I hope you've been well through all this crazy weather we've been having! It's a turbulent time and it's the same in the digital world. Recently, I attended the February Marketing Meetup at MA and ChatGPT was THE topic of conversation.

Overall, I think people were asking: How will ChatGPT impact us?

It's a massive topic with lots of people discussing it. But I think the part that I can speak the most on (somewhat intelligently) would be the impact on search and what potential there is.

What's going on: This article by Glenn Gabe is a terrific write-up of the potential issues facing publishers. It's a recommended read. In summary, with the surge in popularity of ChatGPT, the next step has been integration into search engines.

Bing has incorporated ChatGPT and Google has Bard (albeit with a few hiccups). These will launch in the coming months and all signs point to these tools being very very popular.

So what's the problem: People are getting the answers they want right? Yes. Absolutely. But ChatGPT has replaced the visits people would have had to make to websites to piece together answers to their questions. And that is a huge concern to publishers, news sites, and anyone with significant search traffic.

Microsoft's CEO, Satya Nadella, gave an interview about how important it was that search engines still drove traffic to websites. Both ChatGPT and Bard will likely include citations - links to websites where it got its answers. But people are unsure that this will drive the same traffic levels as before.

Will this impact my site? It's not an easy yes/no answer. But perhaps you're at more risk if:

  • You have an information type of site
  • You are a frequent content creator or blog writer
  • You rank well and have a lot of traffic for broad keywords
  • Organic search traffic is a significant and valuable channel

If that's the case, we suggest this be on your radar for the next little while.

Conversely, the impact would be limited if the search traffic to your site is focused on your products and services. People will still want to visit your website to interact with your business or organisation.

Kim's thoughts: Don't panic if this has the potential to impact you. If you're super worried, come and have a chat with us. We'll be tracking and thinking about this for the next few months.

And on the flip side, it could open up a whole new channel of traffic and opportunity. We aren't going to be using Chat the same way we'd use Google. For example, here's a recent series of questions I asked:

  1. What's a definition of first, second and third-party data?
  2. Australia could ban third-party data, and people in NZ say we need to get our first-party strategy sorted. Why?
  3. What are the implications if you deliver digital advertising? How would it affect programmatic?
  4. Based on the past legal history of both countries, what are the chances of NZ following Australia's legal stance?

Would I have asked the first question in Google? Maybe. But I never would have typed in questions 2, 3 and 4. Google is more information retrieval while I see ChatGPT as that moderately smart friend you can bounce a few ideas off.

There's just as much potential for opportunity as there is a threat as the rise of technologies like ChatGPT come to the mass market.

E: kim@insightonline.co.nz 
M: 022 173 9131

About the author
With over 15 years of experience in search and digital marketing, Kim is the founder of Insight Online. Kim started Insight as he saw an opportunity to build a digital agency that focuses on business results and strong working relationships with clients.