BrightEdge Releases First-Ever Research on Perplexity

SAN MATEO, CA – April 3, 2024 – BrightEdge, the global leader in AI-driven organic search, content and digital marketing automation, today announced new, unprecedented data and research on Perplexity, the new AI-first search engine. The BrightEdge Generative Parser™ is the only solution able to track and distill patterns in AI-driven search experiences, and has previously focused its research on gaining a deep understanding of the Google Search Generative Experience (SGE). Today, the same groundbreaking technology offers early insights on how Perplexity compares to SGE, and how AI-first search engines can differentiate themselves.

The generative AI boom has opened the door for a new type of search engine to challenge Google and Microsoft. Perplexity, which launched in 2022 and has raised $102.3M to date, is growing rapidly and gaining a foothold with consumers looking for a conversational alternative to traditional search engines. BrightEdge’s analysis shows that referrals from Perplexity to brand sites are growing at nearly 40% month over month since January. This is the first evidence that Perplexity is not used solely for generative content purposes, but also as a search engine that refers users to sites through citations.

For marketers, who rely on organic search strategies to reach customers, new AI-first search engines like Perplexity and ChatGPT signal a tectonic shift in how brands market and sell their products. However, the newness of these AI-driven platforms means they frequently undergo dynamic changes, making them difficult to track and adapt to.

The BrightEdge Generative Parser™, which was able to uncover early insights about Google SGE, is now accurately measuring and tracking patterns in Perplexity in order to better understand the evolving platform. Today, the company is sharing search result findings and their broader impact by comparing Perplexity’s reference domains, listing ranks and referrals to traditional Google and Google SGE.

Domain differences between Google SGE and Perplexity shed light on which content sources search engines value.

Search engines pull their results from various sources. Those sources highlight which resources hold more weight, how they distill information to consumers, and potential partnership opportunities.

  • Reddit is a top domain across most of Perplexity’s citations by industry for seven of the top nine industries, with Healthcare and Finance as exceptions.
  • For Healthcare, Restaurants, Travel and Education, Perplexity and Google have a similar focus on high authority websites such as the Mayo Clinic, a top-ranked hospital; Yelp and Tripadvisor, trusted restaurant and travel sites; and online course provider Coursera.
  • In E-Commerce, both engines heavily source Wikipedia and Amazon, but the overlap stops there. Google uses Quora and Consumer Reporters for third-party product information, while Perplexity references Reddit. Overall, Perplexity is most likely to reference product sites, whereas Google SGE will also include informational resources such as lifestyle and news sites.
  • In Finance, Perplexity’s citations skew heavily toward Yahoo, MarketWatch and CNN.

Top search results on Perplexity and Google overlap, particularly notable in Healthcare.

  • 60% of Perplexity citations overlap with the top 10 organic Google results, meaning that Perplexity users are getting similar, relevant responses to Google, but with the added benefit of an AI-generated summary and conversation flow.
  • The highest result overlap is in Healthcare at 82%. This overlap is because both engines give priority to high authority sites such as Mayo Clinic and the National Institutes of Health.

For marketers, Perplexity’s strong referral growth creates a new pathway to optimization.

Perplexity does not generate revenue from ads in the way that Google does, resulting in direct citations without promoted sources in response to searches. For brands, this means that organic search optimization is crucial.

  • Perplexity is seeing organic share rate growth at a rate of 39% month, meaning that more consumers are using and engaging with the platform’s provided responses.
  • Additionally, Perplexity offers 5.28 citations per response. More citations shows a search engine’s commitment to transparency, and creates opportunities for brands to gain referral traffic.
  • Perplexity shows drastically more citations in Restaurant and Travel responses. This indicates potential areas of expertise for the engine.

“Optimizing emerging search platforms is essential for marketers because their impact will be seismic – just 1% of the global organic search market equates to approximately $1.2B in ad revenue per year,” said Jim Yu, Founder and Executive Chairman of BrightEdge. “AI-first engines are steadily gaining ground and carving out their own areas of expertise, making it critical for the marketing community to master multiple search platforms. There is too much revenue at stake to get left behind, which is why we’re closely tracking the development of these engines and all things AI search – from traffic trends and queries to result quality and more.”

For additional information on how your company can prepare for the generative AI search revolution, click here.


About BrightEdge

BrightEdge, the global leader in Enterprise SEO and content performance, empowers digital marketers to transform online opportunities into tangible business results. Its all-in-one platform provides organizations with crucial market insights and intelligent AI-driven solutions. The BrightEdge platform contains the industry's most unique and extensive data set that connects key search, social, content, and digital media data points. Its deep-learning engine, DataMind, has been powering SEO AI-driven solutions since 2015, allowing marketers to benefit from high-fidelity data-led insights and automated action. Over 57% of Fortune 100 companies and nine of the top ten international agencies trust BrightEdge to help them provide the best performance by becoming an integral part of the digital experience.