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Thursday, August 02, 2007

Is Google a Search Engine Marketing Firm?

I've been wondering lately what Google is. Is part of Google operating as a search engine marketing firm? Other search marketing bloggers are asking similar questions:
A couple of recent posts on some official Google blogs make it look like Google is actually offering search marketing services, even before they acquire Performics, a search engine marketing company that's a part of the DoubleClick acquisition. I'll cite two examples. First, from the Google Health Advertising Blog:
Many of our clients face these issues; companies come to us hoping we can help them better manage their reputations through “Get the Facts” or issue management campaigns. Your brand or corporate site may already have these informational assets, but can users easily find them?

We can place text ads, video ads, and rich media ads in paid search results or in relevant websites within our ever-expanding content network. Whatever the problem, Google can act as a platform for educating the public and promoting your message. We help you connect your company’s assets while helping users find the information they seek.

If you’re interested in learning more about issue management campaigns or about how we can help your company better connect its assets online, email us. We’d love to hear from you! Setting up these campaigns is easy and we’re happy to share best practices.
That post caused quite a bit of controversy. There's a more recent post, on the Google CPG (Consumer Packaged Goods) Blog, that clearly indicates there are groups within Google that operate as search marketing firms:
In order to optimize for our CPG clients, we increase placements across our network in a couple of ways:

1) through a mirrored, keyword-based content campaign. Take the search campaign and essentially mirror it as a content-only campaign. Narrow the keyword list a bit to make tighter-themed ad groups, and set max CPC bids according to your goals. Run a placement performance report to see where your ads run, and exclude sites as necessary if they aren't converting or relevant in terms of content.

2) through a targeted list of sites in our network. Hand-pick sites by category, site type, or other . Upload ads (text, image, and video) and choose CPM bids for each site.

Of course, we don't just set up the campaigns and then move on. The trick is to constantly monitor performance of the various sites and adjust bids, creative, and the site mix as necessary to maximize conversion. Sometimes we're surprised by what converts best -- one ad format over another, a certain category of sites or site, or one campaign more than the others. It's important to be flexible and keep an attentive eye on what is working and what is not.
Incidentally, there's some pretty good advice in that post. Consider their first point. I've been arguing for years that contextual advertising campaigns should be managed separately from search advertising campaigns. Interesting to see that strategy recommended on an official Google blog.

I guess Google is now a competitor to my search engine marketing firm. Am I worried? Not in the least. I'll explain why in a future post (subscribe to Apogee Weblog). For now, though, let me repeat the question: Is Google a search engine marketing firm?

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