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How all the different Google search properties fit together

Posted by Owen Powis on 19 Oct, 2016
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Google has a confusing array of platforms and products which surround their search engine. Knowing how they fit together may well reveal some brand new opportunities for your Search Engine Marketing.

The Google / Alphabet split has made things simpler. But there are still a ton of Google products out there, so in this article we’re going to go through specifically the platforms which support the search engine side of the business. To do this it’s simplest to break everything down into three categories:

Advertising : Where you can create, publish or manage a paid ad
Management : Your presence on the web and interaction with Google products
Insight : Analytics which may use biddable or non-biddable data

Let’s start from the top and go through the ‘Advertising’ section.

Advertising

Adsense

If you have a website and you want to put ads on it, Adsense is how you go about it. This is a publisher platform, rather than an advertiser platform and it accounts for around 23% of Google’s revenue.

Adwords

We all know PPC is at heart of AdWords, but it’s much more than that. It enables you to run multiple formats across many different platforms, such as:

  • Search
  • Maps
  • Shopping
  • Gmail
  • YouTube

Adwords is where Google makes most of their money, this makes sense as it’s also where they have centralized bid management across the different platforms. In total Google makes about 90% of revenue from advertising with a massive 77% of all revenue coming from Adwords.

DoubleClick

DoubleClick started off as an ad serving provider, completely separate to Google. They developed ad serving technology and used this to allow people to bid for and place advertising across a range of websites.

If this sounds a lot like Adsense, it’s because it is. Google acquired DoubleClick in 2008 and now there is a clear(ish) delineation between the products with Adsense aimed at smaller companies, and DoubleClick offering higher end services with much greater control over campaigns offered through their Ad exchange network.

Management

Google Merchant Center

Set up and manage your product feed for Google Shopping results. This is where you can directly link your shop's inventory with Google ads, dynamically connecting your products to your Adwords account.

Google Shopping has been known by many names (remember ‘Froogle’?) and Google seems to waver between making this its own entity or just having it as a results and ad format. It’s arguably somewhere in the middle at the moment.

Google Search Console

Formerly known as Webmaster Tools, this is the how you manage your organic search presence and is the most direct method of communication between yourself and Google for organic campaigns.

Insight

Google Analytics

One of the most useful and long-standing Google tools offered from Google. The first version was released in 2005 after Google acquired the service from Urchin. Google Analytics is now the most popular analytics service, the reason being that it’s free, very good and flexible enough to integrate with all your marketing channels.

Google Analytics 360

A subscription-based version of Google Analytics. I can personally attest to several large companies refusing to adopt Google Analytics, instead opting for expensive solutions that actually weren’t as good, the reason being they didn’t trust GA ‘as it was free’.

For these companies Google now provides Analytics 360 (previously Google Analytics Premium) which is built off the standard version and is specifically geared towards larger companies.

How everything fits together

 

Unsurprisingly the two products at the center of Google's search offering are Adwords and Analytics, with Adwords being the primary revenue generator for Google and Analytics the measurement platform for those using any of their search services.

Additional products such as Maps and YouTube connect to Adwords and from there into Analytics. These are all monetised through advertising and this is managed via Adwords. Any new products developed or acquired are likely to be treated the same way.

You need both an Adwords and Adsense account to use Firebase (Google's in-app advertising service) and although reports is accessible through Analytics 360, data is now managed from Firebase Analytics. There may well be a separate ecosystem built around Firebase for mobile apps in future. This makes sense as it's disconnected from the search product around which the rest of the ecosystem revolves.

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