The internet has been worked up over the recent changes at Google. The big change right now is their Google Product search, an essential tool for finding products on the internet is going from a free model to that of paid. This wreaks of a suggestion put forward by a strategy consultant (McKinsey? Bain?) to maximize revenue in the short run while severally damaging a franchise that many small businesses currently rely on.
Don’t get me wrong, small and large businesses alike will continue to use Google advertising products. They are still effective and can drive traffi but don’t expect a huge bump in revenue from this change. Except for larger companies that have big ad budgets, most small businesses will just readjust their Google budget to reflect the new platform.
While I think this is a poor decision by Google, lets look at who benefits from Google’s decision to make such a big change like this. Some of them are obvious, but others may not be.
Everyone expects Amazon to benefit from this just because they are so big and can afford to pay for additional ad revenue, especially when it gives it a competitive advantage compared to small businesses. That can be said of most large companies with dedicated internet marketing staff with large budgets. But that is not the only reason Amazon will benefit from this change.
Most people don’t realize you can advertise individual products right on the Amazon.com platform through both individual products and display advertising. Given that people go to Amazon.com to do shopping, I see many of my clients experimenting with Amazon Ads.
Free Shopping Comparison Engines
Companies like Microsoft (Bing shopping), TheFind.com and goshopping.com have to be positively giddy about the opportunity to attract new customers. If they make it simple to upload data files (taking the google feed for example) they can control this market and increase traffic fantastically.
Paid Shopping Comparison Sites
The one reason Google Product Search was such a success was because it was free. This was their biggest advantage against companies like Shopping.com, Shopzilla, Nextag, Pricegrabber and others. It is in merchants best interest to now compare the cost per click and performance of all these platforms compared to Google. They may not be as good but now is the time for them to really sell their services. Because the ecommerce platforms I use automatically output feeds, trying these out will not be difficult.
This is the no brainer, assuming it can be done properly. Facebook Fan Pages can be good drivers of business and sellers of women’s goods are figuring out Pinterest is a must try platform with great conversion. If a customers has to pay for advertising now anyway, its easy to justify the third party platforms to run marketing campaigns on Facebook, Twitter and others.
While internet marketers have been freaking out about this change, in reality this is a perfect opportunity for legitimate affiliate marketing people who provide value to their readers to succeed. Whether it is product reviews, store reviews or giveaways, people will still go to the internet for both shopping as well as information. The marginal internet marketers will have a harder time but this is a great opportunity for the affiliate marketing.
Whenever you move from a free to a paid model, you will always risk losing the base that built your business. Google was able to build its Product search because compared to Shopping.com and others it was free. Customers, instead of increasing their budget will just adjust their budget to reflect having to pay for product search. This means Google only sees a marginal increase in revenue while opening themselves up for cannibalization from other channels.
As always, the internet moves at the speed of light and you need to quickly adjust. Instead of wringing your hands in fear, take this as an opportunity to try new platforms and adjust. Not sure where to start? Give us a call or email us and we can help you out. Contact us.