Is OpenAI’s ChatGPT a Threat to Google?

Is OpenAI’s ChatGPT a Threat to Google?

Google

Could a chatbot replace Google Search?

That’s what a lot of technology watchers are asking since the public release of ChatGPT, a chatbot powered by artificial intelligence.

ChatGPT is the product of OpenAI, the company that produced Dall-E, which uses AI to create images. ChatGPT is one of many chatbots designed to respond to queries from people by providing richer, more detailed, and more human-sounding answers than their predecessors.

ChatGPT caused a huge stir after OpenAI released a beta version to the public on November 30 so that people would use it and give feedback that will improve the chatbot. It proved to be so slick and so intelligent that OpenAI CEO Sam Altman said ChatGPT achieved one million users in less than a week after its public launch.

It didn’t take long for journalists and pundits to test how well the chatbot would respond to the kind of challenging questions that people ask via Google Search. After all, for the most part, Google answers questions by providing links to other sources of information. This requires the user to do more work by clicking through the links for more detail. But ChatCPGT responds with a single answer that synthesizes information. Writer Parmy Olson wrote on Bloomberg:

I went through my own Google search history over the past month and put 18 of my Google queries into ChatGPT, cataloguing the answers. I then went back and ran the queries through Google once more, to refresh my memory. The end result was, in my judgment, that ChapGPT’s answer was more useful than Google’s in 13 out of the 18 examples.

“Useful” is of course subjective. What do I mean by the term? In this case, answers that were clear and comprehensive. A query about whether condensed milk or evaporated milk was better for pumpkin pie during Thanksgiving sparked a detailed (if slightly verbose) answer from ChatGPT that explained how condensed milk would lead to a sweeter pie. (Naturally, that was superior.) Google mainly provided a list of links to recipes I’d have to click around, with no clear answer.

That underscores ChatGPT’s prime threat to Google down the line. It gives a single, immediate response that requires no further scanning of other websites. In Silicon Valley speak, that is a “frictionless” experience, something of a holy grail when online consumers overwhelmingly favor services that are quick and easy to use.

But, wait a minute.

Doesn’t Google also have a chatbot? Yes, it does.

The Google LaMDA chatbot does what ChatGPT does. But Google isn’t going to release that for the public to toy with largely because Google doesn’t roll that way. LaMDA is in R&D mode, and, as such, it makes mistakes. If Google were release a mistake-prone bot to the public, Google could undermine its own credibility.

OpenAI does not have this problem. The company’s model is to test and learn publicly. OpenAI is willing to generate street cred by getting to market faster than Google.

And to be clear: ChatGPT makes mistakes and fabricates answers. It’s also under fire for providing biased information. But OpenAI released the tool publicly to unearth these problems in order to fix them, and no doubt ChatGPT will get better.

But Google has another problem: how does a chat interface get monetized? As writer Alex Kantrowitz wrote,

Even if chatbots were to fix their accuracy issues, Google would still have a business-model problem to contend with. The company makes money when people click ads next to search results, and it’s awkward to fit ads into conversational replies. Imagine receiving a response and then immediately getting pitched to go somewhere else—it feels slimy and unhelpful. Google thus has little incentive to move us beyond traditional search, at least not in a paradigm-shifting way, until it figures out how to make the money aspect work. In the meantime, it’ll stick with the less impressive Google Assistant.

The fact that Google is even developing a chatbot demonstrates that the company is looking beyond the current search interface. ChatGPT won’t “beat” Google. But it will likely accelerate Google’s embrace of chat as a search interface.

But how should businesses respond to all this?

  • First off, experiment with ChatGPT (or the chatbot of your choice). Understand how they work. Get comfortable with the conversational way that ChatGPT answers questions. If you’ve invested in voice search, you are probably doing this already. How might this conversational format affect your own approach to online advertising?
  • But don’t change how you do business. ChatGPT is fraught with many other issues such as potential copyright infringement. It’s not ready for prime time by any stretch.

The headline is this: if you’re all in with Google as an advertising platform, ChatGPT shouldn’t change your budget for 2023. But do spend time with it while you can do so for free. The time will likely come soon when OpenAI will turn ChatGPT into a commercial tool,

Contact True Interactive

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An Explanation of the 30 Percent Apple/Google Tax

An Explanation of the 30 Percent Apple/Google Tax

Apple Google

Twitter’s well publicized spat with Apple has highlighted an unpleasant reality for any business that operates an app: Apple and Google both enjoy a costly app duopoly.

The 30 Percent Tax

Twitter owner Elon Musk recently accused Apple of trying to destroy Twitter partly by putting Apple’s Twitter advertising on pause and partly by threatening to remove Twitter from the Apple app store.

Both parties apparently resolved their building tensions. Apple is advertising on Twitter, and Twitter remains on the App Store. Perhaps all is well between Apple and Twitter now. But not all is well for any organization, including Twitter, that needs the App Store to do business on Apple’s iOS operating system, which, of course, includes iPhone users.

The App Store provides access to more than 1.5 billion devices. It’s a top way for people to get the Twitter app and any app. What many journalists accurately reported in their coverage of the Twitter/Apple skirmish is that businesses on the App Store must pay Apple a 30 percent commission on all transactions processed via Apple, known as in-app purchases. As The New York Times noted,

Mr. Musk’s App Store allegation resurrects a potent charge against Apple: that it has used access to millions of iPhone and iPad devices as a cudgel to extract more money from app makers. A key part of Mr. Musk’s plans for Twitter is collecting more revenue from subscriptions — but under Apple’s policies, up to 30 percent of those sales from iPhone users would go to Apple itself.

The commission applies to all app developers who make more than $1 million through the ‌App Store‌ on an annual basis. For small developers who make less than the $1 million threshold, Apple has cut its fees to 15 percent through the Small Business Developer Program.

The commission also applies to “sales of ‘boosts’ for posts in a social media app,” meaning boosted content (i.e., posts that becomes amplified for a fee) on Facebook and Instagram.

Apple is not alone. Google also offers its own in-app billing system that charges a 30 percent commission or service fee for any payment made for an app or in-app payments or subscriptions. In 2021, Google began to enforce this requirement. After withering backlash, Google said it would cut the fee to 15 percent earned by a developer through their app on Play Store in a year and the 30 percent commission will apply for the revenue earned beyond $1 million.

Apple and Google effectively hold a duopoly. No business can bypass that duopoly; trying to process payments outside the App Store or Google Play would result in being kicked off both. (However, it should be noted that reportedly Elon Musk is figuring out how to design a closed payments system for Twitter.)

In the United Kingdom, the Competition and Markets Authority is launching an investigation that is taking aim at this duopoly. In the United States, reportedly the Justice Department is investigating Apple, and Epic Games has gone so far as to fight Apple legally.

But the wheels of justice may turn too slowly for the businesses that are operating under the thumb of Apple and Google. What steps can they take? Here are a few suggestions:

  • As with any tax, it’s important to budget accordingly. If you have not done so already, adjust you advertising and marketing plans to take into account the 30 percent commission. (We can help you with that.)
  • Boost your advertising and marketing to attract more sales. (We can help you with that, too.)
  • Make your voice known, as Twitter, Coinbase, and Spotify are doing. True, few businesses have the reach and visibility of those companies, but going on record leaves electronic breadcrumbs that increase the pressure on the duopoly, however slightly. Remember, backlash caused Google to back down on its fees as noted above.

Meanwhile, True Interactive continues to work with our clients to maximize the value of every dollar they spend via mobile advertising. Contact us to learn how we can help you.

Photo by Rami Al-zayat on Unsplash

Why Google Is Bullish About Winning Its Fight with TikTok

Why Google Is Bullish About Winning Its Fight with TikTok

Google YouTube

Alphabet, Google’s parent, announced third-quarter earnings that fell short of expectations. Normally an earnings miss is cause for concern especially during recessionary times. But the company sounded upbeat. In fact, Alphabet believes it’s making the right investments for long-term growth, including one crucial YouTube feature.

The Numbers

First, let’s take a look at the numbers. For the third quarter, Alphabet reported:

  • Revenue: $69.09 billion vs. $70.58 billion expected, according to Refinitiv estimates.
  • Google advertising revenue: $54.48 billion, up 2.5 percent year over year but down 3 percent between the second and third quarters. (By contrast, Google’s ad revenue jumped 43.2 percent between the second and third quarters of 2021.)
  • YouTube advertising revenue: $7.07 billion vs $7.42 billion expected, according to StreetAccount estimates.

The decline in ad revenue for YouTube is most bothersome for Google, especially because YouTube rival TikTok continues to pick up steam. Advertisers are finding something better on TikTok: younger, highly engaged audiences who prefer TikTok’s short-form video content.

According to Statista, TikTok generated $4.0 billion in advertising revenue in 2021, a figure that is expected to double by 2024 and triple by 2026.Digiday reported just a few days ago that ad agencies are shifting content creation from Instagram and YouTube to TikTok. In April, Insider Intelligence predicted that TikTok’s ad revenue will grow 184% to nearly $6 billion in 2023 (that amount tops Twitter and Snap combined). Meanwhile, Insider Intelligence says that Influencer-marketing spend on TikTok will overtake YouTube in 2024.

YouTube Is Fighting Back

But Alphabet CEO Sundar Pichai says he is confident that Google will turn things around. One reason: the company has developed an answer to TikTok.

YouTube recently launched Shorts, which is YouTube’s version of short-form TikTok videos. Shorts is basically a TikTok copycat. Using the YouTube app, people can quickly and easily create short videos of up to 15 seconds. The videos are created on mobile devices and viewed, in portrait orientation, on mobile devices. And once you open one short, you essentially access the motherlode in that videos start playing one after the other. Just swipe vertically to get from one to the next.

According to YouTube, more than 1.5 billion people use Shorts – impressive numbers that actually surpass TikTok’s user base. As a result, more brands are creating campaigns on Shorts. It’s early days for Shorts and brands, but Shorts has two big advantages over TikTok:

  • Integration with YouTube, which has 2.6 billion active users. This is important because YouTube can promote Shorts to the built-in user base, and brands can connect Shorts content to their already established YouTube presence.
  • A creator monetization program that is more favorable than TikTok’s. YouTube recently announced Shorts will soon be eligible for monetization, and creators will keep 45 percent of the revenue generated from viewership. Having more savvy and popular creators on Shorts will generate more ad revenue for YouTube – and likely attract more brands.

Shorts is a fledgling operation. It only recently launched an ad program. But in an earnings call with investors, Pichai voiced optimism that the company’s investment into Shorts will pay off. He reiterated YouTube’s commitment to Shorts monetization, challenging TikTok directly, and attracting creators to the platform.

He has one other reason to feel upbeat. TikTok continues to grapple with a recurring and very ugly issue about its possible threat to national security related to accusations of privacy breaches — an issue that flared up in 2020 and is making headlines again. Who knows how that is going to turn out?

The best course of action for YouTube is the one that the company has chosen already: answering TikTok as it has done and capitalizing on its built-in user base. This will take time, and investors are impatient, especially during a down economy. But Alphabet has the cash to ride out the down times and continue to make YouTube more appealing to advertisers and creators.

Contact True Interactive

We deliver results for clients across all ad formats, including video and mobile. To learn how we can help you, contact us.

Why Google Upped the Ante with Visual Search and Shopping

Why Google Upped the Ante with Visual Search and Shopping

Google

With the rise of Gen Z, Google has come to grips with the reality that people are using the Internet in a more visual way. We recently blogged about Google admitting publicly that Instagram and TikTok are challenging Google’s dominance of search with Gen Z.  Well, Google is responding. At the company’s recent Search On event, Google announced a slew of features to make search and shopping more immersive.

Search Is More Immersive

Google said that it’s making search more immersive and visual than ever. Earlier this year, Google introduced multisearch, which makes it possible for people to take a picture or use a screenshot and then add text to it (similar to the way you might naturally point at something and ask a question about it). At Search On, Google previewed “multisearch near me,” which enables people to snap a picture or take a screenshot of an item, then find it nearby instantly.

This is important because half of Google searches seek local information. According to Google, “This new way of searching will help you find and connect with local businesses, whether you’re looking to support your neighborhood shop, or just need something right now. ‘Multisearch near me’ will start rolling out in English in the U.S. later this fall.”

Shopping Is More Visual

Google is also making shopping a more visual experience. For instance:

  • Search with the word “shop.” In the United Sates, when people search using the word “shop” followed by the item they’re looking for, they’ll get access to a visual feed of products, tools, and inventory for that product. Technically this shoppable search experience has been in development already, but Google is expanding it to include more categories such as electronics and beauty.

search

  • Shop the Look: This tool will allow searchers to see options of where to buy the products you see in search. The “shop the look” feature show links to the exact product being searched for, as well complementary pieces and where to buy them.

Shop

  • Shop in 3D: Google began to roll our 3D visuals of home goods in search results, and the company is expanding 3D search to include more products such as shoes. To give merchants and advertisers better access to 3D visuals, Google is making available a new automated 360-degree spin feature that can be accessed by using a handful of static photos. The new technology will become available in the coming months.

3D shoe

These are the latest examples of how Google is changing for a more visual web. As we discussed, Google recently announced features such as Product feeds for a shoppable YouTube experience and Swipeable shopping ads in search.

What Advertisers Should Do

  • Capitalize on Google’s advertising tools that are designed to be more visually appealing. For instance, Google Discovery ads are image-rich ads designed for a more “laid back” search experience (more about that here). Google is clearly doubling down on the visual web, and advertisers should expect more visually appealing ad products as it attempts to become a stronger e-commerce player.
  • Optimize your online inventory for visual search. For instance, offer numerous images, choose high-resolution photos, optimize image titles and descriptions, add alternative text, optimize image sizes and file types, and include great captions.

Contact True Interactive

To succeed with online advertising, contact True Interactive. Read about some of our client work here.

Why Google Delayed Its Cookie-Killing Effort to 2024

Why Google Delayed Its Cookie-Killing Effort to 2024

Google

To no one’s surprise, Google announced that the company is postponing its plans to kill third-party cookies on Google Chrome. The deadline, originally scheduled for 2022, will now be late 2024. If this news seems familiar to you, you are not alone. In 2021, Google announced a delay to 2023, but now 2023 no longer is feasible.

Why?

The problem for Google comes down to the reality that the company raked in more than $209 billion in advertising revenue in 2021.

Google Ad Revenues

As a result, Google needs to proceed very carefully in its phasing out of third-party cookies, which advertisers use to serve up targeted ads to people by tracking their browsing habits across the web. The fact that Google announced the delay after it disclosed subpar quarterly earnings shows just how wary Google is of rocking the boat. To protect its advertising business, Google must:

  • Come up with an alternative to third-party cookies that will satisfy advertisers. If Google fails to do that, Google will lose business to competitors such as Amazon Ads. Amazon Ads deliver targeted ads based on their own data beyond the reach of Google’s privacy controls. And Amazon Ads isn’t the only one, as I blogged recently.
  • Mollify regulators. Because Google is the largest online ad platform in the world, Google must convince regulators that its consumer privacy changes won’t give Google an unfair advantage. As we blogged in 2021, U.K. regulators have already slowed down Google’s efforts. Regulators are concerned that the demise of third-party cookies could give Google too much power because Google can rely on first-party data on sites such as YouTube (which Google owns) to support its ad business.

Google’s approach to satisfy advertisers consists of the Privacy Sandbox, where Google experiments with alternatives to third-party cookies that enable targeting with stricter privacy controls in place. Those alternatives include:

  • Fledge, for remarketing new ads.
  • Attribution reports, for telling advertisers which ads work without compromising consumer privacy.

But it is taking some time for Google to devise solutions as noted above, and not without some considerable trial and effort. For the record, here is Google’s rationale for the delay this time:

The most consistent feedback we’ve received is the need for more time to evaluate and test the new Privacy Sandbox technologies before deprecating third-party cookies in Chrome. This feedback aligns with our commitment to the [U.K. Competition and Markets Authority] to ensure that the Privacy Sandbox provides effective, privacy-preserving technologies and the industry has sufficient time to adopt these new solutions. This deliberate approach to transitioning from third-party cookies ensures that the web can continue to thrive, without relying on cross-site tracking identifiers or covert techniques like fingerprinting.

That rationale underlines both the impact of regulators and the difficulty in developing an answer to third-party cookies.

This latest delay has annoyed advertisers who had been taking measures to adapt to a cookie-less world and now find themselves delaying their plans. Others simply do not like the uncertainty of living in an extended transitional period while Apple enacts privacy control measures of its own. We suggest that for now, advertisers:

  • Accept the reality that as third-party cookies crumble and technology companies enact privacy controls, your ads will be less targeted than they were – at least until the industry adapts to alternative tools being developed. This does not mean you should stop advertising online. Online advertising remains the most efficient and cost-effective way to reach your audience.
  • Try alternatives beyond Google’s Privacy Sandbox. These include alternative IDs, contextual targeting, and seller-defined audiences.
  • Work with your advertising agency to understand what’s happening and how you may be affected. That’s exactly what our clients are doing with True Interactive. That’s what we’re here for.
  • Don’t abandon ship with ads that rely on web tracking. As you can see with Google’s announcement, things may not proceed the way Google plans.
  • Do invest in ways to leverage your own (first-party) customer data to create personalized ads. We can help you do that.
  • Consider ad platforms such as Amazon Advertising and Walmart Connect, which give businesses entrée to a vast base of customers who search and shop on Amazon and Walmart. True Interactive offers services on both platforms in addition to our longstanding work on Google, Bing, and other platforms. Learn more about our services with Amazon Ads here and Walmart here.

One other important consideration: remember, Google is not the only company doing away with third-party cookie tracking. Apple did so with Safari in 2020, and Mozilla with Firefox. The writing is on the wall: it’s time to adapt to a world without third-party cookies. True Interactive can help you do that.

Contact True Interactive

To succeed with online advertising, contact True Interactive. Read about some of our client work here.

Lead image source: https://unsplash.com/@laurenedvalson

For Further Reading

Where Amazon, Google, and Meta Are Headed

Where Amazon, Google, and Meta Are Headed

Amazon Google Meta

Technology earnings week is always watched closely. The rising and falling fortunes of Alphabet (Google), Amazon, Apple, Meta, and Microsoft have a direct impact on adjacent industries such as retail, advertising, and marketing. During a topsy turvy year such as 2022, the most recent quarterly earnings announcements of the Big Tech firms were followed especially closely. And here are some of the highlights from the Big Three of online advertising – Amazon, Google, and Meta — with implications for online advertising:

  • Amazon beat analysts’ estimates and enjoyed a strong quarter with the exception of its core retail business. The big news was the continued strong growth of Amazon Ads, which is Amazon’s advertising business that has quickly challenged Google and Meta for leadership of the online ad market. Ad revenue climbed 18% in the period for its most recent quarter. All told, Amazon Ads raked in $8.76 billion in the second quarter. Notably, in its earnings announcement, Amazon highlighted the recent launch of Amazon Marketing Stream, which “automatically delivers hourly Sponsored Products campaign metrics to advertisers or agencies through the Amazon Ads API.” This is a sign that Amazon is developing ad tech data and marketing services, which is a direct challenge to Google. What it means: the success of Amazon Ads dovetails with the ascendance of a more privacy-focused era. Apple in particular has initiated privacy controls that make it more difficult for advertisers to target consumers with ads that use third-party data. Amazon Ads is beyond the reach of such privacy controls because Amazon Ads is based on first-party data that Amazon collects from its customers. Amazon is not the only retail business building its own ad network. But it’s the leader. We expect more businesses will choose Amazon Ads as an advertising platform, and we have developed services accordingly.
  • Meta suffered its first-ever revenue drop for the quarter. The reasons are complicated. First off, TikTok is threatening the popularity of Facebook and Instagram (both owned by Meta), and Meta’s response to TikTok, Reels, doesn’t generate money as efficiently as Instagram Stories and the main news feed. Meta has also reeled from the impact of Apple’s privacy controls. What it means: Meta is in a time of transition – but never count out Meta. The company is investing heavily into the emerging metaverse, which is dragging its profits down but may boost Meta over the long run. And although Reels are a work in progress, progress is being made. As analysts at JMP wrote, “With Meta making progress with Reels while AI improves recommendations across content and advertising, we expect growth to rebound from current levels while the company is more disciplined in its cost structure.” And, overall, the company’s base of monthly active users continues to increase. The real threat to Meta in the near term: how well the company can rebound from the threat of Apple’s privacy controls. The long-term threat: how well Meta can attract and keep Gen Z users.
  • Google is sitting pretty. Alphabet’s search ad sales grew more than 13 percent in Q2 2022 to $40.7 billion, beating analysts’ expectations of $40.2 billion. Search, of course, is Google’s bread-and-butter business, and Google’s investments into its core search ad units are paying off as advertisers lean into performance marketing tactics amid economic uncertainty. But life isn’t all rosy at Google. At YouTube, ad sales rose 0nly 5 percent after jumping 84 percent in the same period a year ago. This reflects the impact of TikTok’s popularity. What it means: Google is going to flourish in 2022 and 2023 especially as advertisers weather economic uncertainty. Google is a safe bet, and Google continues to develop new ad units that enhance its performance marketing capabilities. Watch for Google to continue to push artificial intelligence-related services and tools that automate online advertising — while managing the increasingly thorny challenge of developing alternatives to third-party cookies, which the company had said it would do by 2022 and now is rescheduling for 2024.

What Advertisers Should Do

  • Keep a diversified ad portfolio across the Big Three: Amazon, Google, and Meta. If you are satisfied with the results you are seeing, don’t let Meta’s challenges scare you away. But do a gut check with your agency partner on how your ads are performing.
  • Work closely with your agency partners to understand the impact of privacy controls, especially from Apple.
  • If Gen Z is an important audience, take a closer look at TikTok. TikTok looms large as it challenges YouTube and Meta especially.

Contact True Interactive

To succeed with online advertising, contact True Interactive. Read about some of our client work here.

TikTok and Instagram Challenge Google for Gen Z Searches

TikTok and Instagram Challenge Google for Gen Z Searches

Google Instagram TikTok

Google has a new challenger for product searches: TikTok and Instagram.

At a recent conference, a Google executive went on record as saying, “In our studies, something like almost 40% of young people, when they’re looking for a place for lunch, they don’t go to Google Maps or Search. They go to TikTok or Instagram.”

This was a surprisingly candid admission from a company whose YouTube app has been battling TikTok especially for leadership in the video space. (Insider Intelligence predicts TikTok’s advertising revenue will overtake YouTube by 2024.)

Although Google is easily the world’s most popular search engine, when it comes to searches for things to buy, the company is not quite as popular. For example, Amazon is the Number One website for people to do product searches: according to a 2018 Jumpshot report, from 2015 to 2018, Amazon overtook Google in this area, with Amazon growing to claim 54 percent of product searches while Google declined from 54 percent to 46 percent. According to Marketplace Pulse, a majority of Amazon searches—78 percent, in fact—are nonbranded. Instead of pinpointing a specific company like lululemon, say, many customers are making broad searches such as “yoga pants for women” and seeing what comes up.

And we all know how easy it is to buy something on Amazon once you are done searching, right?

Well, Google has been trying to make itself a stronger destination for shopping amid Amazon’s ascendance. For instance, Google recently launched new commerce-related features such as:

  • Swipeable shopping ads in search. A new ad display pairs organic shopping results with shopping ads, which makes online shopping more visual. The new swipeable shopping feed is available for apparel brands via Search or Performance Max campaigns. These will be clearly labeled as ads and will be eligible to appear in dedicated ad slots throughout the page.
  • Product feeds for a shoppable YouTube experience. Advertisers will soon have the ability to connect product feeds to campaigns in order to create shoppable video ads on YouTube Shorts. With YouTube Shorts, people can quickly and easily create short videos of up to 15 seconds, similar to how TikTok and Instagram Reels are used. Shoppable video ads on Shorts helps Google capitalize on social shopping.

The problem with Instagram and TikTok is that they appeal to the surging Gen Z population, who look especially to TikTok for recommendations for things to buy.  According to The New York Times, two-thirds of TikTok users have been inspired to shop, even if that wasn’t their original intent when accessing the app in the first place. The phenomenon has gained enough attention that it even has a hashtag: #TikTokMadeMeBuyIt has garnered more than 16.7 billion views on the app.

Even more worrisome for YouTube, TikTok and Instagram are both launching social shopping tools. For instance, TikTok recently launched the TikTokShop to make it easy for people to buy things right int the app. Instagram has launched a number of tools as part of Instagram Shopping, including:

  • Instagram Checkout, which facilitates simple, convenient, and secure purchases made directly from Instagram. Shopping from Instagram means protected payment information is kept in one place. So, Instagrammers can shop multiple favorite brands without having to log in and enter intel multiple times.
  • Instagram Live, which allows checkout-enabled businesses to sell products through “live shopping.” In live shopping, consumers might be inspired by a creator or brand’s live video content and subsequently buy promoted products in real-time.

In fact, 130 million people tap on an Instagram Shopping post and engage with Instagram Checkout every month.

All told, social commerce is exploding. eMarketer predicts that by 2023, 2021, U.S. retail social commerce sales will rise to $56.17 billion.

Google is also responding to these challenges. In addition to the features noted above, the company is making search more immersive and engaging by incorporating rich visual features and augmented reality. These should help the company make the search and shopping experience livelier.

Google is making progress. Morgan Stanley says that in November 2021, 57 percent of shoppers first went to Google platforms (including Search and YouTube) to research a new product, up from 54% in May 2021. In addition, the number of Amazon Prime subscribers turning to Google for initial searches increased to 56 percent from 51 percent in the same period.

What Businesses Should Do

  • Understand your audience. Are you reaching out to Gen Z? Boomers? Not all social commerce platforms are the same. As noted, TikTok and Instagram resonates with Gen Z. Boomers tend to gravitate to Facebook. Ask yourself: who am I trying to reach, and where can I find them?
  • Learn how to use the tools available to you. Each platform has its own requirements for creating content. In addition, these popular sites demand a strong understanding of how to use visuals — anymore, it’s essential that brands know how to create powerful imagery.
  • Capitalize on Google’s advertising tools that are designed to be more visually appealing. For instance, Google recently rolled out Discovery ads, which are image-rich ads designed for a more “laid back” search experience (more about that here). Google is clearly doubling down on the visual web, and advertisers should expect more visually appealing ad products as it attempts to become a stronger e-commerce player.
  • Take a closer look at video advertising and organic content sharing, given Google’s interest in building out a more robust search experience on YouTube.

Meanwhile, TikTok and Instagram will most certainly dial up their own advertising products to attract companies that want to have their sponsored content appear alongside search results. Gear up for more ad choices!

Contact True Interactive

To succeed with online advertising, contact True Interactive. Read about some of our client work here.