Marketing Plan for Blogger, a Subsidiary of Google
Social media in general and bogging specifically continues to experiences exponential growth, with projections of nearly 140 million blogs being indexed by Technorati within the 2012 -- 2013 timeframe alone. The rapid growth of all blogging platforms is a strong source of growth for Blogger.com, a blogging platform acquired by Google in 2003. As all blogging platforms have a fundamental business model based on advertising revenues, Blogger is in position to be one of the most profitable given its integration to the highly profitable Google AdSense and AdWords programs (Bonson, Flores, 2011). In this section the current situation, performance, market demand, competition and market demand are assessed.
a) Current Situation
At present there are 133 million blogs indexed by Technorati, with the figure projected to increase by 7 million over the latest calendar year, with 346 million readers yearly, according to ComScore (Nuria, 2011). This equates to 77% of all Internet users reading blogs, encompassing 81 languages (Nuria, 2011). Taken together these figures show very significant growth opportunities for Blogger.com for the long-term.
b) Current Performance
Based on an analysis of the filings Google has made with the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) in their forms 10K and 10Q the number of active accounts Blogger.com has today is approximately 39 million users (Google Investor Relations, 2012). Google estimates that 67% of all traffic is from inside North America, with soccer being the most popular sport blogged about, also the one subject that generates the majority of traffic globally (Google Investor Relations, 2012).
c) Market Demand
Google has found that the business blogs generated nearly 87% of all AdSense revenues on their sites, with personal blogs, predominantly on sports and hobbies including cooking, generating the remaining 13% (Google Investor Relations, 2012).
The following graphic from emarket.com shows the percentage of companies who are already blogging and who plan to initiate a formal blogging program this year. Corporate bloggers are predicted to be the majority of revenue opportunity for blogging advertising-based revenue (Bernoff, Li, 2008).
d) Competition and Industry Attractiveness
According to both Google Investor Relations and Technorati, Blogger has 39 million subscribers globally, with Wordpress having 86 million active subscribers today according to Source: Technorati.
Figure 2: Which Blogging Platform Do You Use?
e) Share Performance Metrics
Share performance metrics are based on time spent on Blogger sites created and reading content, using the comScore methodology, which is considered the industry standard (Google Investor Relations, 2012).
Customer Value & SWOT Analysis
Individuals are the most prolific bloggers, with the majority of traffic on Blogger.com being attributable to sports (37%) and food (18%) (Google Investor Relations, 2012). Using Quantcast.com to analyze the demographic profiles of the Blogger.com customer base, Figure 3 illustrates they tend to be in the 25- to 34-year-old age segment, male, with graduate degrees earing $150K or above. The audience likes are also shown along the lower part of the graphic.
Quantcast Analysis of Blogger.com Customer Base
f) Strategic Marketing Plan
Concentrating on the business blogging segment of their customer base, Blogger will be able to attain not only greater reach and stability of their subscriber base, but also greater revenues as well (Hoffman, Fodor, 2010). The projected return per business blog in AdSense revenue is $37,728 per year, and this assumes a median traffic level of 144,000 visits per year. Google is finding an inverse relationship between the amount of blog traffic for consumer sites (food, sports, hobbies) relative to revenue. The business blogs generate exponentially greater revenue due to their highly specific focus and targeted messaging (Sprague, 2007). Business blogs are also part of an overarching multichannel strategy on the part of companies who more effectively promote all content platforms (Quish, 2010). Google has found that the pace of growth for business blogs is exceptionally fast compared to those from consumers and hobbyists, as the integrated marketing communications strategies fo companies act as accelerators of blog and overall AdSense revenue growth (Moorman, 2011). Google's Blogger.com platform also needs to accelerate each of the areas shown in the graphic to the right. This illustrate the overall approach organizations are taking at integrating social media into their overall marketing strategies.
Figure 4: Analysis of Social Media Channels
Source: (Google Investor Relations, 2012).
h) Market Share Objectives
According to both Google Investor relations and comScore, Google Blogger has
30% market share (Google Investor Relations, 2012). With an increased focus on the business blogging market with enhanced templates, more effective integration to CRM systems including Salesforce.com and additional software applications, Blogger could achieve a 10% gain to 40%. Wordpress. It's dominant competitor, has established a VIP Service used by many well-known companies including Marc Andreessen's venture capital firm Andreessen-Horowitz. The VP options at Wordpress are customized to high,. Traffic, potentially high-revenue corporate sites from an AdSense standpoint (Google Investor Relations, 2012). Blogger is known as the egalitarian-oriented blogging network given its dominant use by smaller and medium-sized businesses and many individuals and hobbyists (Madhava, 2011). Defining a 10% market share increase is aggressive, yet achievable.
Marketing Mix Strategy
i) Product Positioning
Blogger has a very well established reputation with consumers who enjoy blogging about sports and food (Google Investor Relations, 2012) many of which have a relatively high per capita income given the Quantcast.com analysis. Google needs however to capture a greater proportion of the business market by offering VP Services that compete directly with WordPress, using the advanced analytics and Business Intelligence (BI) suite of applications to provide greater insight into website performance. Blogger also needs to integrate better with CRM systems that are in use throughout enterprises, including Oracle, SAP, Salesforce.com and others (Carolyn, Parasnis, 2011). Adding in VIP services that include analytics, BI and integration support are critical for Blogger.com to capture the 10% market share as stated in this marketing plan.
j) Channel Strategy
Launching the Blogger.com business services will include banners across all Google sites, extensive use of AdWords-based messaging, and extensive upsell to business customers currently using Blogger.com as their platform of choice. The extensive use of Google's insights into browsing behavior by business segments, which can be analyzed by SIC codes, is also a strong potential advantage for this service (Google Investor Relations, 2012). In conjunction with offering Blogger.com support for advanced blogging services, Google could also a data service as well.
Revenue Plan and Marketing Budget
The following section defines the revenue plan and marketing budget for the Blogger.com Business Services offering that will help to accelerate market share growth for this blogging platform.
l) Marketing Budget (% of Sales)
As Google typically spends on average 7% of gross contribution margin corporate-wide on integrating marketing campaigns, budgeting for this program is set at this figure. 7% of total Blogger.com revenues, estimates to be $450M based on AdSense revenue calculations form the company's 10K and 10Q filings (Google Investor Relations, 2012) will yield a marketing budget of $31.5M.
m) Customer Mix
At present the primary customer segment for Blogger.com are males, with graduate degrees, making over $100K a year or more, blogging about sports and food the majority of the time. This comes form the Quantcast analysis completed for the earlier section of this analysis. They are relatively young (25 -- 34) relative to other age segments and upwardly mobile. The focus of the marketing needs to be on appealing to their roles in companies, as many of them are in positions of leadership and management given their salary levels and educational attainment. Concentrating on the business value of Blogger.com to them complete with enhanced analytics, Business Intelligence (BI) and psychographic market-based segmentation will significantly improve the potential of upsells over time.
WordPress recently launched WordAds, a program competitive to AdSense in that WordPress will pay professional bloggers and companies a percentage of revenue gained every month from their blogging activity (Google Investor Relations, 2012). The metrics associated with this program are integrated into the workflow shown in Figure 5, Metrics and Analytics Workflow, from Front-end by Metrics Source to Band-end by CRM system. Wordpress is assuming that its business users will want to integrate blogging activity by prospects in the form of lead generation into their CRM systems. Google will need to define the metrics shown in this graphic, in addition to being able to quantify this workflow and its relative velocity, to effectively capture traffic and define revenue models from it.
Figure 5: Metrics and Analytics Workflow, from Front-end by Metrics Source to Back-end by CRM system