How SGE (Search Generative Experience) Will Impact Paid Advertising on Google

The digital marketing landscape is in a state of constant evolution - whether you've been in business for ten days or ten years, that's something you probably know to be true. 

Google's latest innovation, the Search Generative Experience (SGE) is poised to be yet another gamechanger. 

Leveraging artificial intelligence to create detailed and contextually relevant search overviews, SGE will significantly impact paid advertising on Google. But not all in a bad way, says Ryan Mitchell, biddable strategist at Kinetic319: "SGE is a big deal for digital advertisers because it helps save our most important resource: time."

Whether you're a small business owner or a marketer yourself, you need to understand these shifts so you can adapt and thrive in this new environment. 

Because, as the famous Greek philosopher Heraclitus once said, the only thing in life that is constant is change itself.

What is SGE (Search Generative Experience)?

Google's Search Generative Experience (SGE) is a cutting-edge approach to enhancing the search journey through the implementation of generative AI technologies. 

It marks a significant advancement in how users interact with search results and find information online. SGE leverages generative AI to transform the traditional search experience into a more intuitive, efficient, and personalized process.

The big advantage of SGE is that it's uniquely capable of presenting search results that are not only familiar, but are also tailored to individual user preferences and behaviors. 

By integrating generative AI-powered capabilities into the search engine interface, Google aims to streamline the search process, enabling users to access relevant information faster and in ways that align more closely with their needs.

It also introduces innovative features that enhance user engagement and exploration, such as the ability to generate images directly from the search bar based on text prompts. This dynamic functionality opens up new possibilities for visual search and content discovery within the search ecosystem.

What SGE Means for You

Now that you know what SGE is, what kind of impact will it have on your paid advertising efforts? Here's an overview.

1. Shift in User Behavior

SGE's AI-generated overviews provide users with comprehensive answers directly within the search results page, potentially reducing the need to click on traditional organic or paid links. 

This change could lead to a decrease in click-through rates (CTR) for ads, as users find answers directly within the AI-generated snippets.

It could also result in more screen real estate for AI overviews. In both desktop and mobile searches, SGE overviews can occupy considerable screen space. This may push traditional organic and paid search results further down the page, reducing their visibility and making it more challenging for ads to capture user attention.

What, exactly, might this look like? For example, a user searching for "best marketing strategies for small businesses" might receive a detailed AI-generated overview summarizing key strategies and linking to authoritative sources. This could satisfy the user’s query without them needing to click on additional links, including paid ads.

2. Changes in Ad Placement and Bidding Strategies

SGE will also result in changes in ad placement and bidding strategies. With organic results being pushed down, the top ad slots will become even more valuable. 

According to SEMRush, the average CPC in Google Ads across all industries is $2.69 for Search. 

As competition intensifies for top ad positions due to SGE, businesses may need to allocate higher budgets to maintain visibility. Google's auction-based ad placement system will likely see intensified competition for these coveted spots.

3. Impact on Ad Formats

SGE may introduce new ad formats that integrate more seamlessly with AI-generated content, such as interactive ads or those that provide direct responses within the SGE overview. 

Visual and rich media ads (like video and image ads) may become more prominent and necessary to capture user attention.

According to Aidan Shaw, SEO Manager at Kinetic319, "Ads are getting a new makeover with SGEs. They can better grasp what you're looking for, so ads will be more on point. This means ads that are more relevant to you and less annoying ones that don't relate."

4. Changing Performance Metrics

Traditional performance metrics like CTR and conversion rates might need adjustment as user interaction patterns change. You'll likely have to rely on more sophisticated attribution models to understand the true impact of your ads in the context of SGE. 

One report from Adweek indicated that you can expect a loss of 20 to 36% of total organic traffic to SGE - so you'll need to start rethinking how you track success.

5. Potential for New Advertising Opportunities

Google might introduce opportunities for brands to sponsor AI-generated overviews or have their content highlighted within these snippets. This could create new avenues for visibility and deeper insights into user preferences and behavior, enabling more effective ad targeting and personalization.

For instance, sponsored AI overviews could allow brands to ensure their content is prominently featured in response to specific search queries, much like sponsored posts on social media platforms.

How to Leverage the SGE Evolution to Your Advantage

SGE has attracted a lot of negative attention among marketers and business owners, with plenty of people concerned that it will result in a dip in paid advertising revenue (which it certainly can, as we highlighted above).

However, it also has a massive benefit. For digital advertisers, SGE is a major time-saver, as mentioned earlier. We spend so much time researching keywords, audiences, headlines, descriptions, and so on. Now, you can access all of that with the click of a button.

Ultimately, SGE transforms our roles from being creative to quality assurance, meaning we aren't out of a job - we just need to change our job duties. 

1. Optimize for Top Ad Positions

As the competition for top ad slots intensifies, increase your bids for these positions strategically. Use bid adjustments based on device, location, and time of day to maximize return on investment (ROI).

You may also want to take advantage of automatic bidding. Consider implementing Google’s automated bidding strategies, such as Target CPA (Cost Per Acquisition) or Target ROAS (Return on Ad Spend), to achieve optimal placements while still controlling costs. Working with Kinetic319 can help you determine the right path.

2. Enhance Ad Quality and Relevance

As always, quality is key - but it may be even more important in this increasingly competitive landscape.

Take the time to craft compelling and highly relevant ad copy that addresses the user’s search intent directly. Using ad extensions like sitelinks, callouts, and structured snippets can increase visibility and engagement.

You can also use ad customizers to dynamically insert relevant details into your ads, making them more personalized and timely.

3. Diversify Advertising Channels

In the age of SGE, it doesn't pay to have all of your advertising eggs in one basket. Diversify your advertising efforts beyond Google Ads. Explore opportunities on Bing Ads, social media platforms (e.g., Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn), and programmatic ad networks to reach a broader audience.

You should also work toward implementing multi-channel marketing strategies to ensure a consistent and cohesive brand presence across various touchpoints.

4. Utilize Advanced Targeting and Audience Segmentation

Leverage advanced targeting options, such as custom audiences and lookalike audiences, to reach users more likely to convert.

You should also create highly segmented audience groups based on demographics, behaviors, and interests to tailor your ad messaging more effectively. You may even be able to upload your customer data to create customer match lists (responsibly, of course) and use similar audiences (or leverage look-alikes, a la demand generation) to expand your reach to audiences with similar characteristics. 

5. Adopt New Ad Formats and Features

Now is the time to think outside of the box! Take advantage of new ad formats that allow users to interact with content directly within the search results.

And, whenever possible, incorporate visually engaging ads like videos and images to capture user attention amidst AI-generated content. Kinetic319 can help you develop the most effective ads and features.

6. Leverage AI and Machine Learning

Fight fire with fire - use AI to your advantage. You can use AI-powered tools and platforms to optimize your ad campaigns, analyze data, and gain actionable insights. There are all kinds of AI tools that help you analyze large datasets and pivot in real time. 

You can also apply machine learning algorithms to identify patterns and trends in user behavior, enabling more effective ad targeting and personalization. 

You can even implement dynamic search ads that automatically generate headlines and landing pages based on your website's content - this lends itself well to more relevant and cost-effective placement.

Many digital marketers are already using AI to create copy and content. This saves time, but you still need to do significant brand research to understand the best copy to use in your paid media. Use a variety of tools, research bots, and copy scrapers to come up with a master list of keywords and to then generate your copy. Filter it down and use only the best copy.

It can be incredibly helpful for generating keywords, headlines, and descriptions, but you need to filter out the "bad stuff" to make sure you're left with only the good. No longer do you have to come up with everything yourself - but you do need to be able to filter out the bad from what's being generated.

7. Focus on User Experience and Landing Page Optimization

When a potential customer does stumble upon your page, you can't risk losing them to slow loading speeds or a clunky site. Make sure your landing pages are optimized for user experience, with fast load times, mobile responsiveness, and clear calls-to-action.

Similarly, create engaging and relevant content that meets user expectations and encourages conversions. This is just one of many areas in which Kinetic319 can be a helpful partner - we'll work with you to develop content that not only informs and educates your audience, but also encourages them to stick around.  

Says Shaw: "For SEO, SGEs mean you need to focus even more on creating quality content that answers real questions. SGEs can better match this content with what people are ACTUALLY searching for, helping your site get seen by the right eyes."

Of course, you need to take the time to measure. Continuously perform A/B testing on all your ad creatives and landing pages to make sure you understand what works best - and what needs to be tweaked based on the performance data. 

8. Stay Informed and Adapt

Google's SGE will likely not be the last development in the world of digital marketing - far from it. Rather than being deterred by this new challenge, embrace it. Stay informed and adapt your approach constantly. 

Keep up with industry trends, particularly as they relate to the latest developments in AI and search technology. That way, you can adapt your strategies accordingly. Also, keep an eye on your competitors’ advertising strategies and adjust your approach to maintain a competitive edge.

Lean on Kinetic319 to Help You Make the Shift

SGE represents a significant shift in how users interact with search results, with notable implications for paid advertising. "AI is changing PPC the same way it is changing our whole world," says Mitchell. "It is changing the job from 'come up with everything yourself' to 'be able to filter out the bad information from something already generated.'"

But it doesn't have to be a nail in the coffin - far from it, in fact. Embrace the change, adapt your strategies, and watch your business thrive.

"The only question is," Mitchell muses. "What will you do with your newly gained spare time?"

At Kinetic319, we're here to help you stay ahead of the curve and make the most of new opportunities like SGE. Contact us today to learn how we can support your business in adapting to these changes and achieving your marketing goals.

Back to blog