If I were to only use one word to describe Google’s decisions, it would have to be “controversial”. As the industry’s biggest player, it simply comes with the territory and results will, in the end, speak for themselves.
Unfortunately for Google, comScore’s numbers don’t exactly paint an all that optimistic picture this week, with their February click growth being down 3% compared to January and up (only) 3% compared to February 2007. We have to admit this much: webmasters complain about Google all of the time, but having numbers reflect that as well is not exactly something you see every day.
Sure, that doesn’t mean that we should start reading more into these numbers as necessary but, on the other hand, they do make us think: will Google reap rewards or face consequences as a result of the controversial decisions I’ve previously mentioned?
With decisions such as reducing the clickable area of their ads, it’s really hard to say. Of course, we could see this decision as something which works in the favor of advertisers but is that really the case? If we look beneath the surface, it’s easy to understand why things may not necessarily stand that way.
The following question arises: can advertisers be happy when publishers aren’t? And the fact that they have seen a significant decrease as far as earnings are concerned should make it clear that, at this point, publishers are anything but happy.
Naturally, publishers may just be more tempted than ever to explore other possibilities and under such circumstances it’s only a matter of time until advertisers will be affected as well. There is a fine line between a decision which can, as planned, have positive long-term results and one which can have devastating ones.
How will things stand with Google? Time will tell but, like that was even necessary, numbers make it clear that not even the biggest player can be perfect. At this point, given the fact that, unfortunately for the industry, competitors are not exactly doing a great job of making Google fight for its market share (which, by the way, has increased in February compared to the previous month), collapsing under its own weight currently represents the most important threat.
That being stated, these numbers, while not necessarily alarming, should at least be seen as a reality check which should make the folks over at Google think about the way things currently stand. Depending on their attitude, they can either reap rewards or face consequences but again: for any company, living in denial is simply not an option and Google is most definitely not an exception.