Why Google Dominates -- And What This Means For Search Marketers

Fellow Search Insider Gord Hotchkiss wrote a great piece last week entitled "What's So Interesting About Google Anyway?"  If you were on vacation, I would highly suggest that you read it.  It turns out there's plenty interesting about Google -- and Gord does a good job describing why.  The rise of Google is well-documented, but what is also interesting to me is how Google continues to dominate.  On the heels of yet another great Google earnings report yesterday, there are lessons for us both as marketers and businesspeople.   

Balance for the present: 

Google (like most of us) has the unenviable task of improving user experience while at the same time working to maximize profits. Google arguably does this better than any other company. It is able to stay laser-focused on the core areas that will make both its users and advertisers happy. 



This past quarter, for example, shows how its product innovations over the past year have helped consumers and investors alike. Google has released many product enhancements including Product Extensions, Sitelinks, Contact Form Extensions, Google Reviews, Google Instant, and longer headlines. This has allowed marketers to deliver more targeted messages to their target audience. Results:  among our advertisers, we saw Google spend up 17.7% year/year overall, but up 27% year/year in positions 1-3 of paid search.  Positions 1-3 are the most expensive positions for marketers, but they can now deliver more targeted advertising in these positions so they are more profitable. This relentless focus of innovation on paid search has help advertisers, users, and Google alike.

Vision for the Future: 

Google realizes, though, that paid search is not going to be 90% of its revenues forever.  It saw the critical interactions with paid search and display advertising sooner than most -- and it went into display BIG. This is now bearing fruit. The acquisitions of DoubleClick, Invite Media, and AdMeld, along with its own RTB innovations, have all but insured that Google will be a dominant player in display adverting for years to come. In the second quarter this year we saw Google's Ad Exchange demand over 50% of real-time bidded display ads. This is a first for Google, which is rapidly rising in biddable display.  The company's recently announced data exchange (a brilliant move, and a topic for a future article) will only accelerate this growth.


What's next? Google's multiple investments in mobile will bear fruit in the coming quarters, and it is finally a serious player in social. After several missteps in past social experiments, +1 looks like a viable competitor to Facebook. 

What can we learn from this? 

Stay focused on your user experience?  Check.

Stay focused on your core business?  Check.

Stay focused on the future?  Check.

Learn from your mistakes?  Check.

Do all this while growing rapidly and profitably?  Check. 

These are lessons that we all can use.


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