What Do Google and the Red Hot Chili Peppers Have In Common?

Those of us who tuned into MTV in the early 90s probably remember the monochrome spangled video for the Red Hot Chili Pepper’s hit single ‘Give It Away‘, along with their tongue twister of a chorus “Give it Away, Give it Away, Give it Away, Give it Away Now” (you should try it).

According to Wikipedia, the words penned by lead Singer Anthony Kedis were centered around the philosophy of selflessness and altruistic behavior – inspired by a former girlfriend. Google’s motivation might not be as noble, but like the Chili’s, they sure like to give it away.

Google Analytics. When Google introduced their web tracking tool, Google Analytics (GA) back in November of 2005, it was ‘unfortunate’ for the big players in the web analytics industry, such as Webtrends and Omniture, as they probably found it difficult to compete with FREE. Not only was the price great, but GA was also geared towards marketers, taking web performance knowledge out of the hands of the privileged few – webmasters. Nowadays, it’s pretty difficult to find a site that doesn’t have GA code buried into the HTML. According to studies, nearly half of the top 100 million websites have GA installed*.

Not charging for GA and making it universally available, regardless of whether you were a Google Advertiser or not was a very prudent and profitable move. It helped address the biggest conundrum for advertisers, summed up by John Wanamaker when he said, “Half the money I spend on advertising is wasted; the trouble is I don’t know which half”. GA gave advertisers that knowledge that Pay Per Click advertising was not wasted dollars. As we know, search marketing has seen phenomenal growth over the years, often with marketing dollars being migrated from traditional advertising channels.

Introducing Google Automated Rules. This is a relatively new tool embedded within Google AdWords where advertisers can set up, in advance, changes to specific parts of their campaign based on events or criteria they choose. These can range in complexity from pausing ads on a specific day of the week, all the way through to sophisticated bid management rules dependant on onsite conversion or goal metrics imported from GA.

Bid Management software companies do an OK job at this, some better than others, but they charge a percentage of Google spend for the privilege (ranging for 1 to 2.5%) whereas Google gives it away. No doubt, they too, will find it difficult to compete with FREE.

Our early tests using Google Automated Rules have shown that it’s not perfect – of course it doesn’t work with Ad Centre (Yahoo and Bing) – but it is excellent.

The Bottom Line – Google Automated Rules goes a long way in bridging the gap between GA insight and AdWords action.

Ian Spencer, Search Manager
DAC Group

Sources

* “Google Analytics Market Share“. MetricMail. Retrieved 2010-08-21.

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