Artificial Intelligence And Search Engine Marketing

by Harrison Horblit

Apr 10, 2024

Posted in Paid Search

VP of Paid Media, Harrison Horblit, discusses artificial intelligence and search engine marketing.

The AI Revolution: One Year Later

About a year ago, it seemed like artificial intelligence was coming for everything. Total disruption. If you listened to the pundits — the professionals and the laypersons — countless creatives, programmers, and search engine marketing specialists would soon be out of jobs.

And while there has been an undeniable impact, approximately 5,000 U.S. workers have lost their jobs due to AI, the artificial intelligence takeover hasn’t come as swiftly as some might expect. 

Our goal as an organization is to maintain a healthy perspective about this technology, as we would with any other new tool. When we assess AI, our thought isn’t, “How can we use this to reduce headcount?” our thoughts are, “How can it help our team do our jobs better?” and “How can it help us generate better results for our clients?” 

Recently, a client asked us for our take on what effect AI is having on search engine marketing, and we wanted to share that analysis with you, as well. 

How Will Artificial Intelligence Affect Search Engine Marketing?

AI has a lot of potential when it comes to digital marketing, especially in the hands of marketing experts who can use this tool to remove busy work while increasing focus on campaign effectiveness. 

What the recent buzz about artificial intelligence has omitted from the conversation, however, is that these tools are not new. 

AI and machine learning have already been a large part of Google and Bing search engine marketing features — for the past five years, at least. These AI tools have been more “analytical” applications versus some of the sexier generative tools that have been getting attention in the past year. 

For instance, Google has for some time now used analytical artificial intelligence to: 

  • Manage bid adjustments
    Optimize campaigns
  • Select tailored ad placements
  • Find relevant users 

Similarly, Performance Max, one of the newer Google Ad formats, uses a form of AI to adapt your assets dynamically to serve in different formats and through various publishers.

These features have been incredible enhancements in the way that my peers and I create more effective campaigns for our clients. Still, despite how transformative many of these factors are, they still need a marketing expert managing them in order to be used to their fullest potential. 

People Are Vital In Driving Artificial Intelligence Tools Forward

Interestingly enough, very few end-to-end 3rd party AI tools or software could truly manage or change how we analyze and manage your PPC ads. 

Some products, like Optmyzr offer flexible insights and flight automation for campaigns. Tools like Acquisio can manage budgets at scale. Windsor.ai is a machine learning/AI tool that frames data in different formats and provides suggestions on platform investments. 

But, again, all of them need a person driving them in order to be truly valuable for agencies and their clients. They can be incredibly helpful, but there’s a lot of room for improvement. 

For example, generative AI that uses natural language processing can help write and develop creative assets for us to use in search engine marketing, drastically streamlining the process of writing ad copy and even generating visuals. 

However, I don’t believe any generative ad writing tools adhere to publisher guidelines and standards. As most of you already know, there are many best practices and techniques for writing high-quality ad copy, and they all vary from platform to platform — and industry to industry. 

In my experience, I have yet to see a tool that successfully combines all of these requirements with a generative writing tool like ChatGPT or Bard. It doesn’t mean it’s not coming, but it’s not here yet. And there are other critical developments just beyond the horizon. 

AI’s Transformation of Search Engine Results Pages

In my opinion, the most critical and relevant upcoming change that will result from AI’s rise will be the search engine page result (SERP) transformation. 

Currently, a Google search consists of a query input by the user, resulting with a list of relevant search results or links. 

But as the conversational format of current popular “call and response” AI tools has skyrocketed, I expect to see a significant shift towards a generated, more focused, and tailored human-like response (i.e., when you ask your Alexa or Siri a question). 

This will fundamentally change how a SERP looks and behaves, but we’re not quite there yet. That said, I also know that we can consistently rely on Google to adapt its paid advertising structure in order to align with their preferred search future. (Hint: It’s the one that supports their search dominance and profitability!)

There’s a great article from Search Engine Land that predicts that sponsored results will still be incorporated in the chat experience, but most likely within the conclusion or near the end of the AI-generated response. 

Of course, this will absolutely change the way we bid on, manage, design, and run paid search results, but we’re still a ways out from this change. 

And that’s why we’re here, to stay abreast of the changes in artificial intelligence and search engine marketing so that we can 1) Understand their industry impact, and 2) Use what’s best for our clients to achieve their goals. 

Marketing For People By People

At Formada, we have a staunch belief that, in its current state, AI cannot replace the expertise and context of a talented human being working within digital marketing. 

But we’re not afraid of AI. Far from it. We use many AI and machine learning tools today that make our jobs easier, help us process data, and help us deliver outstanding results to our clients. 

However, we believe that it is the human experience that allows us to put unique spins and contextual lenses on our work, from copywriting to campaign analysis and beyond. 

And we believe in the ethical use of AI. We will always value the talent and insight of a person over a computational tool. While we will always keep a watchful eye on software that can help improve our service offerings, we know our team members will always be the driving force to deliver value and drive industry-leading results.

These are tools to support them, not replace them. 

If you’d like to learn more about how the Formada team can help your organization reach its goals through effective, people-first paid search campaigns, content strategies, and web design, we would love to talk with you. 

I guarantee you that it will be an experience unlike any other that you’ve had before. Contact us today!


Get in touch with the Formada Team