Analysing the Analytical: How Does Internet Giant Google Analyse their own Marketing?

google under mag glass

Google is a household name. The word google has even made its way into our everyday vernacular with “just google it” being the answer to almost everything and you will be sure to find some kind of answer there. So how does a multi-gazillion dollar company like Google evaluate its own marketing to become such a successful entity that it is today? Could it be a case of practice what you preach? And how effective is it?

Google advertising

Yes, you may not think so but Google do advertise. You might think that a company like Google does not need to advertise itself but it does. With competition like Microsoft and Yahoo hungry for consumer attention, Google need to stay on top of their game. In fact, Google is reputed to spend about $4 billion on advertising per year. Here is one of their online advertising campaigns featuring multiple products called “Dear Sophie”. Warning: If you are a parent like me, have a few tissues ready.

In India, Google apparently has 97% market share and yet here is a 3.32 minute long ad promoting Google’s “search” function.

And there are many more. But I won’t bore with more of Googles long winded ads which they claim to be much better for changing a consumer’s mind and for brand recall. So, why does Google need to advertise itself in a market where it dominates? Is it to stay on top? Is it to continue to dominate and stave off the competition from Bing or Yahoo?

Although Google tries to convince most of its clients to spend their advertising dollars on online advertising, Google themselves advertise on TV.

Source: Kantar Media

Source: Kantar Media

It is obviously a strategy of trying to gain new customers who are not online since they dominate the online world already so why advertise to people who already buy into your product, right?

So how does Google measure or evaluate its own marketing? Which marketing metrics do they use to assess their marketing performance? Ambler and Roberts (2008, p. 745) discuss the notion of not settling for a “silver metric” and that multiple metrics need to be considered in order to assess marketing performance. Hence, we can safely assume that a large and very successful company like Google would definitely consider every metric available considering they have access to very, very, and I mean huge amounts of big data. Google operates nearly everything through big data, even right down to how they hire their staff. The following video shows just how big Google is.

“If you can’t measure and quantify it, how can you hope to start working on a solution?” said Bill Maris, managing partner of Google Ventures. “We have access to the world’s largest data sets you can imagine, our cloud computer infrastructure is the biggest ever. It would be foolish to just go out and make gut investments.”

“If you can’t measure and quantify it, how can you hope to start working on a solution?”

Whatever metrics that Google uses, we can only speculate on, as their methods and algorithms are a tightly held secret. So let’s start by considering Google’s “google analytics” software…

What is google analytics?

First introduced in 2005, Google analytics is a free web analytics service that tracks and reports website traffic. It can be defined as a powerful tool for measuring the success of one’s website, their marketing efforts, and their products and services (Ledford JL, Teixeira J, Tyler ME, 2010, p. xxiv). It is a software program that generates metrics or measurements such as the number of people who come to your site, how they get there and what they are doing while they are there and much much more.

So if you’re really serious about analyzing your marketing like L’oreal or Nest, you get the ‘Gucci’ version of Google analytics called Google Analytics 360 Suite. The Google analytics 360 suite was released recently and is an upgraded version of their Google analytics premium with a nice price tag of approximately $150K per year subscription.

Can we assume that Google might use their own analytics software or perhaps a more sophisticated version of this software to track their marketing performance? Or perhaps some fancy complex algorithms only known to them to keep ahead of the competition?

Do Google consider consumer behavioural metrics?

Google analytics is one of the most popular metrics software that businesses use to track website traffic and clicks. And what’s more – it’s free! People underestimate the power of free because consumers love getting products for free and this stimulates consumers to try new products (Pauwels and Weiss, 2008, p. 14). When google analytics was first released in 2005, sign-ups had to be suspended because Google could not cater to the demand. Since then, Google has since released many other paid products such as Adwords and AdSense and home and office subscriptions of gmail and docs and many others. One of the biggest complaints from consumers is Google’s habit of withdrawing products or features of products even though they are still in use by consumers and sometimes those products are never replaced. Or forcing users of their products to use only Google-related products for which Google were fined.  This could potentially cause consumers to turn to a competitor to find a similar product to satisfy what they want. Could the defection rate or customer complaints be too negligible compared to the cost of maintaining those products and keeping them on the market? Or are these behavioural metrics not measured or considered? How is it possible for Google to be fined? Did they not consider this outcome?

search graph

Google experiments on memory metrics

Google tested 3 versions of the same ad 15 second, 30 second and 2.17 minute ad compared when viewed online and compared the metrics in consumer; tested how viewers responded by how much they watched, ad recall and brand favourability from the ads.

What they found is that making ads shorter does not necessarily get more attention, and making ads longer allows for the weaving of a greater story around the brand. Having a 30 second ad was found to be the best and Google suggested that “weaving a brand early in the storytelling” was better. This is a testament to Google’s commitment to its consumers assessing how a client’s brand needs to be weaved into an ad and looking at consumer’s attention span for an ad. Or is this a ploy to utilize Google products and stay with Google longer?

How can Google stay on top?

Google has a weakness in its physical availability metrics. Let’s face it, Google is an online company, it is all about technology and it was recently identified in a SWOT analysis that its business is too dependent of the internet and it has minimal physical presence. This may be why recently the Google company was splintered to form Alphabet Inc as a parent company which now overseas a number of other operations such as robotics and life sciences to expand their business model. It will be interesting how they consider marketing this in the future.

Published by Patricia Vietheer (Student Number: 215464584)

References:

Ambler T, Roberts, JH, 2008, Assessing marketing performance: don’t settle for a silver metric, Journal of marketing management, Vol 24, No 7-8, pp 733-750.

Ledford JL, Teixeira J, Tyler ME, 2016, Google Analytics 3rd Edition. Hoboken, US: Wiley, 2010. ProQuest ebrary. Web. Accessed: 21 May 2016.

Mintz O, Currim IS, 2013, What drives managerial use of marketing and financial metrics and does metric use affect performance of marketing-mix activities?, Journal of Marketing, Vol 77, pp 17-40.

Pauwels K, Weiss A, 2008, Moving from free to fee: How online firms market  to change their business model successfully, Journal of marketing, Vol 72, p. 14-31.

 

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