Google is the world’s largest internet company, with revenue totalling $89.5 billion in 2016 – £67.39 billion of this coming from advertising revenue. With a market capitalisation of $373 billion, Google ranks first among global internet companies.
Beginning with a partnership between two Stanford University students, Sergey Brin and Larry Page, the company has come a long way since its formation in 1996. The following year, working from their dorm rooms, Brin and Page struck up a partnership and set about building a new search engine which they named Backrub. It would use links to determine individual pages’ importance on the worldwide web. They soon renamed it Google – a play on the mathematical term for number one (googol), followed by one hundred zeros – as part of their mission to organise the world’s information, to make it useful and universally accessible.
Google soon came to the attention of the academic community and Silicon Valley investors and in 1998 Sun co-founder, Andy Bechtolsheim, invested $100,000 in the venture. Google Inc was born and the newly-incorporated team obtained their first office in Menlo Park, California. Up until that point, Brin and Page had still worked from their dorms.
The company expanded rapidly, building a sales team and hiring engineers. They soon outgrew their office and moved to their current headquarters in Mountain View, California. Today, Google has more than 50,000 employees across 50 countries, providing hundreds of products to billions of people across the world; such as Google Search, Android, YouTube and Smartbox.
Google’s advertising platform, AdWords, enables advertisers to display ads to web users as they’re searching for information of every kind. Ranging from start-up businesses to international corporations, advertisers pay billions of dollars each year as they battle to convert impressions to clicks that represent potential customers.
Why does Google use direct mail?
Despite the multitude of digital options, Google still favours direct mail and the reason behind that decision is simple…because it drives sales so effectively.
Anyone who lists their business on Google will be aware that via a special offer code, Google will match the first $150 invested in their AdWords platform. For most people who advertise, this credit equates to around 75 to 100 highly-targeted website visitors, with the average cost-per-click being approximately $2.
Google uses direct mail marketing to drive new advertiser acquisition and retention for AdWords, delivering millions of marketing postcards to prospective and current advertisers each year.
The science of direct mail
A study by the Postal Service Inspector General’s office revealed direct mail ads were better than online ads because they held consumers’ attention for longer and played a direct role in purchasing decisions.
Research has shown that compared with digital ads, direct mail requires 21% less cognitive effort to process, meaning it’s easier to understand. Its overall effectiveness, known as the motivation-to-cognitive load ratio, saw direct mail score an average 1.31 and digital channels score 0.87, when values greater than 1.0 indicate broad success.
Consumers who receive direct mail offers are able to recall the brand 75% of the time, compared with only 44% of the time with digital-only versions. In addition, the Data and Marketing Association’s Response Rate Report found that direct mail offered an average ROI of 15% to 17%.
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