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A recent blog post by Coywolf’s Jon Henshaw has gone the tech equivalent of viral — sparking enthusiastic speculation on whether an Apple search engine is on the cards. If it IS true, what could it mean for your business? In this blog post, we’ll cut through the noise and unpack this hot topic in relation to your sales and marketing strategy.

What’s all the fuss about?

So far, Google is the only search engine brand to transcend into being its very own verb. We no longer “search”, we “google”, just like we would "Facebook", or "Slack" a friend or colleague. This top-of-mind popularity is partly due to the billions it pays Apple every year to be the defaults search engine on iOS devices. And according to the same Forbes article, Google makes $25 billion in ad revenue off iOS alone, every year. So any suggestion that Apple strikes out on its own could cost Google a lot of ad revenue. Parallel to this, UK regulators have started to question the deal between Alphabet Inc and Apple, so regulations limiting their agreement may be fast approaching.

For marketers and their companies, any search engine that rivals Google signals two things: a change in current paid media and SEO strategies, and growing potential for both on a new platform.

How likely is an Apple search engine?

There’s been no official announcement by Apple. Speculation seems mostly fuelled by a reported increase in crawling by AppleBot, an update to its support page, and changes in Spotlight Search on iOS and iPadOS 14 beta. That, and the fact that, according to Henshaw, Apple seems to be hiring more than the usual amount of search engineers.

Realistically, while the timing for a new search engine looks favourable, all of the online hype seems to have stemmed from Henshaw’s one article on Coywolf (at the time of writing). And while it draws some pretty smart educated guesses, nothing can be confirmed without an official statement from Apple HQ.

What could it mean for marketing?

If this new search engine does get launched, and significantly disrupts user behaviour as expected, it could send your marketing and strategy teams back to the drawing board. Huble Digital’s own SEO and strategy experts have this to say:

  • Not much will change from an SEO standpoint, unless their algorithm is dramatically different from Google’s (which is unlikely). 

  • From a PPC perspective, any new search engine that seriously rivals Google translates into a new place we can advertise. While they may initially launch without ads, it’s very likely they’ll update to include this revenue stream in the future. 

  • Based on Apple’s previous models, the search engine would probably be heavily US-oriented and mobile-focused, before expanding to include a handful of Western European and Asian countries.

Key Takeout?

Preparing for change never hurts

Our own teams reacted to the news with a quick level-headed dissection of pros and cons, and the outcome seems to be a sound “DON’T PANIC!”. Whatever happens, any changes to SEO and marketing strategy that a new Apple search engine may require can be done with the help of the right team. Agile teams — who are used to innovations and strategy revisions informed by real data — stand a better chance of capitalising on the opportunities that Apple’s competitor platform would provide.

Connecting with your audience takes a combination of the right MarTech and skills. At Huble Digital, we’ve put together a multidisciplinary powerhouse to create a full-service digital business consultancy; as such, we can recognise the difference between a serious development and a passing fad. Things like SEO and marketing strategies don’t succeed in a vacuum — they’re part of an ecosystem of digital strategies and tactics that ensure your business scales sustainably, with a resilient business core. Let’s chat about how we can help you stay ahead and take advantage of the latest industry developments, smartly.

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