Issue #119 : If You’re Not Mad, You’re Not Paying Attention

This week, we’re unpacking a bombshell revelation that’s shaking the foundations of digital marketing.
Earlier this week, the Department of Justice (DOJ) presented their closing deck making their case against Google…yes Google…has been manipulating search ad prices to boost revenue. Let’s dive in.
The Scandal Unveiled
All these years when we’ve been tightening our belts, optimizing every ad dollar, and sweating over increases in cost-per-conversion, the real issue might have been hidden manipulation by none other than Google itself.
According to the DOJ, Google has been fiddling with ad auction processes, covertly pushing ad costs up to hit their revenue targets. This wasn’t about market dynamics or competition—it was about manipulation.
Why Every Advertiser Should Be Livid
  1. Breached Trust: We trust platforms like Google to maintain a level playing field. This alleged manipulation betrays this trust, impacting our strategies and financial planning.
  2. Financial Impact: Agencies and their clients budget for ad spend based on past data and expected ROI. Artificial price inflation means higher costs, diminished returns, and strained client relationships—none of which are due to market forces but rather deliberate tampering.
  3. Unnecessarily Strained Client Relations: Due to the performance issues not being due to an advertiser’s ability to do the job, they had to have those “hard and uncomfortable” conversations with their clients when they likely never would have had to without the alleged manipulation.
  4. Competitive Disparity: Smaller advertisers and agencies often operate on tighter margins. This manipulation could disproportionately hurt these smaller players, widening the gap between them and their bigger counterparts who might weather the price increases more easily.
Search Engine Journal did a great write up sharing some of the details, check that out here.
What We Can Do
While the allegations against Google might shake our trust in one advertising platform, it’s crucial to remember that this doesn’t mean we should just stop advertising.
Instead, it highlights the importance of diversification. Relying solely on one channel or platform for client value generation is risky; diversification can protect against such vulnerabilities and enhance overall marketing effectiveness.
  • Expand Across Channels: Don’t put all your eggs in one basket. Utilize a mix of advertising platforms. If one platform becomes too costly or changes its rules significantly, your strategy won’t be crippled.
  • Incorporate SEO and Content Marketing: SEO and quality content marketing are critical for long-term visibility and credibility. They complement paid media efforts by building organic reach and establishing authority.
  • Leverage Email Marketing: Email marketing remains one of the most effective ways to engage directly with customers, offering personalized content and offers that can drive conversions without the need for ad spend.
Experiment with Emerging Platforms: Keep an eye on emerging platforms and technologies. Early adoption can provide a competitive edge and a new avenue for client value generation.
Until next week,
CEO & Chief Wizard