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The Rise of Answer Engines: Why Search Engines May Soon Be a Thing of the Past

Executive Summary

AI-powered “answer engines” are revolutionizing the way the audiences retrieve information online. These engines respond to user queries with short, straight answers, unlike traditional search engines that show lists of links.

As a chief marketing officer or marketing manager, it is crucial to adapt your content strategy to focus on answering specific questions and re-evaluating the impact of gated content. CMOs will need to stay ahead of the game as answer engines challenge traditional ad-based revenue models like Google's. For companies that depend on organic search, this change requires adjusting their content strategies to concentrate on answering specific questions and rethinking the effect of gated content.


Finding the information we need may soon become easier, without having to scroll through many pages of paid search results. Custom AI bots will let us ask precise questions and get customized answers.

As more people use chatbots and large language models (LLMs) and enjoy getting information by querying a chatbot, they will stop entering keywords into a search box and browsing through pages of results that are often influenced by search experts or companies with a lot of advertising money.

In the future, users will get direct answers to their questions from answering engines – AI-powered platforms that are designed to do more than just show a list of links to other websites. These platforms will use contextual intelligence to figure out the meaning and purpose of a question and provide more precise and appropriate information.

Bing chat with Copilot returns results to questions and links to the source of the information. New player Perplexity AI similarly does the research and returns a summary answer to your question with links to sources.

Google is responding to this trend with a feature called Search Generative Experience (SGE), where the first search result is an AI summary of your question. Google's AI is also available on Android devices and could potentially replace Google Search.

On a desktop, Copilot gives Bing a small edge as it is integrated with most apps for a Microsoft user. Other platforms have apps for mobile devices, which are very handy.

A screenshot of google SGE results explaining to the user what the best way is to get to Tokyo from Haneda Airport.

Image: Google search using SGE. Google and the Google logo are trademarks of Google LLC.

Recommendations for Marketing Professionals

This radical change in the way people search for and find information will require a change in how marketers connect and engage with customers and prospects. Some of the areas that marketers need to adjust are as follows:

  • Content strategy: Marketers’ content strategy should suit the evolving search environment if your company counts on organic search. Make sure your content is written for your audience searching for information. Your content should aim to answer specific questions that users may have.
    For example, if you are a DevOps software provider, ensure you identify and precisely answer the questions that a DevOps user is trying to answer with your content. Since this content is likely to be highly technical, use video interviews, transcripts, and audio to syndicate this across channels and improve your chances of discovery by answer engines. This content should be ungated and available to be searched for, indexed, and learned by public AI models.
  • Websites as sources of content: Websites may supply content but may not get the same number of visitors as before. The audience will see these answers from your websites on the answer engines/chat windows. Today, not all of them show the sources. In the future, we predict they will be legally required to provide the source. Providing the source will be an opportunity for websites get more visits from the answer engines.
  • Gated content: Gated content may not be searchable, so this should be considered when making your content strategy. Write good ungated summaries that will motivate people to see your content. Ensure your content is discoverable on public LLM and answer engines to present to people searching for this information. See example below.

A screenshot of a search for how to optimize the right metrics to scale your business. Sources are listed at the top of the page, followed by a description of key steps.

Image: Screenshot of results from the Perplexity AI answer engine


Get ready to adjust your content strategy. Online marketing techniques such as email marketing, account-based marketing, and smart advertising will continue to flourish. Watch out for the shifts and trends that may emerge soon.

How quickly will this happen? It might have begun already. According to SEMrush, in January Perplexity AI had 42.33 million visits with an average session duration of 19:44. Compared to December traffic to Perplexity AI went up by 34.84%. The popularity of Q&A sites like Reddit and Quora and niche sites like Tripadvisor also shows that user search behavior is changing.

By keeping up with the changes, companies can make sure that they are ready to benefit from the possibilities offered by answer engines while reducing the dangers related to this change in search behavior.

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