Google Ad Revenue vs. Print Ad Revenue

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Ok, this isn’t a completely fair chart as it compares Google ad revenue globally vs. newspaper and magazine print ad revenue in the U.S. only, but it’s still enlightening.

This chart comes from an article at and they explain it this way,

We have played with the numbers a little bit and found an interesting piece of information that nicely illustrates how ad markets have changed in the past decade: in the first six months of 2012, Google raked in $20.8 billion in ad revenue, while the whole U.S. print media (newspapers and magazines) generated $19.2 billion from print advertising. That is, Google, a company founded 14 years ago, makes more money from advertising than an industry that has been around for more than a hundred years.

Given the fact that Google operates globally, the comparison is obviously unfair and shouldn’t be judged scientifically, but nonetheless it shows how big Google’s ad business really is and how small print advertising has become.

Google is attracting ad dollars because they are very good at linking  interested consumers with local dealers for a fraction of the cost of the money spent on local print newspaper ads or magazine ads.

While most brand managers are aware of this trend, because you actually caused it, I’m not so confident that your helping your independent retailers adjust to the these changes.  Everyone realizes that consumers have moved away from the printed newspaper however, most retailers aren’t equipped to change their media production and buying habits to  adjust, they need help.

You should take a look at the tools you provide your local retailers to advertise your brand locally.  If they’re in the same ratio for media as they were five years ago, then maybe you’re not doing all you can to help them reach local consumers.

Your marketing portal should be loaded with digital tools to help your retailers buy Google search campaigns, build microsites, e-promo pages, landing pages, banner ads, mobile, Facebook tabs and ads.   The list goes on and on.

This need would be even more dramatic if we measured effort instead of ad revenue.  When we measure just ad revenue we ignore the fact that so much of local digital advertising is free of media costs, so there’s no ad revenue to track year over year.  That’s a bigger subject for a later time.

For now, it’s a no-brainer.  Go local, go digital…go big!


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