We spend a lot of money on advertising and a lot of money in search. Just got off the line with our advertising guru, and in rough numbers, we burn over 6 times as much money with Google than we burn with Microsoft and Yahoo COMBINED. That’s an astronomical difference between Google and the rest. Furthermore, we have tried to spend more money with both Yahoo and Microsoft, and neither has enough relevant search results to allow us to increase our spend.
How does one get in this place? Google has the lead in two critical areas. 1. Still today, Google has the lead in superior search results. The end result is a substantial gap in the quantity of search page views. But more importantly for us advertisers is Google’s advertising engine. Google’s ad engine allows us to place our ads on the pages that matter most. 2. Equally important, Google’s ad engine does a superior job of ensuring our ads don’t show up on irrelevant pages. The reality is, Google has a 1-2 punch that Microsoft and Yahoo cannot match. Not even close. That explains our disproportionate ad spend with Google.
But we are not happy Google customers. Far from it. In the last two years, our cost per click has doubled with Google. Furthermore, our placement in Google ads are flat to down. This means that we are paying twice as much for the exact same thing. That’s right, our ad costs at Google are rising faster than the price of gas at the pump.
Here’s what makes me mad. I know why the price of oil keeps rising. The war in Iraq, China and India’s burgeoning economies, and lack of affordable energy alternatives. Although I don’t like it, I can accept it. No one has given me a logical reason why our prices are up at Google. Google’s most common response is that we have more competition, but it all seems more like hand waving. With all the babble of click farms and click fraud, I think it has more to do with that. But who knows?
Then on the organic side of the house, it is infuriating trying to figure why Google ranks us higher in one area, and not at all in another. Again, no answers just hand waving. Yes, we can hire a SEO specialist that will charge a ton of dough, to guess at Google’s search algorithms, but the reality is no one really knows. We are all just out here guessing from the outside in.
These are the reasons why we were quietly rooting for a Microsoft-Yahoo merger. Despite Google’s dominance, they still have a lot of room for improvement. The internet is by far the most astounding human development of my lifetime. It brings parity, equality, and openness to the entire world. A true game changer. Without a Microsoft-Yahoo merger, who knows who will force Google to improve their game? I believe it will eventually happen, we had just hoped that a Microsoft-Yahoo merger would be the accelerant.