Go anywhere online at the moment and you’ll find someone discussing generative AI. In fact, I’m pretty sure even my Mum knows about it. These intelligent systems are now more accessible than ever and already they’re changing the way people work. One system that has gained significant attention is ChatGPT, a large language model trained by OpenAI based on the GPT-3.5 architecture. ChatGPT has the potential to completely change the way we search for information and content online. In this blog post, we’ll explore the implications ChatGPT might have on the influence of brands, focusing particularly on the impact on SEO and how people in the future may no longer gravitate towards branded content when searching for information.
SEO has been a crucial part of digital marketing for years. It involves optimising a website’s content to rank higher on search engine results pages (SERPs) for relevant keywords. This has traditionally been achieved through the use of targeted keywords, meta descriptions and backlinks to improve a website’s relevance and authority. However, with the introduction of generative AI systems such as ChatGPT, the way people search for information is changing. ChatGPT uses natural language processing to understand complex queries and provides personalised responses in the form of conversation. This means that users can ask questions in their own words, rather than using specific keywords, making SEO optimisation more challenging for brands.
As well as the impact on SEO, there are also implications for branded content too. ChatGPT’s ability to understand natural language queries means that users no longer have to search for specific branded content to find the information they need. For example, if someone wants to learn how to make a lasagna, they can just ask ChatGPT for a recipe directly, rather than searching for branded recipes from reputable websites such as the BBC, Good Housekeeping, or Jamie Oliver. This means that brands may no longer have as much influence on what content users see when searching for information. Instead, ChatGPT provides a more personalised and diverse range of responses, making it more challenging for brands to stand out online.
The impact of ChatGPT on branded content could be significant. Previously, brands could rely on their search engine rankings to drive organic traffic to their websites, increasing their influence and brand awareness. However, with the rise of ChatGPT, brands may have to focus more on creating valuable and engaging content that users will specifically seek out and engage with directly through channels such as email or social media. Brands will need to start adapting their content marketing strategies to ensure their content is valuable and engaging enough to make users want to like, follow or subscribe, rather than relying on traditional SEO tactics to drive traffic to their websites.
Another implication of ChatGPT’s ability to understand natural language queries is the potential for it to disrupt the traditional sales funnel. Brands have traditionally relied on a linear sales funnel, which involves attracting potential customers at the top of the funnel, engaging with them as they move down it, and converting them into paying customers at the bottom. However, ChatGPT’s personalised responses mean that users may be able to skip the awareness and consideration stages of the funnel and go straight to the purchase stage. For example, if someone asks ChatGPT to recommend a suitable pair of running shoes, it could provide a personalised recommendation based on the user’s previous behaviour and preferences, without the user having to actively seek out information on the product and compare different shoe brands manually over a longer period of time.
With all that being said, ChatGPT’s ability to provide almost instant personalised recommendations also raises some concerns about user privacy. Chatbots and digital assistants like ChatGPT rely on data from users to provide personalised responses. This means that users need to provide access to their personal data to benefit fully from ChatGPT’s capabilities. As ever, brands will need to ensure they are transparent and ethical in their use of user data to maintain trust with their customers.
It’s also worth mentioning that Google isn’t sleeping on AI either, with its own offering, Bard, set to make waves just like ChatGPT. The key will be how it integrates this into search engine results. Google has such a monopoly in the search engine market, not to mention a brand that’s so strong it’s become synonymous with searching for information online, so it may be a while before people completely give up the habit of ‘Googling’ things and using ChatGPT instead.
So there you have it. ChatGPT definitely has the potential to disrupt the way we search for information and interact with brands online, the question is how soon it will become a reality. Regardless, brands should start to think about how they adapt their content marketing strategies now to ensure their content is discoverable, valuable and engaging for users through a diverse channel plan, rather than putting all of their website traffic eggs into the SEO basket. If not, they could end up saying hasta la vista to potential new customers.
If this blog has made you think about getting your own digital and content marketing strategies into shape, talk to us.