For quite a while Google has demonstrated it wants to disintermediate ad agencies. As Google sold more and more AdWords, and developed the AdWords management console, it became increasingly obvious Google was positioning itself to replace TheAgency as ad buyer and campaign manager. The API was handicapped, and the multi-account management is obviously unsupportive of those who truly manage accounts on behalf of others. The AdWords Professional program and Logo system is also not at all supportive of ad agencies, or modern-day Internet “ad agencies” which are really more like marketing firms. Many Google actions over the past few years seemed to protect Google’s ability to disintermediate Agencies in the future, so some of us expected it to happen eventually.
Now the strongest evidence I have seen shows up in a blunder by one “. BoingBoing reports in an article entitled “Google to HMOs: pay us and we’ll defuse ‘Sicko’“. These web sites highlight Google apparently doing Evil by offering to counter bad press from Michael Moore’s movie using Google’s influence in search and the content network. That’s certainly a good story, and I can see how one might want to play up the fact that Google is admitting it can “use” the web sites in its content network to sway the public perception…which is really telling all those web masters running Google ads that they are Google pawns, that Google is not neutral morally or politically, and that Google seeks out opportunities to exploit that (for profit). Anyway…. I already knew that about Google. So here’s an excerpt:
The New York Times calls Sicko a “cinematic indictment of the American health care system.” The film is generating significant buzz and is sure to spur a lively conversation about health coverage, care, and quality in America. While legislators, litigators, and patient groups are growing excited, others among us are growing anxious. And why wouldn’t they? Moore attacks health insurers, health providers, and pharmaceutical companies by connecting them to isolated and emotional stories of the system at its worst. Moore’s film portrays the industry as money and marketing driven, and fails to show healthcare’s interest in patient well-being and care.
Sound familiar? Of course. The healthcare industry is no stranger to negative press. A drug may be a blockbuster one day and tolled as a public health concern the next. News reporters may focus on Pharma’s annual sales and its executives’ salaries while failing to share R&D costs. Or, as is often common, the media may use an isolated, heartbreaking, or sensationalist story to paint a picture of healthcare as a whole. With all the coverage, it’s a shame no one focuses on the industry’s numerous prescription programs, charity services, and philanthropy efforts.
Many of our clients face these issues; companies come to us hoping we can help them better manage their reputations through “Get the Facts” or issue management campaigns. Your brand or corporate site may already have these informational assets, but can users easily find them?
We can place text ads, video ads, and rich media ads in paid search results or in relevant websites within our ever-expanding content network. Whatever the problem, Google can act as a platform for educating the public and promoting your message. We help you connect your company’s assets while helping users find the information they seek.
If you’re interested in learning more about issue management campaigns or about how we can help your company better connect its assets online, email us. We’d love to hear from you! Setting up these campaigns is easy and we’re happy to share best practices.
I think this is the strongest evidence we have of Google playing Agency. Google speaking directly to the health business audience, saying they will help sway public perception using Google’s resources. It’s a pitch. From an Agency: Google.
So if there was any shred of doubt remaining that Google was after the Agency business, let it rest now. If there was any wonder why Google bought DoubleClick, let that rest too. DoubleClick is the hook into Agency world.
So what’s an Agency to do? Heh heh.. thats pretty obvious. Organic Search Optimization (SEO). That’s right, SEO is the competitor to Google. SEO takes money away from Google. One might say, as Google increasingly exploits its market power to influence the searching and web surfing audience, Agencies need to be executing on organic SEO. Not only does it disintermediate Google, but it places Google into a precarious position - dares Google to manipulate the organic results set.
The future can never be with paid search, because (as I have said all along), Google watches both sides of those trades and can easily remove the profits. Didn’t believe it? Well now you see Google acting as an agency, so why should there be anything between Google and the client?
If you haven’t built a strong SEO team yet tick tock time’s a wastin’. Of course you’re not likely to harness the good SEOs with an in-house job, but you can hire them as trainers and consultants. If you treat them nicely, they may just help you out. They key for the agency will be finding a way to harness high-powered SEO talent while retaining a billable opportunity. Not so easy to do. But hey, have you seen what some agencies charge for web development these days? Something has to justify those phenominal costs… maybe SEO will finally become just another aspect of good web development? Oh, right. Unlike visual design, SEO is measurable. Yuck.