SMBs that are online grow at twice the pace of their offline peers: Kim Spalding, Google

Spalding, Product Management for the SMB and Emerging Market Advertising at Google, gives a lowdown on the new digital advertising tools for SMBs

e4m by Venkata Susmita Biswas
Updated: Sep 11, 2018 8:58 AM

Solving problems of the Indian users is at the core of Google’s mission for India. At the recent flagship event ‘Google for India’, the internet giant showcased a large catalogue of solutions to make life of Indians simpler and easier. Some of these solutions were new advertising products designed specifically for India and Indian small businesses.

Kim Spalding, Lead- Product Management for the SMB and Emerging Market Advertising, Google, spoke to exchange4media about the new solutions, and why getting small businesses online is critical for Google’s Next Billion programme.

Watch the video here or read the excerpts below:

It has been 18 years since Google Ad Solutions were launched. What has been the biggest change in what Google offers today?

A lot has changed in the last 18 years. We started with Google Ads on Search and helping advertisers connect with Google users through Search. Now, we have Google Search, maps, videos, display and other products that can help advertisers connect with consumers across their entire journey on the internet - that is probably the biggest change.

How has this changed the way businesses leverage digital for marketing?

As people are using mobile phones to use and access the web, they are looking for local information that is relevant to them. We see users looking for information like ‘stores near me’ and they want to know if that store is open right now and what products are available in that store. It is all about giving immediate, local, and accessible information to users.

Google recently revamped its marketing solutions, why was this revamp needed?

Two reasons: First, we wanted to reflect this two-decade journey going from helping advertisers access users on Google Search to helping them across the entire user journey across many different platforms. Second: We wanted to reflect our vision for simplicity. Google Adwords to Google Ads.

In India, spend on digital advertising is 15-20 per cent of the total ad pie, what is holding advertisers back from spending on digital and how do you tackle the challenges?

We at Google are focussed on helping advertisers get the most out of the various platforms. I can imagine digital being complex for first-timers. But we find that once advertisers and marketers try digital marketing and witness the transparency and results it offers, they opt for it.

Indian marketers are a diverse group. Many in India are coming to digital for the first time. Large companies are using digital and taking advantage of everything that it has to offer. But we are seeing more and more business trying digital marketing for the first time and experimenting with digital and benefiting from it. I do see a lot of growth in that space.

You say that a lot of businesses are trying digital for the first time, how is Google helping small businesses get online? Also, how crucial is engaging small businesses for getting the Next Billion Users online?

There are 51 million small businesses in India alone. Small businesses are absolutely critical for our Next Billion Users efforts. It is really important for us to serve them well and get them online. Secondly, we know that the internet is richer when small businesses are engaged. So to help serve our Next Billion Users well, we need to have all the small businesses online and promote them.

We have launched a new product called Smart Campaigns which is focused on helping small businesses get online and up and running with ads quickly. It is an easy and simple to use ad solution. We know that small businesses that are online grow at twice the pace of their offline peers.

In fact, small businesses in India are what inspired us to create automated landing pages. Because so many of them did not have websites; it was a problem we wanted to solve. We wanted to create a landing page for them and also ensure it is tailored for their ad creative.

The other important investment is in Indic languages. A lot of small businesses are working within their communities, so it is important that we have solutions for them that are available in all the relevant local Indian languages. Google Ads now support Tamil, Bengali and Telugu across Search, Display Network and YouTube, Google. Soon, we will also support Marathi.

We developed one of our latest solutions ‘Form Ads’ for India first. We built it from the insights that we received from marketers and consumers in India. Ninety per cent of consumers are on mobile, they don't want to type on their mobiles. All they want to do is tap and swipe. Form Ads on Search allows advertisers to generate leads seamlessly from their mobile search ads.

What are the steps to get online for SMBs?

Small businesses can first get online using a free tool called Google My Business. This helps small businesses get a free listing on Google Search and Google Maps. Once they are established with a digital presence and are ready to start promoting their business, it is a great opportunity to use smart campaigns to start advertising online.

Do you think SMBs are comfortable with using self-serve ad solutions? If they need to use an agency to help with navigating the platform, then is the point of self-serve lost?

Some businesses are very comfortable with self-serve solutions like Smart Campaigns, while others prefer to work with agencies - that’s great as well. We work extensively with agencies to help them have the right ad solutions to help them support small and medium businesses.

Firstly, agencies often do a lot to support small businesses. They help them think about creatives and sometimes help them think about their entire marketing solutions. Secondly, the simplicity in Smart Campaigns helps agencies as well. Agencies are often trying to support a wide variety of small businesses. The simpler we make the campaign for them, the more the agencies can do to support the small business.

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