What ChatGPT Means For Advertisers

Digital Marketing

Although it was once relegated to the lore of science fiction, artificial intelligence (AI) is used in a variety of real-world applications today, from helping autonomous vehicles detect objects on the road to helping farmers find more efficient ways to protect crops from weeds. But with the release of the ChatGPT chatbot in November 2022, the world at large was given an opportunity to experience AI firsthand, causing ChatGPT to be the fastest-growing app of all time. In order to understand the implications of ChatGPT for advertisers, brand managers should do the following:

  1. Educate themselves on what ChatGPT is and how it functions.
  2. Understand the integration between ChatGPT and Bing, the world’s second-largest search engine.
  3. Look out for any advertising opportunities that exist or may soon exist within ChatGPT and its platform integrations.
  4. Pay attention to other AI platforms similar to ChatGPT that could also present advertising opportunities in the future.

What is ChatGPT? How does it function?

ChatGPT is a natural language processing tool driven by AI technology that allows people to have conversations with a chatbot. The chatbot can do everything from answering basic questions to assisting with more complicated tasks such as explaining complex topics, writing a cover letter or resume, or writing code and software solutions. 

Released by OpenAI in November 2022, ChatGPT has become an instant hit among enterprises and individuals alike due to its prompt delivery and ability to boost productivity, leading to 1 million users within a week of its launch and 13 million individual active users per day. While it has been wildly popular, it has also been notoriously incorrect or downright disturbing in certain instances—whether it was the time it tried to break up someone’s marriage, the time it thought the Eagles beat the Chiefs in Super Bowl 2023, or the time it called a user “delusional” for suggesting that there is a refresh button in the chatbot, all of which are logged in the aptly named ChatGPT-Failures archive on GitHub.

But even though the chatbot has led to some interesting and inaccurate results at times, it still represents a useful and popular productivity tool that will only continue to become more ubiquitous over time, especially as it becomes integrated into platforms like Bing.

How are ChatGPT and Bing integrated? What other integrations exist?

With Microsoft owning a significant stake in ChatGPT-founder OpenAI, the software giant provides the computational power required to run ChatGPT, and it announced on February 7 its plans to launch an updated AI-powered search engine experience within Bing that incorporates the functionality of ChatGPT. 

In addition to its chatbot functionality, which is currently in a limited preview (users can join the waitlist to get early access), Bing is also introducing more detailed and conversational search results in response to more complex questions, and they appear at the top of search results in a similar format to Google’s zero-position results.

For example, in response to the search query “Arts and crafts ideas, with instructions for a toddler, using only cardboard boxes, plastic bottles, paper and string,” the new AI functionality within Bing will generate a panel on the side of the search results that contains direct snippets extracted from various relevant websites in addition to the links to those sites. Additionally, statements in the results such as “I hope you and your toddler have fun with these crafts! 🙂” help to highlight the more intuitive and conversational capabilities that are created as a result of the AI integration.

Due to the inherent nature of zero-position results and the tendency for them to lead to fewer clicks on ads or search results, Microsoft has also revealed its intention to permit paid links within search result responses from the chatbot, and the company has noted that the more humanlike responses from the chatbot will likely attract a larger user base for its search feature, resulting in an increase in advertisers.

In addition to being integrated with Bing, ChatGPT has also seen integrations with other platforms such as Snapchat, where it is used to generate text-based messages to answer trivia questions, come up with recipe ideas, and more. Other platforms such as Meta are also integrating their own language models into their platforms, trying to take advantage of the AI hysteria. 

What are the implications of the integration of Bing and ChatGPT for advertisers?

It’s well known that Bing accounts for less than 10% of the total search engine market—far less than the industry leader, Google. However, with Microsoft already releasing its updated Bing search engine with ChatGPT functionality, and with ChatGPT being the fastest-growing app of all time, it’s not conjecture to assume that the new integration will result in significant increases in traffic to the Bing platform. 

In fact, Google Trends data indicates that searches for Bing have increased to some of their highest levels in the past five years, coinciding with the release of ChatGPT in November 2022.

Microsoft announced that each percentage of market share it captures in the search advertising market has the potential to generate an additional $2 billion in advertising revenue, which highlights the correlation between an increase in website traffic and an increase in advertisers.

For most advertisers, running SEM campaigns in Bing may already make plenty of sense given that it is a low-funnel, intent-driven platform like Google that excels at driving efficient conversion performance. But as Bing potentially becomes more popular, the necessity to take advantage of its SEM offerings and incorporate them into media plans becomes even more of a priority for advertisers.

Additionally, advertisers will likely also want to explore any new advertising opportunities that could be integrated into the ChatGPT search or chat features within Bing, such as the paid links that could be placed in search results. According to preliminary research, it appears that having enabled text or display ads in Bing means that those ads can be placed into ChatGPT results, as seen below in the Verizon example: 

Between the standard SEM offerings in Bing, which will likely see ongoing increased impressions and opportunities, and the new advertising offerings within the ChatGPT portion of Bing, which will be brand new and allow advertisers to reach users in new ways, it is imperative that advertisers leverage these marketing opportunities in order to engage with users on a platform that will ultimately begin to compete seriously with Google for market share.

What competitors to ChatGPT exist? Are there additional advertising opportunities with them? 

Shortly after the announcement of ChatGPT, competitors were quick to also announce their own AI chatbot offerings so as not to be left behind, most notably with the “rushed, botched” announcement of the Bard chatbot by Google on February 6

Bard is an experimental, conversational AI chatbot powered by Google’s language model LaMDA that draws on information from the web to provide fresh, high-quality responses. Similar to ChatGPT’s release, Bard has been opened up to trusted testers ahead of making it more widely available in the coming weeks. Eventually, Bard will be integrated into the Google search engine, not unlike the way ChatGPT is being integrated with Bing, and there will likely be advertising opportunities associated with Bard at some point in the future.

Learn more about how you can maximize the effectiveness of Bing campaigns, including how to import Google Ads campaigns into Bing Ads, in Unlocking Google Analytics’ True Potential.