In our recent post, we explored how TikTok is revolutionising the way people use search and posing a significant challenge to Google's business, which could affect companies' approach to SEO. However, it’s not only the social space that’s giving the search giant a run for its money: TikTok's growth might seem impressive, but it’s nothing compared to the leap in use of ChatGPT. Launched in late November 2022, OpenAI’s super-smart chatbot achieved 100 million users in just two months. It took TikTok nine months and Instagram 30 months to reach the same milestone.
While hype has played a role in ChatGPT's growth, its ability to provide fast, easily digestible results is undeniably impressive. It has a deep understanding of what users are looking for and provides succinct, direct answers: a potentially revolutionary step in improving search, which has always involved wading through different websites to find the information you need. The search industry has undergone only small incremental improvements for the past 20 years. ChatGPT's technology represents a generational shift in how we search for information.
We have seen similar shifts happen before, where technology disrupts user behaviour by providing an improved experience. Apple's launch of the iPhone in 2007 is a prime example. It took industry giant Nokia by surprise; the phone giant went from dominating the market to trailing far behind its competitors in just four years. Keep in mind that this was in the hardware space, with all of its manufacturing, shipping and physical product needs, during a time when the world moved at a much slower pace. Software and apps – instantaneously available at the touch of a button – are another matter. Google's search empire could crumble surprisingly quickly if ChatGPT, or something like it, can prove it can provide better experience. For example, it could finally give Microsoft’s much-maligned Bing the opening it has been looking for since it launched. The service’s new integration with OpenAI has had a few bumps in the road, but looks incredibly promising.
Fears for Google’s future in the space have spread to the trading floor already, as demonstrated when the company rushed to market with its AI search competitor, Baird. A flaky demo created a huge slump in share price and staff don’t believe its structure and culture are nimble enough to adapt. To someone who was supporting Nokia’s social media marketing efforts just before their downfall, it has a familiar feel to it.
There’s still some way to go before AI chatbots become true Google Killers, and there are some sizable bugs to work out (not least ChatGPT’s tendency to invent answers to questions it doesn’t know the answer to), which we'll be covering in another blog this week. Even so, the potential of the technology and its rate of growth are hugely impressive. The only way is up.
So how should markets approach this potentially huge change in how audiences discover brands and products? Well, actually that is something we’re working on with our clients so if you’d like to learn more drop us a line ...