While many companies were contemplating whether or not online advertising would yield any profitable fruit, Google was busy planting online search-advertising “seeds” that would grow to produce enough cash to support its expanding corporate roots and spawn further development of its pioneering search technology.
However, Google’s sprawling branches of success haven’t gone unnoticed by rivals Yahoo! and Microsoft who are hurriedly cultivating competitive pay dirt systems, in hopes of harvesting some bountiful cash-crops of their own. As the evolution of online advertising continues along the tech timeline, Google continues to innovate and develop
media-rich, online advertising collateral – such as interactive ads, in addition to improvements to its contextual-related text ads.
The rapid pace of changing, new technology, coupled with continually growing demand by small, medium, and large corporate advertisers and entrepreneurs seeking “eyeballs” stands to fertilize already luxuriant search-soil into an evermore-important element of the promotional mix.
Advertising companies know not to put all their advertising eggs in one basket. By combining precisely measurable click-through ads with less measurable, but more emotionally effective, online full-colour and multimedia ads, companies are better able to reach targeted customers among increased promotional noise and clutter. Displaying banner ads are inexpensive and easy to track, so companies can update them easily and measure the response to the implemented change. But, as people begin to bookmark “sticky” sites, they will potentially use Google and other search engines less frequently, necessitating advertisers to employ display ads rather than simple text-based ads.
Just as advertisers spread their promotional budgets among many different mediums to reach consumers, they too spread out their online-advertising budget to maximize exposure to “eyeballs.” It is a futile attempt, trying to make any one promotional vehicle do too many tasks - as the vehicle will most likely fail at all of them. Spreading out the tasks yields far great success.
Two of the lesser-known firms that I’m familiar with are WordPress (wordpress.org) and Joomla! (joomla.org). Both of these firms produce content management system (CMS) software that allows an individual to publish, maintain, and manage a web site’s content efficiently. WordPress is geared more toward blogging, whereas Joomla! extends capabilities akin to online news services such as MSNBC or The New York Times.
Word of mouth spreads exponentially faster through unremitting use and acceptance of the product or service. The more people who use the product, the more people will spread the word; conversely, the narrower the market for a product the slower word spreads. Google fills the need of consumers for a way to locate information among the infinite amount of data hosted via the Internet. In fact, that’s Google’s mission statement: “Organize the world’s information and make it universally accessible and useful.” It would be difficult using Internet-assisted word of mouth for Joomla! or WordPress to become world renown, as universal market demand is quite fragmented – not everyone has a need or desire to host their own blog or manage a web site’s content. In other words, there is no mass appeal by people for these two products like there is for search like Google, Yahoo!, or Microsoft LiveSearch.
The search titan, Google, does offer a free-blogging service called “Blogger” for individuals who want to get up and going with a simple blog. But, social networking sites such as MySpace and Facebook that have obtained world recognition also offer blogging ability. These two sites have mass appeal; therefore, it is no surprise that they too find themselves “verb-alized.” For example, it is not common for people to say they are “MySpacing” or that they have been “Facebooked.” Some individuals have even been subjected to “MyStalking.” Ahh, all the glorious splendors of the Internet.
The plain-Jane, whiteboard front-page of Google’s web site allows search content and results to be located quickly and viewed easily. One point of view would take the position that all that white-space is elegant and stunningly simple – a design tactic that strategic partner Apple employs often.
Google can market itself as a clean, revolutionary, high-tech services company, but it’s web page appears to be very low-tech when compared to other Flash-based, interactive sites; however, by keeping the site basic, it loads much faster than its multimedia-rich counterparts – resulting in faster search results for users. For advertisers looking for ways to cut through clutter and noise, Google’s approach seems to be a refreshing and welcome change from overly obnoxious colors or high-bandwidth graphics that force longer pageloads. And, Google isn’t so ho-hum and drab after all. One approach Google utilizes to maintain a fresh-looking and fun page is to slightly alter its logo on holidays or other special event days.
The sterile background can present a marketing challenge for Google though. As it’s home page is more or less no frills, there may be resistance by some advertisers to pay a premium for an otherwise “vanilla” web presence. Google’s overly simplistic design could be potentially interpreted as basic, cheap, or having little value. And, it would be difficult for Google to devise an ad that’s laden with colour when its brand identity is primary stark white. As a positive, the company saves a tremendous amount on color-matching costs or printing on corporate-colored paper.
By maintaining a clean, white homepage – a homepage whose color has been universally accepted to mean positive, good-natured, the color of perfection, angelic, and simplicity, Google portrays an uncluttered, positive corporate image. Undeniably, that is a powerful weapon that Google can draw on from its marketing arsenal. And, having brought together billions of people of every color, creed, nationality, race, and ethnicity from all corners of the world through its technology, it is fitting that of all the googols of colors available, Google enlisted the one color that contained all colors to serve as a cornerstone of its brand identity and unite the world’s people in their search for knowledge and information.
Google targets two main groups with its AdWords and AdSense advertising programs. The former caters to advertisers seeking to reach a target audience who is performing search requests on Google or Google-supported web sites. The latter AdSense program is geared toward web site owners who are looking to generate revenue from their sites by hosting Google-produced ads on web pages.
Google uses logical appeal to advertise its programs to prospective marketing advertisers, citing such attributes as low overall cost and ease of implementing ads with its AdWords program. A similar approach is taken when marketing its AdSense program, coupling the logical appeal of easy to customize ads with eye-catching graphics that visually support the clean, 3-step approach to earning passive income from a web site.
Additionally, Google offers AdWords and AdSense banner ads as part of an affiliate exchange program that participants can use to spread the word about these programs. These ads take the form of word-of-mouth advertising, in the sense that an affiliate will be electing to tell others about the program by placing ads that tout specific features of the programs. Google doesn’t place these ads; individual users of the programs place them!
Several success stories are provided as examples of how advertisers have benefited from Google’s search-related advertising programs. From the new-business startup, to the company looking to increase its customer base, these are stories that share quantitative results and the effectiveness of AdWords and AdSense. From my own personal experience using AdSense, I can attest that it is easy to implement and generate results. I have several
AdSense-enabled web sites; and while I haven’t seen returns quite as marketable as the examples Google shares with prospective clients, I have promoted the service to other colleagues who have asked my opinion regarding AdSense’s value.
1. Bovee, Courtland, John Thill, and Michael Mescon. Excellence in Business. 3rd ed. Prentice Hall, 2007.