Traditional Search Forecast To Fall 25% By 2026: Gartner

Traditional search-engine volume and traffic to publisher sites is estimated to fall 25% in two years, with search marketing losing share to generative artificial intelligence (GAI) chatbots from Google, Microsoft, and OpenAI as well as other virtual agents, according to research published Monday.

Alan Antin, vice president and analyst at Gartner, believes GAI tools will become the "substitute answer engines, replacing user queries that previously may have been executed in traditional search engines," forcing companies to rethink marketing channels and strategies. 

Organic and paid search remain vital channels for technology marketers seeking to reach awareness and demand-generation goals, according to data released in November 2023, but search and content generation is about to undergo massive changes.

In the 2023 Gartner Technology Marketing Benchmarks Survey, technology marketers with $100 million or more in annual revenue indicate that pay-per-click (PPC) advertising and search engine optimization (SEO) are two of the top five-performing channels for generating marketing qualified leads (MQLs), but the industry will see a rebalancing of ad and marketing budgets.



Marketers will see changes in keyword activity and domain authority because GAI is driving down the cost of producing content, impacting activity on keywords and website domain authority scoring.

Gartner predicts 75% of tech marketers will use generative AI (GAI) technology through the commercial apps they’re already using. By 2027, GAI will accelerate the development and adoption of immersive customer engagement for 70% of technology and service providers.

A year later, technology and service providers with revenue of $5 billion or more will spend 10% of the marketing budget on content monitoring, brand reputation and crisis management related to AI-generated content.

Gartner predicts that immersive customer experience and ways to engage will emerge and become widely adopted based on GAI’s ability to remember, discover and develop new customer insights and very personalized journeys.

Content being developed will pose risks for tech marketers and consumers, as the potential for biased, offensive or untruthful content continues to rise. The need for governance and risk mitigation related to GAI will move to the forefront. Marketers will need to understand and anticipate how key marketing elements, such as marketing channels and audience engagement approaches, will evolve.

With that evolution, one of the more interesting predictions in Gartner’s report points to marketers will soon find that GAI not only allows them to change how work is performed, but it will force them to change what work and investments are necessary.

Adoption, per Gartner, has largely been motivated by the need for efficiency gains or speed. According to the 2023 Gartner Technology and Service Provider Generative AI Survey, 81% of respondents are either using or are considering using GAI.

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