Perplexity plans to sell ads


Perplexity, an AI-powered search engine, is planning to introduce native advertising in related questions, according to Adweek.

How it will work. Related questions, which include links to sources, account for 40% of Perplexity’s queries. So Perplexity plans to add relevant, related brand-sponsored questions along with organic questions.

Brand safety. It will be “a paramount priority,” Dmitry Shevelenko, Perplexity’s chief business officer, told Adweek.

When. Details are few. All we know is it is coming “in the upcoming quarters.”

Why we care. Perplexity, founded in August 2022, has a much smaller user base (a self-reported 15 million monthly active users) than the likes of Google, Microsoft Bing and AI rival ChatGPT. However, Google, OpenAI and other AI-powered search engines have yet to figure out how to reliably monetize AI search. So it will be interesting to see whether Google or other companies follow this path.

Perplexity vs. ads. On its About page, Perplexity says:

“Perplexity was founded on the belief that searching for information should be a straightforward, efficient experience, free from the influence of advertising-driven models.”

However, Shevelenko said:

  • “Advertising was always part of how we’re going to build a great business.” 

In a separate recent interview with Wired (subscription required), Perplexity founder and CEO Aravind Srinivas discussed ads, said he wasn’t against advertising. In fact, his vision for advertising on the platform is to help advertisers understand who is searching and then bid on the most “high-value traffic.”

  • “Ads are not evil. When ads are done right it’s amazing, and generative AI is going to help us build even better targeting.”

This is a stark contrast from OpenAI CEO Sam Altman, who doesn’t love ads. He has even called internet advertising a “momentary industry.”

The report. Adweek’s Trishla Ostwal covered it in Gen-AI Search Engine Perplexity Has a Plan to Sell Ads.

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