search and destroy
Posted by Abe Sauer on September 8, 2010 03:00 PM
The BP oil disaster may have done serious damage to the profitability of both BP and the Gulf Coast. But one brand profited handsomely from the ordeal: Google.
From Ad Age: "In two months, BP went from spending very little on search advertising — about $57,000 a month — to becoming one of Google's top advertisers, dropping nearly $3.6 million in the month of June alone… This is a significant outlay, even for BP, which spent $94 million on advertising in 2009, and $78.7 million in the first six months of 2010."
BP's Google AdWords spree launched the brand into the ranks of online advertisers that rely on search for a living, including Expedia, Amazon, eBay and Hotels.com. Ad Age combed this information from an internal Google document. So who were the other big Google ad-spending brands?
The publication admits that "the search-spending document obtained by Advertising Age is not a complete list of advertisers on Google." The documents show that other large brands without a new product launch or a PR crisis (e.g., Walt Disney, Kodak, GM and BMW) spent about $500,000 on search in the same period. During the same period, while BP was spending $3.6 million on it, Exxon Mobil laid out just $43,000 on search.
This data show an incredible reliance on Google search spending when it comes to product launches (AT&T), rebrands (ADT Security), Internet sales and services (Expedia) and brand crisis management.
As for BP, Ad Age comments, "In the wake of the spill, Google was a natural first stop for people seeking information, and BP bought up dozens of keywords associated with the disaster such as 'oil spill,' 'leak,' 'top kill' and 'live feed' as it vied for clicks with news stories, images of oiled wildlife and plaintiff attorneys trolling for clients."
It raises other questions, however. Does major search spending have a greater use in long-term sustained brand building? Or is all that money being sopped up by social media?