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Why Does Google Advertise on TV?

Johnny Molson


Google knows what you should. They can’t make it without mass media.

The roll out of Google’s Pixel 2 smartphone in October 2017 was greeted with substantial TV, billboard, and magazine advertising.

Does that strike you odd?

Does it seem strange that the company that virtually owns every single move you make on the internet spent good money advertising using avenues we are constantly told are dead?

Theoretically, Google could take over almost every ad you see online (including all of YouTube) for “free.” If you are one of the 81% of the people on this planet using the Android operating system in your smartphone, Google is literally in your pocket right now.

So… what’s with the TV ads?

Google knows what you should. They can’t make it without mass media. The common assumption is that “everyone is online,” therefore “they aren’t anywhere else.” That, of course, is flat out stupid.

Facebook and Google, the duopoly that eats up 9 out of every $10 in online advertising, are masterful at “targeted” advertising. Targeted advertising can be very useful, particularly once you have determined exactly who your customers are, and you want to go back to their neighborhood. But, targeted advertising is particularly weak at getting you new customers.

Geico, the insurance outfit run by Warren Buffett (a guy who rarely makes stupid investments), purchased an obscene amount of radio ads. HomeAdvisor, Hotwire, Hulu, Netflix, Angie’s List, Zillow, and Wayfair also dominate on radio and tv.

How did this happen? Hotels.com, Amazon, and Priceline are all over mass media. These are companies that exist only on the internet for people who are on the internet. These are the titans of the internet, and they understand it better than you do. Couldn’t they just go and do their internety thing?

Does that strike you odd?

It shouldn’t.

WordStream, the online marketing company that serves over 1,000,000 customers, recently found that “brand affinity” plays a major factor in your web traffic. In non-marketing lingo that means if the customer knows you before they need you, you tend to get the click more often. If you’re a stranger when they need you… you lose.

SEMRush, another heavy hitter in online marketing, released a 55-page document showing that the biggest factor in getting to the number one slot on Google appears to be direct site access. To put it simply: If I go straight to your site (BYPASSING Google), the gang at Google sees you as the real-deal. If you are so awesome, I don’t have to search for you because I already know you… you’re a winner in Google’s eyes.

Does that strike you odd?

This doesn’t mean internet advertising is wrong, flawed, or useless. Quite the contrary. It’s a perfectly viable way to advertise. But, if someone is telling you to throw 100% of your advertising dollars on the internet, tell them you will… just as soon as Jeff Bezos, Warren Buffett, and Larry Page do the same.

Johnny Molson


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