The Rhoad Less Traveled
Trends in digital marketing that people should be talking about but are not
HUGE AI News
Hey there, I hope everyone saw a recent blog post from Microsoft’s Bing (https://blogs.bing.com/search/march_2023/Driving-more-traffic-and-value-to-publishers-from-the-new-Bing), but I doubt it because the post didn’t get the attention it deserved. Microsoft just announced its plan to drive more traffic and value to publishers using ChatGPT in search.
Why Such Big News?
So, what’s the big news? Well, Microsoft has decided to use an ad-funded model for their new search features that use ChatGPT. This means that they’ll rely on good old-fashioned ads to make money, rather than subscriptions or other models.
This is a big deal because it finally answers one of the major questions that many in the industry have been asking; how will search engines monetize these new features like ChatGPT? While subscription-based models were a possibility, Microsoft has chosen to rely on tried and true methods of an ad-funded approach.
An example of Bing Search with ChatGPT integrated
Why Ad-Funded Models?
Ad-funded models have been the mainstay of the internet for years (think ads in Google Search), but they’re not without problems. While free to the users, large corporations tend to buy most of the ads, making it difficult for smaller companies and independent publishers to get their message in front of the right people. Additionally, click fraud and accuracy issues can arise, leading to inaccurate data and misleading information.
Some hoped that the new search methods would be subscription based – that way, results are presented by whatever ChatGPT or BARD (Google’s ChaptGPT competitor) thinks best answers the questions. Not the ad that pays the most.
Despite these challenges, Microsoft believes that an ad-funded model is the most effective (or profitable…) option for the new search. And expect Google’s BARD will follow suit any day.
An example of the new Bing search with ads. Photo courtesy of Debarghya Das
More Change Coming
However, as with any new technology, there will likely be a period of trial and error as companies figure out what works and what doesn’t. It’s crucial for companies to remain vigilant against issues like click fraud and to strive for accuracy in the information that they present to users.
As the technology progresses, it will be interesting to see if consumers will continue to embrace the ad-supported model or if Google and Microsoft will have to offer a subscription model (just like streaming services, pay more for no ads). Or will another company come along with something even better?
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