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What is Instacart? How it Works for Shoppers & Stores

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What is Instacart? How it Works for Shoppers & Stores

“How does Instacart work?” It’s a simple enough question on the surface. And the answer can be fairly simple as well, depending on what exactly someone is really asking. Many people asking that question are actually wondering what exactly Instacart is, and/or how they can go about placing an order. So let’s start there.

What is Instacart?

Instacart is the leading grocery delivery platform in the US, and leading grocery technology company in North America, offering same-day delivery and pick-up from an expansive array of stores in the grocery space and beyond. Instacart itself does not hold the inventory from the stores available to shop from on the platform, nor is there any implied relationship between the 1400+ different retailers and grocers (80,000+ stores) customers can shop with through Instacart. Instacart users can conveniently shop from more than one store at a time on Instacart, but each store will have its own separate cart, delivery fees, Instacart shopper, and minimum order value.

While customers think of Instacart as a service that benefits—and is designed for—them, it is simultaneously a service for brands and stores themselves.

Current offerings on the Instacart Platform include:

Instacart’s well-established platform not only helps retailers ‘bring their business online’ and/or expand their reach, but also handles the human labor element: facilitating the physical shopping for, and/or delivery of, those purchases through their network of Instacart Shoppers.

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There is also an affluence benefit, as noted by NielsenIQ:

“Even retailers that have invested in their own e-commerce platforms use Instacart to reach a wider shopper base. Instacart’s shoppers are more affluent and spend more online than buyers from any other e-commerce retailer, according to NielsenIQ’s e-commerce data. With its growing cross-channel shopper base, Instacart provides retailers an expanded audience of shoppers who would otherwise not purchase from their retailer-branded sites.”

How does Instacart work for shoppers?

Customers can place an order through Instacart using their smartphone or computer. Once an Instacart Shopper accepts the order, they will then shop for and deliver the customer’s items to their home, or prepare them for pickup at the store, often within a few hours or less.

As for what that process looks like for the customer from start to finish:

  • Download the Instacart app to your smartphone or tablet, or visit Instacart.com on your computer
  • Click the “Sign up” button, and provide an email address and password to create your account
  • Browse through available stores to shop in your area using your address or current location
  • Choose a store, and add the items you’d like to purchase to your virtual cart, choosing preferred replacement products. These are items that you’re giving your shopper pre-approval to substitute should an item you’ve added to your cart not be available. You can also opt to be refunded for an unavailable item if you only want the exact item you’ve specified
  • Optionally, add a note for your shopper
  • Once all your desired items have been added, click the grocery cart icon in the upper-right corner to head to checkout
  • Click the rectangular “Go to checkout” button, select a day and time for your order to be delivered, and indicate if you would prefer a contactless delivery
  • Add your payment information, and place your order

By design, apps like Instacart present an incredible opportunity for advertisers to reach (often literally) hungry customers in the consideration stage.

“They had to go to Instacart.com—very consciously, or open the app—the geography had to be selected, a store had to be selected, and then the user begins their journey. They’re not just browsing at this point; some decisions have been made, some plans are happening. We’re either out of ice and beer, or we need the groceries for next week, or we can’t get to Costco. What we have to do for the future is take a look at those connections, and understand how we’re going to account for them, because those are very valuable partners.”

Elizabeth Marsten, VP, Commerce Strategic Services at Tinuiti

How much does Instacart cost?

As with many delivery services, there is no set price for using Instacart on the whole, but some cost considerations to keep in mind include…

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Fees: Common fees you might see listed on your Instacart order include delivery fees, service fees, long distance fees, heavy order fees, priority fees, pickup fees, and/or miscellaneous fees applicable to specific states and localities, including bottle and bag fees.

Potentially higher prices: The retailer sets the price for their goods on Instacart, with many setting the price 10-20% higher than the in-store price.

Shopper tip: While not required, Instacart suggests that customers leave at least 5% of their total order cost as a tip for their shopper by default. Instacart shoppers can see the offered tip before accepting an order, so a more generous tip may help you secure more speedy service. Consider your personal tipping habits when evaluating how much Instacart will cost for you.

Instacart+ membership: There is no membership required to shop on Instacart, though the optional membership program can quickly pay for itself for frequent Instacart users. Instacart+ currently costs $99 annually or $9.99 monthly, offering members lower service fees, free delivery on orders above $35, a Peacock subscription and more.

While these Instacart costs can quickly add up, the convenience factor makes it worth it for a growing number of users. As of 2022, Instacart has 10 million monthly active users.

Benefits & drawbacks of using Instacart as a customer

Is Instacart worth it? That depends! While many Instacart devotees can’t imagine going back to a life before personal shoppers, others treat it as an occasional indulgence or emergency back-up plan. Wherever you fall on the Instacart spectrum, some key advantages and disadvantages to consider include…

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Key Benefits

  • Can deliver products from almost any chain grocer or retailer in the USA and Canada
  • Multiple convenient service options available, including in-store pickup, delivery, scheduled delivery
  • Accessible for people who have difficulty shopping in-store
  • Allows you to shop from some wholesale clubs (like Costco), even if you don’t have a club membership
  • Subscription options available for frequent users

Key Considerations

  • The convenience comes at a premium cost, including often-higher prices on the goods themselves
  • Not yet available everywhere, but more zip codes are being added each year
  • Not ideal for shoppers who like to choose their own produce or other items

What stores partner with Instacart?

Walgreens on Instacart

Image Source: Instacart.com

The local retailers that you can order from through Instacart lean heavily toward grocery stores, but include many popular stores offering a variety of non-grocery items, as well.

Instacart continues to announce many newsworthy partnerships, handling same-day and scheduled deliveries for a growing number of household-name retailers.

More than “1,400 retail banners trust Instacart to help grow their business across 80,000+ retail locations,” with a few of those stores including:

  • Sam’s Club
  • Costco
  • Five Below
  • Best Buy
  • Sephora
  • JD Sports and Finish Line
  • Kiehl’s
  • Giant Eagle
  • Walgreens

While we anticipate that Instacart’s ‘bread and butter’ (pun intended) will continue to be grocery store orders and deliveries for the foreseeable future, we also expect that the number of partnering stores outside the grocery space will consistently grow over time as evidenced by their variety of platform partners, plans for global expansion, and recent IPO.

Why is Instacart Growing So Quickly?

“In a year of monumental online sales, few impacted the consumer packaged goods (CPG) industry’s growth more than Instacart. A third-party grocery delivery and pick-up service provider, Instacart grew by over $15 billion in 2020, second only to Amazon in CPG sales growth.”

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Natalie Williams, VP of Product Leadership, NielsenIQ

Year | Instacart Users (used more than 1x per month)

  • 2017 | 3.3 million
  • 2018 | 4.3 million
  • 2019 | 5.5 million
  • 2020 | 9.6 million
  • 2021 | 11.1 million
  • 2022 | 13.7 million

Data Source

The fact that Instacart’s user base more than doubled in size between 2019 and 2022 is no mystery, mistake, or surprise; the time was right, and they were ready for it. The timing being right was two-fold, and inextricably interwoven with the modern tech capabilities that make Instacart…well…work.

The Rise of Algorithms & Digital Technology

First, the timing was right because the full suite of technological advances needed for grocery delivery to be a viable, successful option was finally in place. As noted by IEEE Spectrum in their comprehensive The Algorithms that Make Instacart Roll:

“Cloud computing and inexpensive smartphones emerged in the decade after the launch of the first-generation online grocery companies. By 2012, when Instacart began, these technologies had created an environment in which online grocery ordering could finally come into its own.”

The COVID-19 Pandemic

Second, COVID-19 reordered the primary benefits/reasons for using Instacart; this shift in the why of grocery delivery brought a wide range of new shoppers who might not have otherwise ever created an account.

Whereas personal safety might not have even made the Top 10 list of reasons to use Instacart before the pandemic, suddenly, this service that was previously embraced primarily for its convenience and time saving benefits was now being used to minimize the risk of contracting COVID-19 in crowded public environments.

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Apoorva Mehta, Founder, Chairman, and former CEO at Instacart, shared with Forbes:
“We saw five years of growth in a matter of five weeks. And the growth has continued. We grew over 300% year-on-year.”

Who controls the product listing information on Instacart?

Historically, supplying product content to Instacart was largely the responsibility of retailers themselves; this content, which was originally received from the brands, includes item images, titles, relevant keywords, and product descriptions. Brands did have the ability to modify this product information via a 3P CSP (third-party content service provider), but given the associated cost of a CSP, not all brands have one.

In May 2021, Instacart announced a “Product Library” feature that put more control in the hands of brands of all sizes—no CSP required. Forbes notes the change is “a rare win-win-win-win for all stakeholders involved”—brands/advertisers, retailers, in-store Instacart Shoppers, and the end customer. Instacart’s self-service Library Manager tool “gives brands direct control of their product content quality and accuracy on the Instacart marketplace.”

Recent Instacart News and Developments

Instacart has paved the way for a momentous 2024, and we’re excited to see how recent advances help shape the future of the company, including:

  • Instacart’s highly-anticipated September 2023 IPO came just in time to add some Instacart stock to holiday stockings!
  • The Instacart and Trade Desk partnership announced in October 2023 “aims to make CPG advertisers’ media buys more data-driven on The Trade Desk by enabling them to reach purchase-minded audiences based on Instacart’s consumer behavior and product purchase data.” Instacart will provide category-based purchase data for brands to leverage on The Trade Desk to help in reaching high-intent audiences through Instacart advertising. These audience segments include: shoppers who purchased within a brand’s category, but not their brand; shoppers who bought their brand; lapsed brand purchasers; and more.
  • Measuring the impact streaming TV advertising has on ecommerce purchases is a top priority for many CPG brands. In April 2023, Instacart helped make that possible, launching the first set of off-platform measurement capabilities with Roku, a leading CTV (connected television) device maker
  • Instacart is leaning heavily into developing tools and technologies that transform omnichannel grocery with AI, with updates to Instacart Storefront including “a new In-Store mode, which turns retailers’ apps into a companion as customers shop in stores.”
  • Instacart’s new discovery tools, announced in November 2023, help emerging brands catch the eye of retailers looking for new products through digital sell sheets that “showcase the best of their product catalog to Instacart’s network of over 1,400 retail banners.”
  • Instacart recently made it easier for shoppers buying health-related items to use their HSA or FSA funds on Instacart
  • Instacart Retailer Targeted Demand launched in June 2023, offering advertisers enhanced flexibility and control over how and where they run their marketing campaigns, providing more room for strategic experimentation through their existing Instacart account

Final Thoughts

So… What is Instacart?

As we’ve explored, the answer to that seemingly simple question can take a few different routes, including:

Instacart is the connector. Instacart can be thought of as a double-pathed bridge; on the customer side, it bridges the customer with the Instacart Shopper. On the business-side, it bridges the store with the Instacart Shopper. Instacart is the intersection between the 4 main players: customer, brand, retailer, and shopper / delivery person.

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And…How does it work?

The relationship between people and technology makes it work. And neither can do it without the other.

“At Instacart, we know technology will play a crucial part in transforming the largest retail category in the world. We also know that the future of grocery should belong to the people who make it special today — and we can help them continue to innovate. We hope you’ll join our table.”

Fidji Simo, CEO, Instacart (source)

Want to learn more about selling and advertising on Instacart? Visit our Instacart services page or contact us today to chat with an expert!

Editor’s Note: This post was originally published by Shannon Mullery in November 2021 and has been updated for freshness, accuracy, and comprehensiveness.

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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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