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The impact on ads of smarter search results

What will more lengthy search results (such as Google’s SGE) mean for search advertising? I know that many advertisers are taking this quite seriously. There’s no need to be too concerned though: Google is not going to kill the goose that lays the golden egg. Indeed, I doubt that we’ll see that much of SGE in the short to medium term – there are a lot of issues to sort out with the credibility of machine-generated answers first. Users just don’t have as much confidence in them as they do in the ‘original’ websites where the answers came from.

Once it has become the preferred way of results being presented, in whatever way that develops, Google will need to keep the income rolling. If the results page makes it unnecessary to click through to a website, that will apply to ads too, and Google will want to avoid that if it retains its pay-per-click model.

Of course, it could always return to some sort of pay-per-result model (it had this in the early days of Google AdWords), but I just can’t see how that can be made to work. I suspect that the most immediate impact will be a need to write ads which are more relevant to the questions users may be trying to ask with their query. And that can wait until we see how things pan out.