Is Google getting Greedy?

Google is becoming more and more creative in improving their advertising revenues, as we can conclude after reading the latest news about branded and copyrighted keywords from the company. Google plans on broadening its range of biddable keywords, including copyrighted and brand names. Publishers can only bid for copyrighted keywords when these keywords are not used in the ad itself, but brand owners are not happy with Google’s approach.

UK publishers have already announced to sue Google when the decision will be implemented and complaints also arise from the side of Amercian companies. Active online brands such as Marriott International Inc., InterContinental Hotels Group PLC, AMR Corp., American Airlines and Northwest Airlines Corp say consumers can only get confused when the companies slogans and brand names are used as keywords by third parties and that it will only increase their own marketing costs.

We can’t object to that argument. A recent and unique study showed high correlation between top organic listings and top ranked sponsored ads. More particularly, the study observed the effects for brand name ‘Honda’ and the keyword ‘fuel efficiency’. The results are stunning:

  • A significant lift in brand affinity : Online consumers who saw Honda in the top ad placement and the top organic search result were 16 percent more likely to think of Honda as a fuel efficient car than when the automaker’s brand didn’t appear on the page at all.
  • A significant lift in brand recall : Online consumers were 42 percent more likely to recall Honda if the company appeared in both the top ad placement and the top organic search result, rather than just the top organic listing.
  • A significant lift in purchase intent : When Honda was featured in both the top ad and top organic listings, purchase intent for Honda increased. However, other automaker brands absent from the page suffered a significant decrease in purchase intent.

Considering these results the importance for top brands to participate in Google advertisements remains the same, despite all objections they have against Google’s policy. On the other hand, Google is balancing on a thin rope between consumer interest and  lawsuits, collecting a lot of anger from top brands. Certainly a discussion to follow up!