In 1998 computer magnate Bill Gates was targeted by pie terrorists in Brussels and pelted with cream pies for taking himself too seriously. In California, in the same year, Larry Page and Sergey Brin were busy giving birth to Google. In 2008 – the year of its tenth birthday – Google is a household name, having graduated from slang use to an official verb (‘to google’) and included in dictionaries in the UK and US. Google has changed the way we think and the way we live our lives. It has changed the way we do business and organise our leisure time. Search engines have become an indispensable extension of our brains.
So, what effect has all this googling had on the traditional ways of advertising and doing business? In today’s competitive climate a business, no matter how small, cannot ignore the necessity of having a website. Marketing budgets are changing from traditional routes to focus on Internet searches and Google ads.
Since its introduction in the UK in 2002, Google’s UK advertising revenue has risen beyond anyone’s expectations (or worst nightmares). While Google’s revenue has increased by somewhere close to 40% each year, giants like ITV1 have seen their revenue decrease by around 7%. According to statistics reported in The Guardian, Google’s UK advertising revenue has been steadily increasing and crushing all other forms of media advertising:
2003 – £70 m – Google UK trailing all other media
2004 – £201m – a massive jump, putting it ahead of cinema advertising
2005 – £439m – overtaking ad revenue of Channel 5 (£300m)
2006 – £802m – overtaking Channel 4 network, ahead of radio by almost double (£458m) and consumer magazines (£698m).
2007 – £1.265bn – ahead of business magazines ($835m) and multi-channel TV market ad revenue (£974m)
The gurus predict Google’s UK 2008 advertising revenue will reach £1.74bn, putting it ahead of ITV1 and national newspapers. Also likely to find themselves in the cross hairs for the New Year are Google’s remaining competitors, the regional newspapers (£2.33bn in 2008) and commercial television sector (£3.5bn in 2008).
The old methods of targeting customers are becoming less and less viable as consumers find what they need via Google. A website gives businesses the chance to target potential customers with a myriad of information and possibilities such as directions and maps, tempting special offers and mailing lists, as well as bookmarking and sharing options.
Advertisers are learning that in order to maximise search results they need to fine-tune their landing pages and advertising copy – usually with the help of SEO professionals. According to Google, its largest advertising areas are in retail, finance, travel, automotive and technology. One major and significant benefit of investing in online advertising over traditional methods such as television, newspapers, magazines and radio is the ability to track results.
Statistics provided for 2008 by comScore and Hitwise show that Google continues to command the lion’s share of the UK search market and search engine rankings in the U.S. Google is no sleeping giant and so far has fended off cream-pie attacks as it has set about decimating the marketing income of traditional offline media.
Source of Google UK statistics:
The Guardian – April 2008
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