New Google Australia executive plans push into SME market

Google Australia’s new head of online, Julian Persaud, is planning a big push into the SME sector, despite fears that online advertising is set to fall.

Google Australia’s new head of online, Julian Persaud, is planning a big push into the SME sector, despite fears that online advertising is set to fall.

Persaud says Google is confident of convincing small businesses to advertise through Google, pointing to figures that show 40% of small businesses owners have websites and a further 20% are building a site.

“We’re in a shift towards people going online. The consumers are there, and we’re seeing an increasing number of businesses wanting to be there as well. We’re focusing on small business as a big growing area for the industry. It creates a level playing field,” he says.

But Persaud dismisses claims that online advertising growth rates will plunge as a result of the economic slowdown. “It’s not going to be on the decline; most studies show that it will grow very strongly… online businesses are growing, it’s the fastest growing area in advertising.”

But IT and technology consultant and SmartCompany blogger Paul Wallbank says some SMEs are hesitant to enter online marketing because of its complexity.

“It’s a difficult field – it’s so complex; you’ve got to get the right words, etc. There’s all manner of components to it,” he says.

Wallbank also emphasises the fact Google AdWords, a staple of the group’s advertising offerings, is extremely competitive.

“For a lot of smaller businesses, particularly when you’ve got common AdWords such as ‘computer services’, there’d be a zillion businesses bidding for those search terms. They’re very complex for the typical small business.”

But another SmartCompany contributor, online advertising and revenue consultant Denise Shrivell, says online marketing is definitely growing strongly. She argues while display banner advertising will fall, SMEs need to tap into performance and pay-per-click advertising.

“If you look at the total pie of online advertising, that is display advertisements versus search advertisements like AdWords, display advertisements have a small part, and are declining.

“The next 12 months will be difficult for display advertisements, as advertisers use the internet more for advertisements like Google and Facebook are able to offer. That level of targeting… is pretty irresistible in a tough market.”

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