Google is synonymous with search and for good reason. The company has almost perfected this ingenious marketing technique. And it has profited handsomely from it. In its most recent 10-Q filing, Google reported first-quarter revenue of $5.51 billion, 6% more than the same period last year.
Marketers from people running businesses out of their basements to the largest corporations in the world use Google search. The technique is especially effective for b2b marketers because search generates leads.
“What we've been best at is lead generation, the bottom of the funnel,” said Sam Sebastian, Google's director of local and b2b marketing. “That's right in our wheelhouse, and basically you can use Google as a sales channel.”
Phone: (650) 253-0000
Traffic: 151.2 million unique monthly visitors^
Ad revenue: $21.8 billion
Ad rate: Starts at 1 cent per click
Comment: Google’s revolutionizing of search and subsequent domination of the category have transformed interactive marketing. Is there a b2b marketer in the U.S. that doesn’t have a Google line item in its marketing budget?
Google's AdWords, the system through which marketers bid on keywords and write text ads, is an amazingly simple operation. Pick a few keywords, create a text ad and wait for the leads to roll in. If the leads don't, simply adjust the keywords, the ad or both.
The cost-per-click model means marketers pay only for what works. And the self-service nature of the system means there's no pesky salesperson to deal with.
On top of everything, Google's search engine marketing system appears to work. “Our b2b clients like Google because it does allow the ability to be very targeted and it can be fairly inexpensive,” said Caroline Riby, VP-media director at Roberts Communications. “You can go on Google, do AdWords, plug in some keywords and get an impact right away.”
But as a publicly traded company, Google must continue to boost its revenue. With the speed of search's growth slowing, the company must find other areas for expansion. It has had some false starts, abandoning, for instance, attempts to sell print ads and radio spots to its search marketers.
Google's home page is as simple as a Web page can be, but the company is more complex than search. It owns ad network DoubleClick and YouTube, and it believes those two properties can help it garner more online brand advertising revenue.
With DoubleClick, Google—which said it is going to make behaviorally targeted advertising available to marketers later this year—can offer banner advertising on its network of sites for marketers that want to do more branding-oriented activity. With YouTube, Google can allow marketers to post videos and commercials, also with branding messages.
“It's a big opportunity,” Sebastian said.