Corporate Eye

Brands Invest Big Bucks in Google Advertising

Even big brands invest in pay-per-click advertising on the leading search engine, Google.  According to statistics from Kantar Media, as reported by Ad Age, June 2010 spending on Google pay-per-click search advertising through the Google AdWords program  was dominated by online retailers and BP, a brand desperately trying to win back favor in consumers’ minds following the oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico a month earlier.

All Google pay-per-click advertisers weren’t included in the report, but of those that invested heavily in June 2010 on search marketing, the following companies stood out:

  • AT&T Mobility = $8.08 million
  • Apollo Group = $6.67 million
  • Expedia = $5.95 million
  • Amazon = $5.85 million
  • eBay = $4.25
  • BP Corp = $3.59
  • = $3.30 million
  • JC Penney = $3.30 million
  • Living Social = $2.29 million
  • ADT Security = $2.19 million
  • = $1.2 million

Brands spending less than $1 million on Google AdWords in June 2010 included Apple and Intel, and brands spending under $500,000 included GM, Walt Disney, Eastman Kodak, and BMW.

However, looking at these results from some different perspectives, consider this — AT&T is the third biggest advertising spender in the United States, spending $2.8 billion in 2009 on measured media according to Ad Age.  The $8.08 million spent by AT&T in June 2010 is just a drop in the bucket and helped drive marketing efforts related to the launch of the iPhone 4.

In fact, the top 10 Google AdWords advertisers only accounted for 5% of Google’s U.S. revenue in June 2010 as reported by Ad Age.  Of the biggest advertising spenders in the Google AdWords program, only a small percentage spend over $100,000 per year.  The bulk of Google’s revenue from its search advertising program comes from a huge pool of smaller investments by smaller advertisers rather than the larger investments made by advertisers with deeper budgets.

Is your brand represented in Google search advertising?  If not, you might want to take a look at the ads consumers are presented with when they type keywords related to your business into Google’s search box.  It doesn’t take a huge investment to be represented.  As the statistics from Ad Age point out, most large and small businesses invest only a small percentage of their overall marketing budgets on search advertising, but at the very least, they are represented.

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Susan Gunelius is the author of 10 marketing, social media, branding, copywriting, and technology books, and she is President & CEO of KeySplash Creative, Inc., a marketing communications company. She also owns Women on Business, an award-wining blog for business women. She is a featured columnist for and, and her marketing-related articles have appeared on websites such as,,, and more. She has over 20 years of experience in the marketing field having spent the first decade of her career directing marketing programs for some of the largest companies in the world, including divisions of AT&T and HSBC. Today, her clients include large and small companies around the world and household brands like Citigroup, Cox Communications, Intuit, and more. Susan is frequently interviewed about marketing and branding by television, radio, print, and online media organizations, and she speaks about these topics at events around the world. You can connect with her on Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, or Google+.