by Danny Meadows-Klue
It’s hard to think about online publishing without thinking about search. And it’s hard to think about search without thinking about Google. The world’s largest online brand has indexed more than one trillion web addresses, and now presents a suite of tools publishers can incorporate. For publishers new to digital channels, here are a few ways to get started.
Websites need powerful search tools and Google’s toolkits for publishers provide an effective way for instantly making content discoverable. Part of the origins of the Google business were in creating search tools for website publishers, and although the Google advertising business may have overtaken everything else by miles, those origins have led to a range of tools that are the simplest plug and play techniques of getting content found.
Monetisation through search and Adsense is the core for Google’s relationship with online media properties. The Adsense tool can be bolted into any site and instantly brings a modest revenue stream from pay-per-click advertising.
Boosting revenues through more readers
If Adsense is running on a website then part of the site’s revenue will be a simple function of how many people visit so the business model will need to switch to generating more traffic. In terms of attracting readers Google talks about how they can help the consumer find the website through both display in the natural listings and the pay-per-click links publishers can buy from their main search sites.
More tools and more support
These tools, combined with the suite of Google Analytics, Google Adwords and their video platforms, together offer a powerful mix of tools for any website publisher.
What are the advertising options?
Google offers three layers of choice for advertisers in terms of whether their listings are placed:
- Google’s own sites
- Adsense for search sites: the sponsored links that are syndicated to AOL and other search partners
- Adsense for content sites: the contextual links that are added into a much larger group of longer tail sites
The last of these was the breakthrough that gave Google leverage in the long tail and their tools have proved to be exceptional. The linguistic semantic tools crawl the content of websites and index the page. This is used to match the language of potential ads with the language of the content on the site, driven by key phrases within the website.
Google have said that well over half the revenue on pay-per-click from these syndicated Adsense goes back to the publishing partner, which in turn creates a compelling proposition for the publishers.
What’s the next step?
The development of image and video ad formats in the Google portfolio was a major, and relatively recent, step forward. Digital’s team see the broadening of Google’s ad formats being a clear indicator of how the business will develop as the fusion with their ad server technology and analytics paves the way for simple media planning and scheduling tools that relate advertising content back to relevant editorial content. Although many have been sceptical about the effectiveness of this, our belief has always been that the critical mass of people using Google ensures that the relevancy algorithms become smarter over time, so even if the results are a little flaky on day 1, the system learns from itself and corrects.
The fact that firms like Monster, Virgin Radio (now called Absolute Radio), Last FM and the Financial Times quickly leapt on board suggests that there’s a strong minority in alignment with our team’s views, and significant commercial revenues already trading hands.
What’s the revenue formula?
Google’s simple model for publishers is this:
Ad revenue = Ad Rev CPC + Ad Rev CPM + Other revenues
…and with advertising revenue products at each step, they provide a clear way even small publishers can gain some additional income.
What influences the revenues in their model?
Impressions, the cost of each click, the cost of each banner in the CPM, the click through rates and wider online ad formats. Not surprisingly Google continue to innovate their formats and the latest is the Google Link units. Based on the content of the page Google has devised a small box format for running a range of links to advertiser listings pages within the media owner.
As for ways to drive more impressions. Their team readily point to a number of related tools:
- More sites
- More coverage
- Better user experience
- Search indexes
- Webmaster Tools
- Google news
- Adwords traffic
- Ggoogle Analytics
- Google Search
These ideas give a clear starting point in how to think about bringing Google into website publishing and for more ideas and insights about the revenue strategies and implications for publishers see the Digital Publishing Strategy Academy management training programme.