Google Business Strategy Analysis

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What's Google's Strategy?

Boiling Google's strategy down to just one thing is impossible, but Internet marketers (and search marketers in particular) ought to be thinking about where Google wants to take the industry, because even if Google ultimately can't go where it wants, the industry will be changed regardless. Watching Google helps us understand not only where Google is going, but where others might go also. So, what is behind all the actions we've seen Google take over the years?

Some of the motivations are simple. Google's revenue is based on advertising, so it needs more and more places to show its ads to increase its revenue. So, expanding its reach through its AdSense contextual ad network makes sense. So does its acquisition of DoubleClick. Both of these moves allow Google to place ads on Web properties it does not own.

Similarly, Google has been consistently acquiring properties that serve as venues for its ads, such as Blogger and YouTube. Google has also pioneered new offerings that attract audiences for its ads, such as Gmail.

But Google's strategy is far richer than merely adding new venues for the same kind of ads it shows on search results pages. Google knows that the reason that its ads have commanded premium prices (versus banner ads) is because Google ads have the customer's attention. When someone is searching for something, they are interested in the ads, while Web surfers might not be. Google understands that the attention paid to a message is a critical part of why it has high value to an advertiser.

So, attention is more than real estate. Showing a display ad does not ensure true customer attention. True attention is a function of relevance.

Google already commands attention with its search ads, a...

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...ght not be enough to persuade people to part with their privacy. Even the work underway is slow because searchers don't understand the benefits of personalized search. Google is well aware of this danger, so it remains to be seen if they can evade it.

It's always dangerous to attempt to summarize a company's whole strategy in a short blog post—Google's strategy is far more diffuse and nuanced than this. But it helps us to try to simplify things to their essence, even at the risk of oversimplifying, because it helps us understand the forces at work in Internet marketing.

Understand that what Google wants to do might not happen, but it is certain to affect what others do and what eventually does happen in Internet marketing. If you pay attention to these broad themes as you do think through your marketing strategy, you'll be more prepared for whatever does come along.
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