A bunch of articles and good blog posts came out in the last few days on Google. Here's quick run down on my favorites before I dive head nto this post.
- On July 18th (yeah I'm late but I get busy some times), Google announced that they are rolling out Google Print Ads to all advertisers. As written in their press release "...interactively plan a targeted media buy-in up to hundreds of newspapers across the United States. Once they have identified target newspapers, they enter a bid for the available ad space and upload a creative."
- Google releases their Q2 results on July 20 and it sends the stock down. While a lot of the analyst's reactions were on the negative side, Henry Blodget of Internet Outsider fame summarized the results as solid even though they were driven down by hiring more people than they planned to and by an accounting change. Also, one of my new favorites bloggers, Kara Swisher from BoomTown reminded us that it may be a tough year for Google with more focus by the Government on their planned acquisition of DoubleClick.
- Finally also on July 20th, a good summary of Google's focus on Washington, politics, and search marketing these days. It recapped what looks like a standard meeting of Google's new political team of which I was already impressed with when I met with them a few weeks back. (BTW - if you think you are the only one working on that Google Maps example mentioned in the article, rest assured that you are NOT alone).
Let's start with that last bullet about Google's focus on political marketing. As the article points out they are hiring for both helping campaigns and committees to use Google as well as trying to influence Government policy. Both of these require people, especially in DC where face to face meetings are more important than electronically communicating or via phone. The management assigned to each vertical (I've used plenty of Google teams but mostly finance and politics) is focused on educating marketers in each area, especially the ones that are slow to market. These new market entrants require some hand holding and Google is only too happy to help, provided you spend some minimum amount ($9k/mo?). Also, this education is a prime example of why I save some of my own Google tricks for myself and my clients; I'm concerned they may fall into my competitor's laps.
While I'm personally not worried about Google hiring more people, I am worried about Google Print Ads. Sure, the process brought to you by Google is light years ahead of the paper trail, error riddled one used today, but I think print advertising in its current stale, static form is not worth a dime in advertising unless you are a local merchant focused on your territory. A national ad in the WSJ for like a $100K is to me an offensive waste of budget with zero accountability or reliability in generating results. To see how I really feel, visit this link where I was under siege from print agency folks for my attack on Ketel One. Google Print Ads in this current print advertising form is just the equivalent of rearranging deck chairs on the Titanic; sure, they'll get a share of the market which they don't currently have and that's good business, but really print advertising is a on the way to irrelevancy.
Having written all of this, I am VERY bullish on Google and can't imagine selling any of my stock for a while; GOOG would have to drop to $400ish before I'd even consider it. You see Google Print Ads, Radio Ads, TV Ads (which I'm sure they are working on), Google AdSense, AdWords, Video and Image Ads, Site Targeting, and etc have one common thing that their competitors don't have; the ability to scale all of these tools up or down to meet any sized advertiser.
The smallest $10 per day search marketer, if they are trained, can use advertising tools usually reserved for the big spenders. With your small amount of daily spend, you get EVERYTHING you need for your campaign, right down to post click tracking of your conversions. You can stream commercials, use targeting techniques to find your sweet spot, hand select websites, and build out your keyword list. Google gives it to you for pennies on the dollar and all you need to do is raise your mouse and search away to educate yourself or find one of their newly hired vertical sales specialists. That's why I'm bullish on Google even when they have a clunker like Google Print Ads.