As the world's leading search engine, it may not have problems getting consumers to turn to google.com when they need to find something online, but in an effort to promote its non-search offerings to the masses, Google has been increasingly turning to advertising mediums it once shunned, such as television, magazines and newspapers.
The tab in 2011: over $200m.
According to the Wall Street Journal, the search giant's spend on advertising last year jumped to $213m from a measly $56m in 2010. That still might not seem like a lot compared to advertising powerhouses which spend billions touting their wares, but the rapid increase has industry observers taking note.
For Google's part, there's nothing out of the ordinary about its ad spend. "Our focus is on uncovering and telling stories about our products, our users and the magic they both create. The discussion about how to reach people across different media is a much later conversation," a spokesman told the Wall Street Journal.
But the company's newfound love for television and print advertising does represent a change in the company's strategy. Former employees tell the Wall Street Journal that Google once made it a point not to use traditional advertising mediums. Which sort of made sense given that the company's cash cow, AdWords, has arguably played the biggest role in shifting ad budgets from these traditional advertising mediums online.
When it comes to drumming up interest in new services, however, Google is learning that there isn't a one-ad-model-fits-all solution. If you look where Google is spending its ad cash, $70m of the $213m it spent last year went to television, and when it comes to specific products, it shelled out some $12m to promote Google+. Worth noting: Google spent more last year trying to push Google+ than it spent on television ads in all of 2011 ($6m).
The good news for Google is that as it spends more on advertising, it seems to be getting a lot better at creating good ads. At the end of the day, however, Google's advertising goals are clear and the success of its products will be the ultimate measure by which the success of its ad campaigns are judged.