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Google Search Generative Experience (SGE): Paid Media POV

What is Happening with the Search Generative Experience?

The expansion of Google's Search Generative Experience (SGE) to 120 countries is expected to bring about notable changes in ad placements and formats. SGE is designed to use generative AI to understand the user's question and deliver a specific answer or a set of relevant information (learn more about SGE and Answer Engine Optimization here). 

With SGE providing direct answers to user queries in search results, new ad formats and placements may be introduced. Existing ads could be adjusted to better align with specific user queries, and ads may be placed above or directly within the SGE interface. This suggests a potential shift in how advertisements are presented, aiming for better integration and relevance within the context of user searches. 


How are People Responding to SGE?

  • SGE is currently in its experimental phase; it has sparked numerous questions, particularly from advertisers wanting to understand the potential impact on their ad performance. For paid search specifically, let’s not forget that this is one of Google’s big money makers and we fully expect there to be benefits for paid search advertisers in a pay to play world. 
  • Advertisers want to know how these experimental features will influence the visibility, engagement, and overall effectiveness of their advertisements. 
  • As the advertising landscape changes with the evolution of SGE, advertisers are closely monitoring industry discussions, user feedback, and any official communications from Google. 


How we Think SGE will Impact Paid Search

Potential shifts in how we view key metrics

We anticipate when this is rolled out more fully, that these changes will likely impact CTR and CPC as well as shifts in ad placements and formats. Instead, there will be an increased focus on ROAS and overall ROI. This is a trend we are seeing more broadly and has many positives as it allows our team, as expert practitioners, to partner more closely with our clients and align to the real goals of the organization that truly shift the needle. 

Closer integration between PPC and SEO

As search behaviors evolve, we see SEO and PPC becoming more closely aligned:

“As an integrated team we are already seeing the benefit this has with clients as our paid search and SEO teams share knowledge quickly and are able to test and learn together to find the best ways to harness this opportunity in a cohesive way."

Morgan O’Hea, Paid Media Director

New Ad Formats and Placements 

With SGE providing answers to user queries directly in search results, we expect new ad placements and formats to be introduced. Existing ads may be adjusted to fit a user’s query or be placed above or directly within the SGE. 

The screenshot below displays the layout differences between the standard SERP and SGE on the same search query for “marcel digital”:

Images and visual content will likely play a stronger role in SGE, emphasizing the importance of including this type of content in ads.

As SGE is providing answers to user queries directly in search results, fewer users will likely click through ads. Negative impacts on CTR would also affect CPCs, as users stay on the SERP more often and fail to click. Competition may intensify as well, as SGE takes up a larger portion of the SERP and limits prime ad space. This competitive increase may result in higher costs.

Top-Funnel vs Bottom-Funnel

We anticipate SGE to impact top-funnel keywords more than bottom-funnel, as questions and top-funnel queries are more likely to be answered in the SERP. Bottom-funnel keywords, where we typically focus for B2B, will continue to drive users to a website to learn more as these are typically not the kind of searches where you can find a quick answer on the SERP.


How Are We Preparing for SGE?

We dedicate significant time across the team at Marcel to ensure ew stay at the forefront of some of these big changes to our industry - changes are happening fast and new iterations of SGE are happening almost daily. 

This is where our integrated approach really shines as we are already working with our SEO,  Analytics and Web Development experts to adapt to the impacts and opportunities that SGE will bring.

To prepare for any upcoming changes or features related to Google Search advertising, here are some general tips for advertisers to consider to prepare for SGE:

Adapt Ad Copy and Creatives:

Be ready to adapt your ad copy and creatives to align with any changes in the search experience. This may include incorporating new SGE features or highlighting unique aspects of your products or services to better highlight them in the SERP.

Optimize Landing Pages:

Ensure that your landing pages are optimized for user experience. If there are changes in how users interact with search results, make sure your landing pages provide relevant and valuable information based on user behavior data.

Review Targeting Strategies:

Evaluate and adjust your targeting strategies based on any new features or options introduced to SGE. This may involve refining your audience targeting or adjusting bidding strategies.

Test and Iterate:

Once the new search experience is rolled out, conduct tests to understand how users are responding. Use the data to iterate and refine your advertising strategies.

Utilize New Features:

If the new search generative experience introduces additional features or ad formats, explore ways to leverage them to enhance your advertising campaigns.


Want to learn more? This is a fast moving part of our world and its something we are passionately engaged in. If you have questions or want to know more, please get in touch as we’d love to hear from you.

  • Paid Media

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About the author

Morgan Oakes

Morgan is the Paid Media Director at Marcel Digital, specializing in creative ways to provide solutions in paid advertising platforms for all types of goals.

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