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What happens if Google leaves Australia?

Google and the Australian Government are currently at loggerheads with Google threatening to leave Australia if Prime Minister Morrison doesn't find a suitable compromise. Read on to find out what this may mean for your online presence and how best to prepare digitally for any impending fallout your business may face.

Why every business should have a diverse Digital Marketing Strategy

Posted 9 February 2021

After a 2020 filled with uncertainty and volatility due to a worldwide pandemic, the Australian government is now engaged in a game of chicken with Google over the rights of Australian news sources being paid for links in search results.

Google’s 96% market share on Internet searches performed in Australia and threats to pull out of the market entirely is making Australian businesses (and digital marketing agencies) hold their collective breaths as we all wait to see what happens next.

With PM Scott Morrison’s assurance that if Google pulls out of the Australian market, Microsoft will fill the search void with Bing, we’re once again reminded of the importance of not putting all our eggs in one basket.

Kook has long advocated for clients diversifying their digital marketing strategies whenever possible. No social strategy should rely only on Facebook, and no search or display ads strategy should rely only on Google.

Just like the volatility of markets in financial investments, digital marketing channels can change in value at the drop of a hat. Even in the best of times, Google often changes its search algorithm, meaning a website that ranks well organically on Google one day could rank poorly for the same keywords the next day.

And while we don’t believe Google will ultimately be leaving Australia, nor will the Australian Government be unreasonable in their demands of regulating Google, we do believe in being prepared for all digital marketing outcomes.

So, what do we do in the case of Google leaving Australia?

  1. Have backups in place: Establishing a paid search campaign on Bing with a Microsoft Partner sooner rather than later is a great idea. Microsoft is showing a willingness to comply with the Morrison government’s requests for greater regulations on links to news sites in an effort to increase their market share. Kook offers managed Bing search campaigns as an add-on for our Google Ads clients. Microsoft’s conversion tracking isn’t as robust as Google, but it’s a relatively painless process to get up and running and quick and easy to get into place and ramp up as needed.
  2. Monitor Analytics: Review organic search traffic in Google Analytics to determine what other search engines are delivering traffic, so you can pivot to ones where your business is showing signs of life. Not sure how to do this? Start-up an SEO project with a qualified SEO company to get the ball rolling.
  3. Improve your social media strategy: Organic and paid social strategies are excellent for reaching an audience that is likely to want your service or product. Some possible strategies to consider –
    1. Social Media Management – A strong organic social strategy on multiple channels like Facebook, Instagram and TikTok to ensure you’re able to engage on multiple fronts with potential clients.
    2. Facebook Ads strategy – A series of website conversion campaigns, lead generation campaigns and/or dynamic product ads campaigns on Facebook Ads are excellent ways to generate more enquiries and/or sales for your business.
    3. TikTok Ads strategy – Extremely popular with a younger demographic, TikTok Ads featuring short form videos are very effective in generating conversions for your website. 
  4. Diversify your overall strategy: There are lots of ways to reach customers and increase enquiries or sales outside of Google and Facebook! Consider some of the following –
    1. Radio advertising: While traditional radio ads may be cost prohibitive, especially if you want to reach very small or very large geographic areas, digital radio ads on Spotify can be an excellent alternative.
    2. Video advertising: YouTube (owned by Google) dominates the country in terms of video content, and TV ads may also be cost prohibitive, but digital channels like Spotify (which has numerous video ad placements available for their app users), TikTok, Facebook, Twitter and Instagram offer efficient ways to deliver video content to potential customers. Videos make excellent first tier brand awareness campaigns, allowing us to see who wants to watch the videos all the way through and then showing them more targeted ads designed to get a business enquiries or sales.
  5. Be ready to pivot: If Google pulls out of the Australian market, things are going to move very fast and change on a regular basis. Google dominates the market here with a market share in the 95% range, so Google leaving Australia would open up a huge void that would get filled by a number of different sources, some of which probably don’t exist right now.

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