Bonfire unveils research from extensive analysis of Search Generative Experience (SGE)

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Bonfire unveils research from extensive analysis of Search Generative Experience (SGE)

Google’s latest innovation, Search Generative Experience (SGE) (also known as AI Overviews), is set to redefine how brands are found online. Leveraging generative AI, this experimental update to Google’s search interface provides summarised, contextual responses to search queries. Leading performance agency Bonfire has conducted an extensive analysis of SGE and outlined crucial insights and strategies for Australian marketers.


Understanding the Impact of SGE
Google’s SGE introduces a fundamentally new way for users to receive information, one where less traffic is routed from Google to brand websites. Through the use of generative AI, users are presented with summarised answers, reducing the need for multiple outbound links. This follows Google’s trend of zero-click searches, aiming to provide instant answers within the search interface itself.

“SGE represents a significant transformation in search technology,” said Rene LeMerle, General Manager – Growth at Bonfire. “Brands will need to adapt quickly to maintain visibility and engagement in this new search landscape.”

Key Findings from Bonfire’s Research
• High Availability of AI Snapshots: Analysis of 200 keyword phrases revealed that 97.5% of queries offered the option of generating an AI snapshot. This highlights Google’s commitment to zero-click searches.
• Cautious Approach to Branded Queries: Branded search queries showed fewer AI-generated snapshots than non-branded queries. This suggests Google’s careful application of AI-generated content for brand-associated searches likely to maintain brand integrity.
• Prominence of Established Platforms: Domains such as Facebook, YouTube, LinkedIn, and industry-specific news sites frequently appeared in citations and carousel links. This underscores the trust and value attributed to these established platforms.
• Importance of URL Structure: A high proportion of URLs using “text=” anchors in AI responses emphasises the need for optimising content and URLs to align with Google’s AI-driven content aggregation methods.

“Our research highlights the critical role of AI snapshots in search visibility,” said Matthew Elshaw (pictured), Head of Media Strategy at Bonfire. “To succeed in this new landscape, brands must focus on well-structured data and authoritative content that AI can easily digest. Enhancing PR efforts on authoritative third-party sites and leveraging multi-channel campaigns will also be essential.”

Read the full research here.