Google Search On -- IT'S GOOD!

Five days after the world premiere of a Google commercial during the third quarter of Super Bowl XLIV, I remain impressed by Google's traditional advertising debut. Unlike Bing's television campaign that includes a creepy vampire, Google's commercial told a classic story, a love story. It made us feel warm and fuzzy inside.

I remain impressed by Google today for alsop being the clear winner in terms of cross-channel integration of its campaign. I have written about Super Bowl advertisers' online integration for several years and this, by far, is the best and most lasting effort I have seen. A search for "Google Super Bowl" or any other related search reveals a paid search listing from Google that reads, Google's Love Story Ad - Find It And Other Stories Only On Our YouTube Channel. Search On. I have seen countless Google display ads over the past few days, all with the same clear message, Search On. And last, but certainly not least, the viral aspect -- fueled by Eric Schmidt's tweet -- has been more than Google could have hoped for.



Now as a marketer, I did have to question the rationale behind Google's decision to run a Super Bowl commercial this year. Google's call to action was clear and concise: Search On. But, what was the point? Here are my two theories:

1. I can, therefore I will. When you are big enough and your fiercest little competitor pours an estimated $80 million into advertising, what's a measly $2.5 million?

2. ComScore just released the January 2010 US Search Engine Rankings this week. There were definitely some interesting takeaways from the release. Of course, Google leads with 65.4% search market share; however, this is down (ever so slightly) from 65.7% in December. Americans conducted 15.2 billion searches in January; and although the number of queries increased 3% over December, this is a record low for query growth. Maybe Google didn't know where its market share percentage would come in, but I bet its principals were all over the fact that query growth is slowing.

I tend to lean towards number two, with a bit of number one mixed in as a twist. Business is business and we all want to be successful and continue to grow. It is speculated that the Microsoft/Yahoo deal will receive approval soon and Bing's market share gains are Yahoo's losses, making the combo deal essentially the same as it would have been a year ago. If growth in query volume halts, then battles over market share are the only option for continued growth of search engine revenues.

This past Sunday, Google entered the Super Bowl line-up with a message for Microsoft, "Anything you can do, I can do better." The Google commercial is better; the campaign integration is better; and most importantly, the product is better.

I don't know about everyone else, but I cannot wait to watch this battle play out.

12 comments about "Google Search On -- IT'S GOOD!".
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  1. David Culbertson from LightBulb Interactive, February 12, 2010 at 1:09 p.m.

    A spot-on observation. The ad was simple and got its message across without excessive "creativity" Curiously, AdAge didn't even rate it. I suspect the AdAge were turning their noses up at it as simply too uncreative to bother paying any attention to.

  2. Warren Lee from SEO-CUBED.COM, February 12, 2010 at 1:30 p.m.

    Am I the only one who thought the Google ad was boring?

    Google has so many cool features and hidden things that are useful if only people knew they existed.
    Everyone knows Google has a search box, you type stuff into it, and get links back.. I wonder why they didn't promote other parts of Google, like Knol, or perhaps trends, insights or Goggles ?

    Or perhaps they could have shown new ways people are using Google to do new things or to help people or anything but that boring commercial seems like it would have been better,


  3. Nelson Yuen from Stereotypical Mid Sized Services Corp., February 12, 2010 at 1:33 p.m.

    Ditto with David.

    One thing I would have liked to know though is if there was a segment of those declining queries that originated from an older demographic - the one that still uses IE by default and doesn't know anything but MSN and AOL as a home page. I'm not knowledgeable enough to make an opinion, but I wonder if that commercial resonates with a market that just isn't completely familiar with how ______ Google is???

    Testing??? 123?

  4. Nelson Yuen from Stereotypical Mid Sized Services Corp., February 12, 2010 at 1:34 p.m.

    LMAO good timing? I think my comment addresses Warren's concern.

  5. Kathy Henry from Crain Communications, February 12, 2010 at 1:39 p.m.

    Agreed that the Google ad was "technically" superior, but the Bing ad is looking to appeal to a much younger and more male audience than the Google ad. "Google is your mom's search engine", Bing is for you. It's not a bad strategy, it's worked before. What state of inebriation are you in by the 3rd quarter of the super bowl? How many women are still watching? (the Google ad was definitely "chick flick" material) Not sure Google matched ad to audience very well there. Dedicated Googlers are not going to move to Bing, MS's only hope is to feast on the young, which makes their vampire ad even more appropriate!

  6. Paula Lynn from Who Else Unlimited, February 12, 2010 at 2:18 p.m.

    So you think that listings and advertisers that land on page 2 are happy?

  7. Nelson Yuen from Stereotypical Mid Sized Services Corp., February 12, 2010 at 2:27 p.m.


    I see your point. That COULD possibly be a good strategy for MS. But let me push back for a second and say that the YOUNGER demographic is traditionally known to abhor gimmicks and themes in advertisements. We're anit script. The commercial unfortunately screamed desperation - "please like me... look I'm catering to the vampire fad."

    My personal opinion (which means I polled 600 friends on facebook between the ages 19 - 25) the vampire ad made Bing look useless. It's an advertisement, not a conversation about anything relevant to us. Why target Google when we're going to Yelp for our geographically targeted real-time fix. The ad talked about finding links for a restaurant? So... is Yelp a non-issue? Please, don't take this the wrong way, I'm not making ANY assumptions - but Bing isn't a decision engine for the younger demographic, it's just a marketing ploy.

    MEANWHILE, I think Google is smart enough to know what the Superbowl is good for and what it isn't good for. It's NOT good for trying to shave market share - but it is great for PR and starting conversations about your brand. AGAIN NO ASSUMPTIONS, but I don't think the numbers will swing to Bing's favor after the ad. I have a funny feeling it will have the reverse effect (mostly because it was scripted in such a poor fashion.)

  8. Nelson Yuen from Stereotypical Mid Sized Services Corp., February 12, 2010 at 2:30 p.m.

    "Google is your mom's search engine" ?????????????.....

    Marketing is so easy...

    I would like to be a marketer.....

  9. Kathy Henry from Crain Communications, February 12, 2010 at 3:04 p.m.

    Nelson, Microsoft is first and foremost a marketing and legal powerhouse. Sometimes they release software. I don't disagree that younger people see through marketing gimmicks, and clearly it's a "Twilight" ploy, but it's possible MS knows something we don't. And how smart was it to spend a bundle to put that particular Google ad in the middle of the SuperBowl?

  10. Nelson Yuen from Stereotypical Mid Sized Services Corp., February 12, 2010 at 3:28 p.m.

    Mmm. Agree to disagree. (Actually I can't figure out what I'm disagreeing with you just yet...)

    What I WANT to say is that there's a larger dichotomy involved with search behavior right? Two competitors, two directions, but an unlimited number of variable search behaviors. (BTW I'm grouping Bing and Yahoo together anticipating merger.) Being part of the younger demographic - we didn't realize it then - but most of the time younger consumers sat on the sidelines while powerhouse corps battled it out for our consumer share. Search is a little different. Within a second, I could choose another search engine. Albeit, it's annoying to change embedded behavior. (I still use the "classic view" in Winzip.) Search has to address end usability, not personal preference. Catering to a "twilight fad" or a "male VS female" demo is essentially over thinking the marketing strategy between; especially when there are only 2 major players.

    So my VERY HUMBLE TWO CENTS, marketing for search share isn't about concept, creative, or niche penetration of key demographics. It's just about usability. Google has practiced a very simple philosophy since inception - cater to the end user.

    Because empirical evidence shows that in the early stages of search; when people couldn't find what they were looking for in one search engine, they quickly searched on 3 or even 4 other search engines. (Remember BrainFox? AltaVista? AOL? I didn't but I remember interviewing for jobs and getting the corporate spiel.)

    Just because there are only 3 search engines now, doesn't mean the end user won't use yahoo if he/she doesn't find what she's looking for on Google.

    Try the link below. The search term is "Search." Try it.

    On the left? Filtered no? (Google doesn't even show up top 10)

    On the right? An engine that incorporates search results for ALL major search engines on the top. Followed by Bing a couple steps down. Relevancy and end usability - not business strategy.

  11. Nelson Yuen from Stereotypical Mid Sized Services Corp., February 12, 2010 at 3:31 p.m.

    ... hate to take up more space. (My sincerest apologies to the author.)

    An important thing to note:

    Google's ad spend in traditional = 2.5 Mil.
    Bing's = 80 Mil.

  12. Juan Yanez Carrera, February 12, 2010 at 5:30 p.m.

    and ad is and ad, and is to promote your company, Google just did that, everybody knows Google, just like Coca Cola, and as simple as this; there might come up with Bings and other 'stuff' that would try to compete with Google but would never replace it, look at Pepsi, it tastes better, but would always be 2nd to Coca Cola.

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