Sasha Howells

Digital Assistants: Artificial Intelligence & Paid Search

There has recently been a lot of buzz and excitement surrounding Artificial Intelligence (A.I.) within the industry. Every blog, seminar and article mentions it, with companies including Bing and Google are taking steps to include more A.I., machine learning and automation within their software and platforms. Our PPC expert, Sasha Howells, gives us the facts on what Artificial Intelligence actually is, it’s impact on Paid Search and how advertisers can be prepared.

Artificial Intelligence

Hollywood has been romanticising the idea of Artificial Intelligence for decades with movies like Terminator, I-Robot and Metropolis, which means the public perception of A.I. is based on movies rather than what it actually is.

The reality of Artificial Intelligence is a lot less glamorous and exciting. A.I. is the theory that computer systems are able to perform tasks that require human intelligence and senses such as visual perception, speech recognition, decision-making and translating between languages. It is the idea that a non-human entity is able to communicate in a human manner.

What does this mean for paid search?

Digital assistants have been paving their way into people’s lives over the last few years. Back when Siri was first released on iPhones, it was just an irritating feature that didn’t work properly. I once asked it if it would rain and it gave me the latest Rangers score. Never has an answer been so wrong and so unhelpful to me.

However, Siri and digital assistants, have since developed and evolved into something more useful and efficient, and because of this, more users than ever are utilising them. This means that the way people are searching for answers is changing; people no longer want search results, they want instant answers. So what does this mean for paid search?

Well in the next few years, we are likely to see increasing numbers of personal and human-like search terms pull through in search reports, whilst also witnessing a decrease in the short, simple searches. This is due to voice-based queries being very different from typed queries. Voice queries are more like dialogues from a human conversation, whilst typed queries have been simplified and include only the important key points from a user’s question.

Due to the change in the way users are searching for answers, the way we respond to them is also likely to change. The most likely thing to happen is that ads are going to become less formal and more personal due to the initial interaction being pretty human, so we need to respond to the query in a similar manner.

How can we prepare for it?

A few weeks ago, we were at a Bing Event and one of the topics that was discussed was A.I. (I told you, it is everywhere!) and how this will change the landscape for the majority of the industries. So after showing demonstrations of the future features, and throwing stats about voice search into the fearful crowd, they did give us a few tips on how us advertisers, can prepare for it.

Broad Match Keywords

We cannot anticipate the queries for voice search, it’s like asking us to read someone’s mind. Luckily for us, broad match keywords exist. Before, a lot of advertisers frowned at broad match keywords. We lose some of the control over what type of content our ads are showing for, which results in irrelevant searches and an increase in cost. However, for voice searches, this may be the best bet to make sure that we are showing for those users, regardless of how the query is worded.

Natural language: Prepositions and Speech

When creating keywords, consider how people speak. This is especially important to consider when creating location-specific campaigns.

Landing Pages

Make sure that landing pages are relevant and answer the user’s question. They want a fast answer that doesn’t involve trawling through the website to find it.

Websites Optimised for Mobiles

It’s pretty obvious now that mobiles are here to stay. Last year, mobiles surpassed the other devices for the first time. With this in mind, a lot of businesses are still reluctant to optimise their websites for mobile for different reasons. However, not optimising a website for mobile can do more harm than good due to the websites being harder to navigate around on a smaller screen, which will result in users spending less time on the website and less likely to convert.

Whilst it is still early days, we are seeing an increase in automation and machine learning within Google and Bing. Not all features are applicable to all accounts, so it is worth testing features out to see how it works for that particular client and market.

The more we adopt these changes and developments, the more the businesses will move forward.


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