importantly, searchers want to see.

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Expect more penalties from Google for content that’s just churned out from AI prompts.

SGE’s impact on brands

SGE is the rollout that will impact every industry and content marketer.

My company, BrightEdge, built a tool to detect how and where search engines experiment with AI and new content formats. The chart below shows an estimate of the percentage of queries by industry affected by SGE results once it’s fully rolled out.

Health care will see the biggest impact, with 76% of its searches affected by SGE. Finance will be the least affected, with only 17% of queries impacted by SGE. Here’s how SGE will affect other industries:

  • E-commerce (49%)
  • B2B technology (48%)
  • Insurance (45%)
  • Education (44%)
  • Restaurants (36%)
  • Entertainment (36%)
  • Travel (30%)
The chart shows an estimate of the percentage of queries by industry affected by SGE results once it’s fully rolled out.

Click to enlarge

Once SGE rolls out completely, it will likely impact over $40 billion per year in ad revenue on Google for marketers per BrightEdge estimates.

How to prepare for SGE and changing search behavior

Google has always shown relevant sources and articles so searchers can make informed decisions. With the generative AI changes, Google’s engine now asserts an opinion. This represents a fundamental shift in how a search engine responds to queries.

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Imagine you search the web to learn more about a BMW model you’re interested in. Previously, a Google search would display results with links such as BMW’s official site, Top Gear, Consumer Reports, and Carfax. The searcher then could choose the resources to explore and form an opinion about the vehicle.

In the generative AI world, Google’s primary result might not be a direct link to BMW’s website. Instead, it could be AI-generated content that provides an evaluative perspective. The AI content might include important factors to consider when looking at a BMW, such as the potential for high maintenance expenses or issues with parts availability due to supply chain challenges. This AI-curated summary will be presented before the searcher can see the resources with links for further exploration.

This shift may lead to reduced but higher-quality traffic. Brands are likely to experience better conversion rates. The reason? Consumers are more likely to act because they’ve been influenced by prior engagements and information provided by Google.

Still, you’ll need to adapt to the new search environment. Here are some tips on how to prepare.

Focus on the search basics

Solidify your foundation of SEO and website fundamentals. The essential elements will gain more significance as time progresses.

Make sure your website is optimized for user-friendliness and complies with Google’s guidelines regarding Core Web Vitals, Helpful Content, and EEAT (experience, expertise, authoritativeness, trustworthiness).

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You may also want to review these tips for optimizing content for SGE.

Deepen your understanding of new search behaviors

Use data to grasp user and conversational intent, especially since these factors influence the AI-generated search results. Identifying high-value searches is essential.

Make sure that your content responds to the specific query and addresses its broader context to attract results for long-tail keyword searches.

Content generated by AI draws from reliable and credible sources. Ensure your brand’s content is considered an authoritative source.

The growing prominence of trusted sources and an increase in consumer reviews signal a pivotal change: Brands are likely to have less control over the customer journey.

Align content with other marketing disciplines

Search engine results now encompass an array of media types and formats, including social media, reviews, and news sources. So, teams in marketing, content creation, digital strategies, brand management, design, social media, and public relations must align closely.

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Strategies for an AI-first future

According to BrightEdge research, 98% of enterprise organizations say they’ll prioritize SEO in 2024. And 94% of organizations are looking to integrate SEO into all marketing (omnichannel) strategies.

Strategies for adapting your content approach to new search experiences will vary by industry.  Here are a few examples.

E-commerce: Google commonly presents content for e-commerce queries via product viewers. SGE replaces these with better, more visual, and informational (combined) content.

Google has experimented with several formats, including a general shopping result that details what a searcher would expect to see in a universal listing. However, as SGE results have evolved, so have the ways a user can view products.

This image shows an example of SGE’s integrated product viewer carousel with grouping for apparel, which displays multiple apparel options in a single display.

This image shows an example of SGE’s integrated product viewer carousel with grouping for apparel, which displays multiple apparel options in a single display.

These tips will help you prepare for the various viewer modules (see viewer examples).

  • Optimize for trend relevance: Aligning category pages with current trends can increase your chance of being included in SGE dynamic displays.
  • Incorporate product reviews: Showing product reviews on your site boosts credibility.
  • Present clear pricing Information: Use schema markup to highlight pricing details.

Travel, restaurants, and local: Places have long been a key module for Google. Now, we’re seeing the places module showing up in about 45% of SGE queries. So, make sure to include location-based keywords.

You might also try these optimization suggestions:  

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  • Monitor and respond to reviews.
  • Tailor your local listings for location-specific queries.
  • Keep an eye on how and where SGE displays local modules. SGE displays local results even in queries without location-specific terms.

Entertainment: SGE entertainment results are primarily informational. But more reviews (and warnings for age-appropriate content) are appearing in both traditional search and SGE.

Get ready to shift your SEO thinking

Whoever provides the best experience for their target consumers will win in the new AI search experiences. Focus on third-party content reviews, social, PR, and brand authority. Expect your competitive landscape to change with new entrants that might eat into your market share.

Be aware, ready, and prepared to optimize for multiple AI search experiences.

All tools mentioned in this article were suggested by the author. If you’d like to suggest a tool, share the article on social media with a comment.

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Cover image by Joseph Kalinowski/Content Marketing Institute

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