Everything I Know about Marketing I learned from Google

McGraw-Hill: Got Googley?

September 30, 2010 by Aaron Goldman

This week I visited the offices of McGraw-Hill Professional in Manhattan.

It was my first time meeting Gaya (right) and Julia (left) from the MHP marketing and PR team. (Although after a rigorous blog tour and lots of other promotional activity, I felt like I’d known them forever.)

When I first walked into the lobby and saw all the books proudly displayed, my first thought was how great it was to be in such good company. My second thought was, “Hey, where the hell is MY book?!?”

As it turns out, Gaya told me, my book has been a hot commodity so the fact that it wasn’t in the lobby meant it had been swiped by an employee or guest. That was a good sign, I was reassured.

Gaya, Julia, and I chatted for over an hour about our marketing and PR efforts to date and what else we could do to keep the momentum going. Here were some of the ideas we hatched:

  • Send out emails to targeted companies offering a 1 hour customized on-site presentation with an order of 50+ books
  • Webinars on topics like digital marketing trends and translating SEO skills to the broader marketing mix
  • Buy a book, send in the receipt at SASE and get a custom signed sticker to place on it
  • Team up with other authors on a holiday package book bundle

So far, I’ve been very impressed by the creativity and dedication of the MHP team. What do you think of the promotion we’ve done for the book? What else would you do if you were in our shoes? Help me demonstrate the lesson of chapter 2 and tap the wisdom of the crowds here!


Googley Tip of the Week

September 29, 2010 by Aaron Goldman

Starting this week, I’ll be sharing a “Googley Tip of the Week” via EOtv (that’s the video network of Entrepreneur’s Organization.) This week’s tip is from Chapter 3: Keep it Simple, Stupid. The gang at EOtv did a bang up job with the graphics here. Tune in for each of the next 3 weeks for more of the goog, er… good stuff!


Is Google Taking Too Much Credit?

September 28, 2010 by Aaron Goldman

That’s the question I’ll be addressing on my panel at OMMA Global in New York today.

Here’s the prep sheet I sent to my panelists. Will update this post tomorrow with session highlights.

OMMA Global NY
9/28 at 11:30am

Is Google Taking Too Much Credit?

Google recently announced that its search and advertising tools generated $54 billion of economic activity in the U.S. in 2009. But, as we all know, there are a number of different factors that contribute to sales conversions both on and offline. In this session, we’ll examine the role of search in the media mix and discuss best practices for evaluating performance across all channels. We’ll also look at some of the more evolved attribution models being deployed by search marketing advertisers, agencies and technologies.

Aaron Goldman, Chief Marketing Officer, Kenshoo

Eli Goodman, Search Evangelist, comScore, Inc.
Greg A. Green, Director, Global Agency Strategy, Google
Justin Merickel, VP, Marketing and Product Development, Efficient Frontier
Peter Platt, Chief Digital Officer, Catalyst
Adam Kasper, SVP, Managing Director, Digital, Media Contacts


Is Google taking too much credit?

  1. See this post and video: http://googleblog.blogspot.com/2010/05/googles-us-economic-impact.html
  2. Download this report: http://www.google.com/economicimpact/
  3. Please be prepared to weigh in with your thoughts on the methodology and findings.


  1. Since SEM is so dependent on consumer demand/interest, it can be difficult to budget for it. What are some best practices?
  2. Should search be the first line item budgeted for or the last? Somewhere in between?
  3. What about SEO? How does one approach this unpaid media opportunity?


  1. How can one measure “assists” solely within the search channel? (ie, upper funnel keywords)
  2. How can one measure impact of other online ads on search?
  3. How can one measure impact of offline ads on search?
  4. What tools are available to help with attribution?


  1. How does the conversation about attribution change when an advertiser has strict branding goals? (ie, no direct conversion/sales metric)


  1. What will the digital marketing landscape look like in 5 years?
  2. What will Google’s role be?
  3. How will budgeting and attribution strategies evolve?
  4. How can marketers best prepare today?


Lots of great conversation and insights.

Key points:

Greg – studies show the overall value of the Internet between $300 billion and $1 trillion so $54b is a drop in the bucket. (Sounds awfully like the Google monopoly defense.) Attribution is not a zero sum game. The pot for all of digital is getting bigger.

Eli – when thinking about attribution, don’t forget about offline. Oh yeah, and comScore has tools to help you do that.

Justin – with Facebook ads now being integrated into SEM platforms such as Efficient Frontier and Kenshoo (disclosure: my employer), it’s critical to measure the interplay between channels.

Adam – you have to get the right people in the room from the client, agency, and technology partner side to have a real discussion about attribution. That includes marketing, IT, etc.

Peter – it’s critical to track lifetime value and segment customers by value when evaluating credit for each channel. Not all customers are created equal.

I did a bit of Geraldo and worked the crowd throughout to integrate audience Q&A. And I gave a signed copy of the book to the first person that asked a question. (Wisely, someone immediately shot up their hand and asked, “Can I get the book?”)

Here’s one of the brief moments I was actually up at the podium. You can’t tell but I’m wearing a green Google Me tee and matching Pumas.

At the end of the session I asked each of the panelists and then the audience which company they thought would be driving the lion’s share of economic impact via the web in 2015. The rough audience response was as follows:

80% Google
10% Other
5% Apple
2% Facebook (aided by presence of Kelly Graziadei from FB)
2% Microsoft

Update 2: Here’s a better pic courtesy of my colleague, Paula, at Kenshoo. Good view of the green ensemble.

Update 3: I just got another one of those phishing emails and was reminded of a great exchange during this session with Greg from Google.

As a follow up to his analysis of the economic impact study, I asked Greg if Google counted the millions in impact from the Prince of Nigeria floating funds through my account in the US.

Greg: How’d that investment work out for you?

Me: Can Google help me get my money back?

Greg: Sure. Send me your social security number.

Me: Don’t you already have it???


Ain’t No Party Like a Book Launch Party

September 23, 2010 by Aaron Goldman

Tonight was the official book launch party hosted by the Chicago Interactive Social Club (CISC) at Blue Frog 22…

Over 550 people RSVP’d so Andrew Landan, who runs CISC and is pictured above with the red headphones, told everyone to arrive early. They did. The line started queueing 30 minutes before the doors opened.

Inside, to paraphrase my MLK-day entry for the 3six5project, “the scene was serene if you know what I mean.” The crew from Borders was all set up and ready for the big book blowout.

The Google Me tees were in full effect courtesy of KosherHam.com. Kiley and Steph were kind enough to model them.

Scott and Karen weren’t sporting the tees but they sure brought their A grins.

V-Red and Paul were most definitely in the house.

Everyone was getting Googley tonight. Thanks to all who came out… especially those up past their bedtime!


Taking the Show on the Road

September 17, 2010 by Aaron Goldman

I’ve got a number of speaking appearances lined up over the coming months. Good mixture of panels, presentations, and socials. I’ll be doing everything from sharing Google Lessons to leading exercises to, of course, rapping.

Along the way I’ll be giving away plenty of signed copies of the book. Yesterday, I gave away 4 at the Online Marketing Institute and CIMA events in Chicago.

Here’s me with one of last night’s lucky winners (who also happens to be an old friend), Erik Engman.

From book


Google Your Way to Space

September 16, 2010 by Aaron Goldman

Yesterday, Boeing announced a deal with Space Adventures to “offer commercial spaceflight opportunities.”

In the press release, Boeing says that “potential customers for excess seating capacity include private individuals, companies, non-governmental organizations, and U.S. federal agencies other than NASA.”

Laurie Sullivan explored the potential for commercial space exploration in her MediaPost Search Marketing Daily column: The Search For Spock: How SEO Might Help Boeing Market Commercial Space Flights.

Laurie explores how SEO might play a role in helping Boeing find potential customers. She cites SEO Training Dojo David Harry about how keyword research could be used.

“Ask them to search on Google for information about low orbit space travel at the consumer level,” Harry says. “Get then to try and book a flight searching from Google to see what they can actually do.”

Harry is taking a page (literally) from Chapter 14: You Can Learn a Lot from a Query by noting that search can be a great source of intelligence. Another application would be looking up the demographic profiles of people searching for “commercial space flights” and related queries using tools such as comScore and using that data to inform audience definition.

In preparing her piece, Laurie asked me what I thought the first step would be in creating an online marketing plan.

This was my response…

First step I’d say is defining the target audience.

This is way too broad: “private individuals, companies, non-governmental organizations, and U.S. federal agencies other than NASA.”

Depending on the price tag here, it’s likely the potential customer base is very small.

It will take some non-traditional marketing to reach this audience.

How do you reach Mark Cuban and Ashton Kutcher? Well, they’re on Twitter a lot.


Getting Googley with Kenshoo

September 14, 2010 by Aaron Goldman

Taking a page from Chapter 19 and making my company (and personal brand) a great story, I did a little Lebron James spoof to generate interest in my “decision” to put Connectual on hold and join the “all-star team” at Kenshoo as CMO.

I started by declaring my free agency last week and followed up with a video announcement riffing on the interview Lebron did with Jim Gray on ESPN.

More scoop on my move to Kenshoo can be found in the official press release or coverage by MediaPostDM News, and Internet Retailer. (UPDATE 9/24: I just posted more detailed rationale for why I joined Kenshoo on the Connectual blog.)

I’ve also updated the author page with my new bio and acknowledgements with full disclosure.


AOL Gets Googlier

September 3, 2010 by Aaron Goldman

MediaPost Online Media Daily

Here’s the POV I shared with Laurie Sullivan at MediaPost for her coverage of the AOL-Google news – AOL’s Mobile And Video Push Powers Google Search Deal.

I’m not surprised that AOL renewed its deal with Google. With Tim Armstrong and Jeff Levick both being ex-Googlers, there’s no doubt they had the insider knowledge required to get the best possible terms, not to mention figure out the best possible way for the 2 companies to collaborate.

It’s interesting to see that the deal covers more than just Google distributing search ads to AOL. It has AOL providing content to Google. In my book, I talk about how AOL has rebranded as a new economy content company. They’ve done a good job positioning themselves to capitalize on the type of content that’s easier to monetize — not news, weather, and sports but travel, entertainment, and health. I see AOL succeeding with content where newspapers are failing. And it’s ironic because Google succeeded in online advertising where AOL failed.


Can you spell SEM CPA?

September 2, 2010 by Aaron Goldman

MediaPost Online Media Daily

Shared a few sound-bytes with Laurie Sullivan at MediaPost for her article, “Search Engine CPA Patent Goes Up For Sale.”

Here’s the POV I provided…

Well, I’m no intellectual property expert but I wonder if this concept is even patentable [Clarification: meant to say, "I wonder if this patent is even enforceable."] It’s not like Bill Gross was able to patent CPC on search engines.

That said, the closest thing we’ve seen to CPA search results to date was Microsoft’s failed experiment with Cashback. The idea was advertisers would essentially pay a CPA for actual conversions and a portion of that fee would be passed along as incentive to the searcher. Microsoft never got the advertiser adoption it needed to scale Cashback and, without a lot of offers, it wasn’t able to provide a great user experience.

One of the biggest challenges in a pure CPA search model would be getting advertisers comfortable with implementing new tracking code on their websites to allow the search engine(s) to track actions. Fortune 500 companies and leading internet retailers are already leery of letting the fox into the henhouse.


Google’s Getting Mobiley: Q&A with Mobile Marketer

by Aaron Goldman

I did a little Q&A with Dan Butcher from Mobile Marketer for his piece on “Can Google Make Money from Mobile?”

Here’s the full transcript…

What is your take on Google’s mobile strategy, and how it fits into its overall plans for generating revenue?

Mobile is a huge opportunity for Google. Eric Schmidt has said over and over that the mobile advertising market will be bigger than the “fixed” web. That’s why Android is getting so much attention. And that’s why Google threw down $750 million for AdMob.

In my book, chapter 5 talks about being where your audience is. Google’s audience is anyone using the Internet. Every day, more and more people are accessing the Web from their mobile devices. Therefore, Google needs to be there.

Android allows Google to control the user-experience and make sure search is front and center so it can make money off search ads. And AdMob allows Google to cash in on ads via mobile sites and apps.

Given that Android is open source, how does having a mobile operating system benefit the company’s bottom line?

The bottom line revenue impact for Android is primarily through search ads. By having direct access to mobile users, Google can make sure search is always baked into the experience. And if Apple were to lock out AdMob or change the search default to Bing on the iPhone OS, Google wouldn’t be totally screwed.

At some point, every business will have a mobile app, the way every business today has a website. If Google can get the millions of mom and pop advertisers that buy search ads on the fixed web to buy ads on the mobile web, the long tail revenue will be huge. The first step towards that is helping these businesses create mobile assets. Open-source is key and Google App Inventor is a great example of how to convert the mom and pops.

Will Google be as successful monetizing mobile search as it has been monetizing search via PCs?

Yes. The key to PC-search for Google is having a large enough pool of advertisers that it can show a relevant ad (or 10) for every possible query. That makes it a good user-experience. If the ads aren’t relevant, people won’t click.

Beyond just mobile web search though, there are opportunities for Google to put relevant ads in SMS, Voice, and Image search. These formats really take advantage of the unique features of mobile.

What companies do you see as Google’s main competitors in the mobile space, and what are Google’s prospects for success going forward?

Apple is the one I’d be most concerned about if I were Google. Sure Microsoft is a player and the Bing mobile search app is nice. But, just like with the fixed web, Bing’s still playing catch-up and copycat.

Apple on the other hand is taking a totally different approach. Now I’m not in love with iAd but I do think that format has legs for brand advertisers. What I am in love with is Siri, the “virtual personal assistant” that Apple bought back in April.

In chapter 21 of my book I talk about the potential for app-ssistants like Siri to supplant search. Rather than do a bunch of search queries to plan a trip or a date night, you can just send one instruction to your app-ssistant and get back a personalized itinerary based on your preferences.

If I’m Google, the idea that someone might skip me completely in the process of performing this kind of commercial transaction would definitely be keeping me up at night. That said, I have no doubt Google will find a play in the world of app-ssistants and I explore a few different paths it may take in my book.

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