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The rise of Generative AI: Insights from search trends


March 13, 2024
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The world of artificial intelligence (AI) is rapidly evolving, as is consumer interest in it. We set out to explore the nuances of our users’ interest in the AI space, particularly around generative AI, with the goal of helping advertisers optimize their campaigns alongside this ever-changing landscape.

Search interest in AI on our platform has grown significantly since the release of ChatGPT in late 2022. In fact, AI searches are currently outpacing other Software searches by more than 3x.

When comparing search volume from 2022 to 2023, the growth is clear: we’ve seen a staggering 566% year-over-year (YoY) increase that’s only continued its trajectory half-over-half. Cost-per-click (CPC) is down YoY, on average, across AI keywords—this presents an opportunity to capitalize on high volume at lower rates.

Significant growth in AI searches since the release of ChatGPT.

AI image generation and brand searches are popular

One of the key drivers of this growth is interest in AI image generation. Of the top non‑brand query categories in AI, image generation searches are gaining the most traction, followed by text generation and voice, music, and video creation. This suggests that consumers are very interested in the potential of generative AI to create and manipulate visual and auditory content.

Brand searches generate more traffic than non-brand searches, as AI-focused tech companies drive conversation. This highlights the significance of brand share of voice in the AI space and the trust that consumers place in them to provide updates and information.

When it comes to AI themes within other industries, searchers take interest in Healthcare, Law, Finance, Insurance, and Real Estate AI. The graph below highlights the industries that see the most AI-related search growth.

AI-related search volume by industry and CPC opportunity.

The AI decision journey and the role of non-brand

We also conducted an in-depth analysis of the customer decision journey of AI searchers. We found that non-brand searches play an important role in the upper to mid-funnel discovery process, while the majority of paths end with a brand search or click. This suggests that consumers start their search journeys by exploring and researching general AI topics before narrowing their focus to specific brands.

AI searchers are also more likely to have a long journey than a short one, which means advertisers have a larger window of opportunity to get in front of AI-interested consumers with strategies like remarketing or cross-channel approaches.

A handful of audience insights surfaced in the data as well. We identified clusters of users with commonalities and were able to outline potential audience profiles for AI-searchers. Notably, we see a community of users interested in image generation that is separate from a group interested in text generation. In addition, the data points to students being key drivers of AI search traffic, as well as enterprise and B2B searchers.

Our recommendations to advertisers

  • Ride the AI wave: Capitalize on the continued momentum of AI in search by investing in generative AI keywords. Higher volume + lower CPCs = a key opportunity to capture this growth at a more efficient rate.
  • Capture the full funnel: Invest in both brand and non-brand keywords to capture the full funnel of user interest in AI topics. Expand coverage to include a wide array of AI themes across things like content generation and AI brands.
  • Go multi-channel: Prioritize a multi-channel approach to take advantage of the longer query paths we’re seeing around AI. These lengthened paths provide more opportunities to get in front of your target audience and maximize reach.
  • Target key audiences: Pay attention to key AI audiences like Students, Enterprise and B2B, and the Tech Savvy, and ensure parameters are in place to effectively target these audiences.

Key takeaways

  • The explosive growth of the generative AI space is reflected in search trends, with increasing interest in image generation and other key themes.
  • Established brands play a significant role in driving the conversation, and the search journey of AI consumers often starts with non-brand searches before ending with a brand search.
  • These insights provide valuable information for businesses looking to capitalize on the continued momentum of AI in search.

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