After over two decades since its release, Google Ads is still standing strong among newer advertising platforms. It generated a whopping $209 billion of ad revenue in 2021 alone for Google’s parent company, Alphabet.
While the numbers are all there for the tech giant, the question remains: should businesses still choose Google Ads as their main advertising platform?
The short answer is: they may. But while the platform has its advantages, there are also potential challenges. Here, we’re going to examine the pros and cons of using Google Ads, so you can make an informed decision before you start using it.
First, let’s talk about the good stuff!
Table Of Contents
Google is still the leading search engine, undisputed, maintaining a market share of over 90%. Google search ads allow you to reach audiences you probably couldn’t have with other platforms. And remember – we aren’t only talking about Google search itself here.
Google Ads also allows you to advertise on Gmail, Youtube, and millions of sites in Google Search and Google Display Network. So, regardless of the type of campaign you choose to run, you are guaranteed to reach many users.
Needless to say, if exposure is what you’re looking for, then Google Ads is your best bet.
This is one of the most attractive benefits of using Google Ads, especially when comparing it to SEO. Getting your page on top of organic search results requires a lot of effort, and it can take months to get to that result.
With the right bid, Google Ads guarantees you a top space in the search engine instantly. With paid search you can move up from your competitors and reach your audience a lot quicker.
This is especially useful for new businesses that are looking to promote their services locally, for example.
Looking to start running Google Ads campaigns? Learn how to use GetResponse for creating paid search Google Ads to make the process fast and easy!
Google Ads is equipped with quite impressive analytics about your user base, campaigns, ad campaigns, and the keywords you use. This gives you plenty of space for optimization. The interface itself makes it easy to skim through the data and find the information you care about the most.
When it comes to data, the most important benefit is the possibility to link your Google Ads account to Google Analytics (you can check how to do it here.)
This way, you unlock multiple insights, such as:
Today’s digital advertising scene is oversaturated. That’s why, having a clear-cut target user base that much more important.
With Google Ads, you can choose the demographic you want to target by numerous factors:
You can also target users by more advanced criteria, such as:
By making use of audience exclusions, you also ensure that your shopping ads won’t show to audiences less likely to be interested in your product. This narrows your target audience even further.
With such a detailed audience targeting system, you’re able to get the most out of the money you put into your ads and make your case for a better ROI.
You don’t need to worry about exceeding the budget for your ad spend.
Google Ads makes it possible for you to set up a monthly budget on an account level, as well as daily budgets for each ad campaign. When you spend that budget, your ads will simply stop running.
By using manual bidding, you’re also able to set the maximum CPC per keyword to make sure you won’t exceed that amount. This is especially beneficial for smaller businesses, which are more often constrained by tight PPC budgets.
Note: Google specifies that because of fluctuations in traffic, there might be some days when your campaign will overdeliver. However, this won’t make you exceed your monthly ad spend limit.
Now that we have talked about what’s good about the platform, let’s take a closer look at some of the challenges that come with using it.
While Google has put a lot of effort into automating many tasks and functions on the platform, it (unfortunately) doesn’t mean you can just sit back and enjoy the show after setting up your campaigns. In order to make the most out of the money you invested in advertising, you need to keep an eye on your campaigns, especially during the early stages.
There’s plenty for you to do:
If you just let your campaigns be, you’ll most likely end up burning through your budget and failing to get the results you expected.
Pro tip: Setting Google Search Ads inside GetResponse will save you the time you’d otherwise spend connecting your ads with landing pages and email campaigns. Learn how to set up Google Ads in our step-by-step guide.
Burning through your budget because of improper optimization or strategy is one thing that you need to be mindful of, but not the only one. Google Ads is one of them flexible advertising platforms, so you don’t have to spend a fortune to run a successful campaign.
While that is true, it’s also worth noting that the price of digital advertising is way bigger than it used to be. There are many more players in the game right now, which is why Google Ads itself is experiencing a 14% YOY increase of CPC.
Because of the oversaturation in the advertising market, it’s way harder to stand out from the crowd than it used to be. And to achieve that you’ll need a proper budget.
Pay-per-click ads, for example, are costly by default. For ecommerce companies, PPC can reach anything between $400 to $5,000 each month, depending on the approach you take with your ad spend. So approach your budgets wisely!
A huge mistake many businesses make when opting for Google Ads is focusing only on, well, the ads themselves. A well-crafted campaign may persuade users to click on your ad, yet this advertising platform is the place they’re directed to is where they’ll make a final decision to convert.
Using Google Ads means making sure your website is in top-notch shape.
Pro tip: You will most likely have to create landing pages specifically for ad purposes since Google wants the pages to match user intent the best they can. The visuals, the copy you use, and even the page load speed are all factors you need to think about when crafting your campaigns.
Before you start advertising on Google Ads, it’s best to get informed about what’s currently going on on the advertising platform. Here are some of the most important changes.
Advertisers have been talking about this update since last year when Google first announced the news. As of June 30th, advertisers are no longer able to create new expanded ads or edit their existing ones. Instead, Google wants us to use responsive search ads.
Expanded ads allowed advertisers to add up to three headlines and two descriptions, and that’s exactly what a user would see.
Responsive text ads, on the other hand, let us add up to 15 headlines and 4 descriptions for each ad. Then Google displays different sets so that it is able to learn which combinations are performing best among your target audience.
While responsive search ads are great for getting conversions, you have less control over the copy that’s displayed to users and need to remember to always make sure that each headline and description combination match each other.
…eventually. While Google initially wanted to introduce the change sometime in 2023, it has recently postponed those plans until 2024.
Having user privacy in mind, Google announced some time ago that it was planning to block the use of third-party cookies from external websites. Third-party cookies track users’ behavior across many different websites. That information later helped to craft relevant target groups for different ad campaigns.
What will the change mean to advertisers? Well, you’re most likely need to get used to less specific and more random targeting, especially when it comes to remarketing campaigns. For example, you could try switching to obtaining user data through lead magnets (such as newsletters).
Performance Max campaigns can be run across all Google Ads inventory. This means that with a single campaign, Google is able to search for your target audience through all channels: Search, Display, Discover, Gmail, Youtube, and Maps. The ads are automatically created, based on the assets that the advertiser provides.
Google has been focused on enhancing Performance Max ever since it first came out in 2020 and has come up with a lot of new features for it 2022.
Remember: Performance Max is replacing Smart Shopping campaigns, so it’s best for advertisers need to get more familiar with this campaign type.
If you want to promote your products or services and get yourself noticed among competitors, then Google Ads is an awesome tool to do so (especially if you have a local business and want to put yourself out there!)
But before you start your journey with the platform, you should remember that Google Ads isn’t some magical device that will gather sales-qualified leads from the get-go. It takes time and effort to get things going. Advertising on Google Ads also doesn’t automatically mean sales, especially if we’re talking about B2B customers where the process is more complex and takes way more time.
If you’d like to start advertising on Google Ads, make sure you’re familiar with the best practices to follow when starting out. With the right strategy, a thought-out budget, and careful optimization, you’ll make the most out of the platform and test whether it’s the right channel for your PPC advertising.
(Ad) Planning and implementing can be daunting if you're unfamiliar with display advertising. But have no fear because we will discuss the ins and outs of display ads and uncover three common myths about this popular marketing tactic.
On July 1, 2023, Google will move everyone to its latest version, Google Analytics 4 (GA4), and retire Google Analytics 3 (also known as Universal Analytics or UA). While these changes will benefit the average user without any noticeable difference in how they search and browse online, the switch will require significant changes for marketers and businesses.
Here’s everything you need to know about Google Analytics 4, including what it will mean for how you measure marketing activity and conversions, how to get started using GA4 and how to prep your clients for the change.
Google Analytics is a staple tool for marketers to track online activity. If you’ve used Google Analytics in the past, GA4 will look familiar.
So what’s the big difference?
GA4 changes how data is collected and reorients the metrics from sessions to events. This combines users’ web and mobile app data to more seamlessly measure their journey across platforms. GA4’s data collection also takes into account the increasing concerns consumers have around privacy and, in particular, cookie tracking.
GA4 is currently available (and the default if you set up a new property), but many marketers still rely on Universal Analytics. Additionally, since GA4 is still being updated, everyone is in the same boat, learning how to use the new metrics. Companies that integrate with Google Analytics must update their integrations before the July 2023 deadline, and this includes CallRail. We are currently revamping our Google Analytics integration, so you can continue to report on and analyze call data in Google Analytics and provide more insight into visitor interactions than ever before.
Yes and no.
If you’ve worked in marketing during the past few decades, you know the importance of cookies in helping you measure your goals and advertise your brand. So it might seem jarring to think GA4 is messing with cookies at all.
The short version is that Google Analytics 4 relies on first-party cookies while restricting third-party cookies. GA4 also adds signals to the mix, which is session data from sites and apps that Google associates with users who have signed into their Google accounts and turned on Ads Personalization.
Why is that? Let’s recap what a cookie is first.
Cookies are a way for your computer to remember where you’ve been and what you’ve done on a site and to communicate that back to the site. This makes for a more personalized experience and allows marketers to track engagement.
Third-party cookies are unique because they allow the sites to track users beyond the property. Whole industries grew out of advertising using third-party cookies, but the practice has come under scrutiny from regulators and privacy-conscious consumers. When the European Union’s General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) took effect in 2018, it kicked off a shift in the way third-party cookies are treated.
By removing support for third-party cookies, GA4 actually beats Google’s browser, Chrome, to the punch. Chrome, the world’s most popular browser, will end third-party cookie support at the end of 2023.
Privacy isn’t the only reason that GA4 is moving away from third-party cookies. As more people use mobile devices to access the internet, more users are foregoing the web in lieu of apps. In fact, in 2021, 90% of mobile time was spent using apps, not the web. That’s a huge shift, and when paired with the death of third-party cookies, it became clear to Google that Universal Analytics wasn’t built for that reality.
Should I use Universal Analytics or GA4?
For now, you have a choice between GA4 and UA. If you’re setting up a new Google Analytics property, it will default to GA4, but you can choose to only use UA through some advanced options during setup.
We recommend using both for now, for several reasons.
Despite being out of its beta, GA4 is still constantly being improved with added features. Moving over now may provide a false sense of what life with just GA4 will really be like.
UA metrics won’t align 1:1 with GA4 metrics. By having both, you can see how your key measurements will be affected by the change and alter your reporting accordingly. For example, if you rely on Bounce Rate to track whether a page is performing well, you’ll lose that in GA4. Instead, you’ll have an Engagement Rate, which cannot be considered the inverse of Bounce Rate because it has a time threshold associated with it.
By waiting to move away from UA, you’ll retain your key integrations with Google Analytics, such as CallRail’s Google Analytics integration.
By leveraging elements of both Universal Analytics and Goole Analytics 4 into your client reporting now, clients will get used to the new system and have time to adjust before transitioning completely to GA4 in 2023.
Ultimately, of course, you’ll be using GA4. But until then, use this time as an opportunity to learn about GA4 without sacrificing your current reports or third-party GA integrations.
With a big change like Google Analytics 4, there are going to be some things that feel like improvements and some things that feel like downgrades. Time will tell what the changes will mean for your business and your clients, but we know the effects of some already.
Here’s what you’ll gain with Google Analytics 4:
Here’s what you’ll lose when you switch:
For a full breakdown of everything you need to know before switching to GA4, including what it will mean for the way you measure marketing activity and conversions, how to get started using GA4 and how to prep your clients for the change, download our full guide now.
See what CallRail’s call tracking can do to enrich your understanding of the customer journey when combined with your web visitor data in Google Analytics. Get started with a free trial today.
New on Search Engine Land
A new setting in beta allows Google the ability to automatically create additional ad assets (header and description). The feature uses the creative content from the following sources:
How auto-created assets work. If you have access to this new feature, you’ll instruct Google to generate the assets from eligible sources based on relevance and predicted performance.
These assets can take the form of entire sentences, phrases, or paraphrasing while retaining the original meaning. The generated assets are added to the pool of eligible assets for your responsive search ad (RSA). When your ad is eligible to serve for a query, the system will look at the pool of eligible assets (both advertiser provided and automatically created) and select the assets that are predicted to perform best.
Performance reports. Advertisers can view the performance of their automatically-created assets by navigating to the reporting section of their ads account.
Asset Report. You can see which assets are being used in the RSAs by navigating to “Asset report” from the Ad level to “View asset details” and viewing all of the assets used.
Combination report. The actual combinations and ads that are served can be viewed by going to “combination report” and viewing all the ads that are served.
Opt-out. You can choose to opt-out of automatically generated assets by going into your Google Ads account, navigating to Settings, then clicking Automatically created assets, then selecting Off: Use only assets I provide directly for my ads.
Dig deeper. Learn more about automatically generated assets by reading the Google help documentation.
Why we care. As with any new feature, test, test, test. If you have access to the beta and are interested in using automatically-generated assets, make sure that option is checked in your account. Monitor the ads and performance closely. If you have access to the beta and are not interested in using automatically generated assets, be sure to opt-out.
New on Search Engine Land
Alphabet (NASDAQ:GOOG)(NASDAQ:GOOGL), the parent company of Google, has been a stellar investment over the past five years. Shares have returned 91%, and they have been a part of the big tech FAANG names that have driven the S&P 500 to latest highs.
The company divides itself up into two core Google-related segments: Google Services and Google Cloud, with a further segment for Other Bets.
The products and platforms at the heart of Google Services include ads, Android, Chrome, hardware, Gmail, Google Drive, Google Maps, Google Photos, Google Play, Search, and YouTube. These are all services that we come into contact with every day; I’m currently using Google Chrome and Google Search to do a lot of the research for this article. The hardware products also offered by Google include the Pixel smartphones, Fitbit, Chromecast, and the Google Nest Cams and Doorbell.
Google Cloud is the company’s cloud platform and a challenger to the likes of Amazon’s (AMZN) AWS and Microsoft’s (MSFT) Azure. It also offers Google Workspace, which generates revenues from cloud-based collaboration tools for enterprises such as Gmail, Docs, Drive, Calendar, and Meet.
The final offering from Alphabet is the Other Bets section, which is essentially venture capital. It invests in emerging businesses at various stages of development with a goal for them to become thriving, successful companies in the medium to long term. The most well-known of these Other Bets is probably Waymo, an autonomous driving start-up.
For Google investors, there are a multitude of reasons to invest in the company: Google Search has a global market share of 85%, YouTube has grown rapidly and may soon bring in more money than Netflix (NFLX), and Google Cloud could become a cash-printing behemoth if AWS is anything to go by.
Combine all this with a net cash position of $141 billion, and the Other Bets segment that continues to search for opportunities with substantial upsides, and Alphabet feels like one of the best-looking investments for the upcoming decade.
Yet the company's Q2’22 results were fairly disappointing, missing analysts' estimates on the top and bottom line for the second quarter in a row. Whilst Search revenue managed to come in ahead of expectations, everything else performed relatively poorly – especially YouTube.
This goes some way to explaining why shares of this pretty incredible business are down by ~30% in the last year. Investors are now looking ahead to Q3 results for some positives, hoping to see some signs of light at the end of a tough tunnel; but are they hoping for too much? Let’s take a look.
Alphabet is set to report its Q3’22 earnings on Tuesday, October 25, and there are several key items that investors should keep their eyes on.
Starting with headline numbers, and analysts are expecting Q3’22 revenue of $71.34B, representing YoY growth of 9.6%.
Alphabet has seen single digit YoY revenue growth in only one quarter over the past six years- Q2’20, when advertising took a massive hit due to the impact of the pandemic. This highlights just how substantial a slowdown analysts are expecting, and given Google’s sub-par performance so far this year, I don’t blame them.
As we can see, Google missed analysts’ revenue estimates in both Q1 and Q2 this year. On the plus side, both misses were small, and not terrible when you consider the number of headwinds faced by Google in 2022, from a soaring dollar to difficult YoY comps.
Moving onto the bottom line, and analysts are expecting Alphabet to achieve an EPS of $1.28 in Q3, which would be an improvement from both Q1 and Q2 this year – again, both previously missed analyst expectations, but it’s not as bad as it looks in my view.
Alphabet likes to make equity investments in several businesses, which is no surprise given its entire Other Bets segment revolves around investing and incubating smaller companies. The problem is that (unrealised) profits and losses on equity investments impact the net income; and, as we have seen, high growth, disruptive technology companies have seen their shares battered in 2022.
To put this into perspective, Alphabet’s ‘Other income’ was a positive $2.624B in Q2’21 compared to negative -$439M in the latest quarter, and this has driven Google’s EPS downward. In short, it’s not related to the business operations themselves, and that is a positive.
A quick look at the evolution of analysts’ full year estimates for 2022 paints a picture that resembles Alphabet’s share price – the numbers are falling.
The latest expectations according to Seeking Alpha are $289.4B for Google’s FY22 revenues, representing YoY growth of 12.3%. Whilst this is a clear slowdown from Google’s FY21 revenue growth rate of 41.2%, investors should not lose sight of the bigger picture. We are moving from a booming, stimulated economy in 2021 to an inflation-ridden economy with a looming recession and low consumer sentiment in 2022. Given that Alphabet makes the majority of its income from advertising, it was always going to struggle to maintain a high growth rate going into this current year.
In fact, perhaps it’s worth diving into everything that is putting Alphabet under pressure, as this behemoth of a business tries to navigate the choppy waters of 2022.
Since Alphabet has such a huge reach, investors cannot ignore the macroeconomic environment within which it operates; a macroeconomic environment that has rapidly deteriorated over the first half of 2022, with little short-term signs of improvement.
This goes some way to explaining why Google’s advertising business has seen a substantial slowdown. Advertisements are the easiest thing for a business to cut when it’s trying to reduce costs during economic downturns, and so Google is certainly going to be hurt by a recession. YouTube in particular has suffered, growing only 4.8% YoY in Q2, but it did come up against an extremely strong Q2’21 in which YouTube Ads saw revenue grow by a staggering 83.7% YoY.
By comparison, the advertising growth of 'Google Search and Other' saw YoY growth in Q2’22 of 13.5%, which is fairly respectable given all the difficulties surrounding both Google and the economy. CFO Ruth Porat had the following to say about these growth rates on Alphabet’s Q2’22 earnings call:
Starting with our Google Services segment. Total Google Services revenues were $62.8 billion, up 10%. Google Search and other advertising revenues of $40.7 billion in the quarter were up 14%, driven by both, travel and retail. YouTube advertising revenues of $7.3 billion were up 5%. The modest year-on-year growth rate primarily reflects lapping the uniquely strong performance in the second quarter of 2021. Network advertising revenues of $8.3 billion were up 9%, driven by AdSense. The quarter-on-quarter deceleration in both YouTube and network advertising revenues primarily reflects pullbacks in spend by some advertisers.
As mentioned, it is unsurprising to see the pullback in spend by advertisers given the economic backdrop. Let’s also not forget that Google is a global business, and a strong US Dollar is going to be yet another headwind for the company, as Porat highlighted:
In terms of foreign exchange, our second quarter results reflect the U.S. dollar strengthened versus last year from a significant tailwind last year to a 3.7 percentage-point headwind in 2Q. Looking to the third quarter, based on strengthening of the U.S. dollar quarter-to-date, we expect an even larger headwind from foreign exchange.
Clearly there are a lot of reasons to be pessimistic about Alphabet’s upcoming earnings report, but the question is this – how much of that pessimism is already reflected in the current share price? And could the current valuation appear to be an attractive opportunity for long-term investors willing to ride out this storm?
As with all growing, innovative companies, valuation is tough. I believe that my approach will supply me an idea about whether Alphabet is insanely overvalued or undervalued, but valuation is the final thing I look at - the quality of the business itself is far more important in the long run.
Alphabet is a particularly difficult business to value, purely because of the number of different revenue and profit drivers within its ecosystem. As such, I have used analysts’ estimates to guide my base case scenario, combined with my understanding of the business.
In terms of the bull case scenario, I assume that Alphabet will obtain a very achievable revenue CAGR of 15% through to 2026. I feel that there is potential for revenue to achieve an even greater CAGR if one of the Other Bets pays off, or if Google Cloud continues its impressive momentum for the foreseeable future, or if the advertising revenue recovers quicker than expected. I have assumed that the increased revenue enables Alphabet to Improve margins slightly with scale, and I’ve used an appropriate EV/EBIT multiple given the opportunities for revenue growth and margin expansion from 2026 onwards.
My bear case scenario effectively assumes the opposite; mainly that Alphabet’s main advertising business gets really bogged down over the next year or so due to the recessionary pressures. There are also potential regulatory challenges faced by Alphabet due to its dominance in Search, and whilst the company has always mitigated these risks, they remain nonetheless.
Put all that together, and I can see Alphabet shares achieving a CAGR through to 2026 of 10%, 17%, and 25% in my respective bear, base, and bull case scenario.
Given that I still see Alphabet’s shares achieving a 10% CAGR through to 2026 in my bear case scenario, you’ll understand why I conclude that a lot of negativity is baked into the current share price. There are still a whole host of headwinds facing this company, but I do not believe many of them to be thesis-busting.
Alphabet handled the difficult economic environment well in Q2, and whilst I expect Q3 to look like a poor result on paper, I think that the market is already expecting poor results.
Conversely, any small signs of hope could result in rewards for shareholders, and I’ll be especially desparate to see if there’s any signs of revenue recovery in Q3 for advertising. I’ll also be looking at Google Cloud to see if its growth rates remain in excess of 30%, whilst also seeing how its growth compares to Amazon’s AWS.
All things considered, I am more than happy to reiterate my previous ‘Buy’ rating on Alphabet shares; it is a high quality business going through a difficult, macro-induced period, but the current share price is too attractive for me to ignore.
Currently, Google (NASDAQ:GOOG) (NASDAQ:GOOGL) is one of the most resilient businesses in the world. Despite the macroeconomic uncertainty, the company has all the chances to continue to have a dominant position in the digital ads market, it has more than enough resources to weather a major crisis, and its latest initiatives could help it to continue to expand its business more even in the current turbulent environment.
While there's a high chance that the regulators from both sides of the Atlantic would be looking for ways to break the company's digital monopoly, there's a small possibility that major regulatory risks will materialize in the short to near-term. As a result, it's safe to assume that the market underestimates Google's ability to create shareholder value in the foreseeable future, since at the current levels the company's shares trade at a discount to fair value of as much as ~40% in the base-case scenario, creating an opportunity to profit from for investors.
It's safe to say that the digital advertising industry is currently in a cyclical decline due to the turbulent macroeconomic environment. After relatively weak performances in latest quarters, digital advertisers such as Meta Platforms (META) and Snap (SNAP) already publicly announced that they'll start laying off their people. At the same time, there's a risk that the current cyclical decline in the industry would be prolonged into 2023 due to geopolitical uncertainty and a more hawkish Fed policy, which in the end will likely result in a global recession. The latest forecasts already show that while digital advertising spending would continue to increase, the overall spending growth rate in the U.S. would decelerate in the second half of 2022 and 2023.
As the company is about to report its Q3 earnings results later this month, there's an indication that despite all the troubles that the industry is currently experiencing, Google would be able to continue to expand its competitive edge along with its market share in the foreseeable future. In addition to the pledge to invest $690 million in Japan by 2024 to Improve its products and services, Google is also about to begin monetizing YouTube Shorts in order to gain additional market share in the short video format field.
As a digital advertiser myself, I believe that it makes sense for the company to explore new opportunities in the short video format for several reasons. First of all, thanks to the rise in popularity of ByteDance's (BDNCE) TikTok app in latest years, we know that a short video format is an engaging way for users to interact with each other. According to different reports, TikTok's revenue is about to surpass the revenues of Twitter (TWTR) and Snapchat combined later this year, which is a sign that there's an opportunity for monetization in the short video format, especially for a company like Google that already has a significant presence in video thanks to YouTube.
What's also important to mention is that despite significant growth in latest years, TikTok has a major problem that makes it exposed to competition. That problem is the lack of incentives for content creators to continue to create short-form videos, as they don't generate a lot of revenue from ads and instead rely almost entirely on sponsorship deals from which the app doesn't make any profits. While earlier this year TikTok announced a 50% ad revenue share program, that program is covering only a small portion of content creators.
Considering this, there's a high probability that the short format video creators at the very least would be interested in exploring what Google has them to offer with YouTube Shorts. From what we already know, Google plans to pay 45% of the ad revenue to those YouTube Shorts creators, who have over 1000 subscribers and 4000 watched hours, which could be considered a relatively low entry requirement. At the same time, the company's management in the latest Q2 earnings call said that the initial results of the YouTube Shorts monetization program were encouraging and that the program itself will be launched at the beginning of 2023. If Google manages to successfully launch the program and lure in a large portion of TikTok content creators, then the company would have new opportunities to accelerate the growth of its video advertising business, which should result in the creation of additional shareholder value in years to come.
In addition to all of this, while the advertising spending growth rate in comparison to the growth rate of latest years is expected to depreciate in the following quarters, there will come a time when this cyclical decline will reverse, and by that time, Google would have additional tools that should help it to benefit the most from this change. Some reports suggest that by 2027 the ad spending in the digital advertising market would reach over $1 trillion, with search and video advertising leading in the amount of spending in comparison to other segments.
Considering that it's unlikely that Google would lose its dominant position in the search segment due to the competitive edge that it built over the last couple of decades, it makes sense for the company to focus on the video segment, which has the potential to continue to grow at an aggressive rate in the following decade. If the company manages to successfully launch the YouTube Shorts monetization program and actively attract major content creators, then it'll likely be able to capture a significant portion of the video segment in years to come.
Considering all of this, it appears that the latest depreciation of Google's shares is nothing more than a market overreaction due to the worsening macroeconomic environment. Even when it becomes obvious that it's likely that we'll enter a global recession in the following quarters, the latest estimates still suggest that Google would be able to continue to grow its top-line at a double-digit growth rate, which is a sign that its business is as resilient as ever.
To figure out how much upside Google's shares offer at the current levels, I have recently updated my DCF model where the top-line growth is almost in-line with the street forecast, while all the other major metrics are either averages of latest years or close to the latest reported period. The WACC in the model is 7% while the terminal growth rate is 3%.
My model shows that Google's fair value is $142.44 per share, which implies an upside of as much as 40% from the current levels. My price target is also close to the street consensus price target of $139.42 per share.
Considering all of this, it makes sense to say that the market lost its mind when it punished Google's shares to the levels at which it trades today. However, the good news is that thanks to such an irrational depreciation, investors now have an opportunity to profit, as there's every reason to believe that the company would be able to successfully navigate through the current turbulent environment and even increase its presence in the video segment at the same time.
In the short to near-term, the only major risk to the company is a prolonged global recession. The latest decision of OPEC to cut its oil production along with the Fed's decision to continue to execute its hawkish policy and engage in quantitative tightening to tame inflation have already severely rocked the markets and there's a risk that most stocks will continue to depreciate in the foreseeable future. As a result, there's a possibility that Google's stock would continue to decline and trade at even more irrational levels until the macroeconomic situation, over which the company has no control, improves over time.
As for the long-term risks, I believe that a change in the regulatory environment and the constant prosecution from the antitrust watchdogs is the only major thing that can disrupt Google's business model in the following years. Back in June, I already wrote an article that explained how the regulators from both sides of the Atlantic are looking for ways to level the playing field, which includes stripping Google and its peers their monopoly status in the digital advertising space. In latest months, several major developments have occurred, which could potentially force Google to make some unpleasant changes to its business and lead to lower returns in years to come. However, those developments don't pose a major threat to the company in the short to the near term, as they're unlikely to materialize anytime soon, but I plan to write a separate article about this and highlight what Google investors should expect from the upcoming changes on the regulatory front.
While there are certain regulatory risks regarding Google, those risks are unlikely to severely affect the company's position in the digital ads market anytime soon. At the same time, with a nearly 40% upside, it appears that the company's stock is oversold and could be considered a bargain at the current levels.
Let's not forget that Google has more than enough resources to weather turbulent times, and at the same time, it has more than enough capabilities to continue to launch new products and services, which are able to create new monetization opportunities for the business and help it to further expand.
Considering this and the fact that there's an indication that the company will continue to generate double-digit returns despite the macroeconomic concerns, it appears that Google continues to be a solid stock to own for investors, especially at the current levels.
For months we have been watching Google test a new ads label in search named "Sponsored" in bold black text. Well, now it is officially live in the Google mobile search results, the search company announced.
We saw Google testing this many many times, over many months.
Google said as "part of helping you make sense of the information you see is ensuring that ads are clearly labeled, which is why our label will now be featured on its own line in the top-left corner of Search ads."
Google said this is because they now "want the label to be prominent and clear across different types of paid content." So now when ads show on Google's mobile search results, those ads will now be labeled with the word "Sponsored" in bold black text font.
Google said "this new label and its prominent position continues to meet our high standards for being distinguishable from search results and builds on our existing efforts to make information about paid content clear."
Here is what it looks like:
So goodbye Google black "Ads" label from 2020/2019 and hello Google "Sponsored" label.
Here is more from Google's Ginny Marvin:
Here is the beta feature in Google Ads:
Google shared more details in this help document.
There is also a new business information ad policy that reads:
On October 14, 2022, a new Google Ads Business Information format policy will be launched. This new Business Information policy allows advertisers to complement their existing Text Ads with business assets such as Business Name & Logos. Learn more about Business Information here. We will begin enforcing the policy update in October with full enforcement ramping up over approximately 4 weeks.
Violations of this policy may lead to an advertiser’s business information not serving. Declining to serve business information for policy violations may occur without notice.
Forum discussion at Twitter.
Note: This was pre-written and scheduled to be posted today, I am currently offline for Simchat Torah.
In June we reported about a beta feature in Google Ads that gives Google the ability to automatically create assets for your ads. There is an opt-out feature but there is no way to opt out in mass. This beta got some more wind last week and advertisers are asking Google for a faster way to opt out.
As a reminder, Some advertisers are seeing in the Google Ads console a beta feature named "automatically created assets." This feature allows Google to generate headlines, descriptions, and other assets using your content from your landing page, domain and other ads. I am not sure how long this has been a beta feature, but some are now seeing this show up now. You can learn more over here.
Ginny Marvin, the Google Ads Liason, responded to the requests about faster opting out saying she will pass the feedback along:
Brad Geddes chimed in also on why this is important:
Forum discussion at Twitter.
Note: This was pre-written and scheduled to be posted today, I am currently offline for Succos.
Update: Google told us this feature is opt-in and is turned off by default.
Once again Google has said to users of one of its services: “You screwed up. You trusted us. That’s on you.”
“Google Shutting Down Stadia Cloud Gaming Platform”
“Gasp!” – Nobody at all.
Well, at least it had a good long run that…
Google Stadia has only been around since 2019, having launched in November of that year.
The service was designed to allow for cloud-based gaming across a range of devices, including PCs, Chromebooks, Macs, iPhones, and iPads.
Indeed, Stadia was touted by some as one of the things that gave Chromebooks and advantage over MacBooks. Oh, well.
Turns out Google would rather spin up and shut down a thousand services than go to therapy. This has really turned into quite the pattern for the company and it’s not sitting well with everyone, particularly people who had a rather large investment of time in games played via
“Red Dead Redemption II Player Pleads With Rockstar to Save Their 6K Stadia Hours”
A desperate Red Dead Redemption II player has pleaded with Rockstar to allow data transfers between platforms after racking up thousands of hours on Google’s doomed Stadia service.
Also, that’s… a lot of hours. Of course, this is a YouTuber, so you could argue that it’s part of his job. You could also argue the moon landings were faked or that the pope is 12 small aliens in a white cape. You can say whatever you want on YouTube, Google doesn’t care as long as people watch the ads.
Now it’s up to Rockstar to deal with the fallout of Google pulling the rug out from under players? As one game developer dryly put it in a tweet:
Despite a seemingly advantageous market, why did Stadia fail? As TechCrunch’s Devin Coldewey argues, we may be at the point where Google’s attempts at new services can’t get any traction because no one trusts Google to keep them open for more than a few years.
”Stadia died because no one trusts Google”
No one trusts Google. It has exhibited such poor understanding of what people want, need and will pay for that at this point, people are wary of investing in even its more popular products.
By most accounts the service itself worked very well. The problem was that it required you to buy games for Stadia alone and who would want to do that when you could buy it for Steam or a console, both of which you’d be sure would be around longer than it takes the average Google executive to get bored with it and run after another shiny object?
It cost you a bill to get in the door plus the monthly fee, then you had to buy games on top of that, full price.
But you could run them on your Chromebook and Google would be able to scour all your information!
Oh, wait, that’s a reason for Google to want you to get it, not a reason for you to want to. And that’s the problem with most of these Google services. The one they really service is, well, Google.
For me (and dozens more of us) the turning point was the assassination of Google Reader — for which I will never forgive them, and try to regularly exert a small vengeance by mentioning it like so…
People love to blame the iPhone for the rise in social media which, not to put it too lightly, is going to kill us all. But Google effectively killing RSS was at least as instrumental.
Coldewey believes that no one will trust Google ever again and while the Macalope agrees the company certainly has a problem on its hands, there’s alway going to be someone who’s willing to try to build a YouTube channel about Google Flonx, the new service that lets you sell your precious bodily fluids to billionaires to help keep them young.
Dope springs eternal.