The digital library: content distribution is now in robot hands

Matt Geary in Growth hacking on 22nd of Nov 2018
search is now in robot hands

Search is now in robot hands

As a society, our appetite for information is incredible. Each day, 3.5 billion searches are made; equating to roughly 40,000 searches per second. This is something only made possible by computers and the internet. We simply couldn't use a traditional library to make queries at this rate.

Digital technology is both the catalyst and enabler of information accessibility. Online libraries have almost entirely digitized human knowledge, and by 2025, it's estimated that the volume of data stored digitally will be 163 zettabytes.

Humans can't sort through that amount of data manually. It's just way too much information.That's why search is (and has been for a long time) autonomous. When you input a search, Google automatically sifts through hundreds of millions of results in less than a second — bringing the most relevant information to the top.

We’re almost entirely dependant on AI to search and select information for us. Humans trust in AI is higher than ever. It's reflected by:

  • The fact that fewer than 5% of users move past the first page of search results
  • Voice and ambient UI solutions only providing a single search result

This trust can be worrying or exciting, depending on which side of the aisle you're on.

King of the bots

The SEO frenzy of "making the first page" should now make sense — that's where 95% of desktop and mobile users are. Voice search is even more exclusive, providing a single result.

Imagine the value of the top result in a high performing keyword like: "best running shoes." These top results could be fought over tooth-and-nail. But they could also be treated in a different way as personalization trends become more salient.

Customers are one of your richest content resources

People share incredible amounts of information to the web, from status updates and selfies through to GPS location and total steps walked in a day.

AI is learning what people want on a personal level, and it's already making predictions for them and optimizing their daily life. Personalization is only going to get better — meaning a search for: "best running shoes" could offer a different result for every user.

So even though only a small handful of results come up, people will be receiving content that's relevant to them. This means that brands won't be competing so much for ranking and keywords, as they will be competing for the customers that are most interested in their products.

Robots know humans, but they aren't human

In a nutshell, AI has the ability to answer questions, but not ask them. It needs sophisticated human input to figure out what the best answers are — that's why collecting customer data is so important.

Knowing your customer gives you the ability to activate autonomous marketing strategies that will be useful immediately and in the future. Use customer lists, segmentation and analytics information to understand your customer and give robots the best chance of bringing your brand to the top of Google Search.

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