Google’s move to a more traditional company has been interesting to watch. The began as the nimble new kid on the block that took the Internet by storm by doing what other search engines couldn’t. In its quest to organize the information on the Internet Google has gone through the process of going public, adding oodles of employees, growing at meteoric rates and finally has become public enemy #1 to many. One famous band from Google’s area of the world put it well singing “what a long, strange trip it’s been”.
One last indicator that Google is moving on in its maturation is its increased need to advertise its services. The Wall Street Journal reports
After years of touting the superiority of online advertising, Google Inc. is taking a decidedly different approach to promote itself in areas where its rivals dominate.
The Internet company is spending big sums on TV, magazine and newspaper ads to promote new services, including its Google+ social network and Chrome Web browser. Google’s ad-spending as a percentage of revenue is now almost on par with rival technology companies such as Apple Inc., Microsoft Corp. and Yahoo Inc., according to new data.
So what’s driving this new need to advertise? Change. How people use the Internet has changed. Competition has changed. Regulation and the threat thereof has increased. Google, who is in no uncertain terms the king of the search engine kingdom, is now trying to reposition itself as a company that is adapting to the change in the online space. It’s a good thing really because it looks like Google is genuinely being pushed in their business by the likes of Facebook, Twitter, Bing and more. As a result, there will be no time to rest on their search laurels. In fact, if they aren’t careful those laurels could even disappear.
What else is Google trying to accomplish through this more traditional route of advertising? They are trying to educate. Never mind the Silicon Valley glitterati and their cynical view of the space. They really don’t matter one bit to middle America and normal folks across the globe. In fact, they look like fools in many cases.
Thereality is, Google needs to escape the confines of being a tech company in the Valley and become a services company that helps everyone. From the small business owner to the enterprise all the way to the personal level, they need to position the company as the place with all types of low cost productivity options for those who are just living in an online world. Everyone, not just the tech crowd.
The irony of having to go the traditional advertising route is not lost in all of this for sure. Google has spent considerable time taking share away from traditional ad outlets but now is leveraging those channels for their own benefit. It’s not a matter of Google “eating crow” or anything like that. It’s just smart.
So to what degree are they spending? Check out this chart produced by Kantar Media for the Journal.
In the end, this kind of activity from Google is refreshing. It’s like they have come down from the mountain and realized what they were missing amongst the commoners. Is there a bit of a meal of humble pie being served here? I suppose. Instead of being cynical of the move I would rather just see it for what it is, good business.
Now the question becomes, how much do they need to do to make this shift from search giant to Internet services giant? That’s a story that only time will tell but if I were a betting man I would say that Google’s days of advertising to gain market share are just beginning.