The 2011/05/02 at 14:24
Sébastien Badault, Sales Strategy Manager of Google France, started out his career in the USA at Sports.com before joining the communications company Silverman Marketing and Media as Clientele Manager. After becoming Head of the marketing division of Fila then Textuel/La Mine (TBWA group), he then held the positions of Marketing Manager for France, then European Business Development Manager over the five years he spent at Amazon.com.
Commerce International: How is Google organised in France?
Sébastien Badault: “Google France is in the midst of a transition period. Today we employ around 200 persons, and we expect there to be 400 of us in two years from now! Until now, our teams were mainly made up of salespersons, persons working in marketing and partnerships. Indeed, we manage in Paris the 500 largest advertisers; we are organised according to sectors of activity with the employees themselves coming from these same sectors, and we support businesses in their digital development. In a few months’ time, we are going to open an R&D centre; Google France will thus be employing engineers as well as salespersons, as is the case in New York and London. We also expect to launch a European Cultural Centre in order to develop partnerships in this milieu and to show how our technologies can help to save existing heritage – for example, by putting online works of which only a single copy exists.”
What does Internet advertising represent today?
S.B.: “The Internet advertising market is calculated to be worth around one billion euros in 2010 in France by the IREP. It is growing very strongly due to the increase in search engine marketing investments. Many advertisers are not yet fully capitalising on these, so growth potential is still considerable.”
What are the affected sectors?
S.B.: “Today, the most present sectors are still the ones that were the first to get launched on Internet: high-tech products of course, but also travel services – in France, over 30 % of trips are booked on Internet; retailing – Internet has enabled product offers to be widened, niche markets to be created and the number of players to increase; finally, finance, with insurance, loans and so on, for these products have a very high added value and Internet allows for prices to be compared. Often, businesses that are very present on Internet are a little less present in traditional media forms, whereas the opposite is less true.”
How do you explain the success of search engines?
S.B.: “All you need is a bank card and a web site to launch an advertising campaign with Google AdWords! There is no barrier to entry in terms of production costs: an SME can generate traffic whatever its budget. And with a simple AdWords account, it can establish presence in 130 countries, with key words and different creations. On top of this, by putting together AdWords and Analytics, a business can measure its return on investment, namely where visitors stopped in conversion, and thus fix the situation if it appears that there are too many pages before the expected conversion, for example. This explains why we have tens of thousands of clients in France.”
Can an SME or a VSE benefit from these opportunities?
S.B.: “Firstly, online trade has created an offer of products not found in stores, supplying opportunities to small businesses – for example iCasque.com, a start-up in the south of France offers on its site over 2,700 models of helmets for two-wheeled vehicles! Above all, Internet is a wonderful globalisation tool: a survey carried out by the McKinsey firm in March notably shows that so-called ‘high-web’ SMEs that use Internet intensely grow twice as quickly as others and export twice more. In this way, small businesses can get started on their domestic markets while simple translation or opportunity search tools for example, canallow them to sell overseas. Let’s not forget that Pixmania started off its activity in France before extending its services to 30 countries in Europe! Still today, significant margins for manoeuvring subsist for SMEs and VSEs that decide to go on Internet.”
Are small and medium-sized companies sufficiently present on the Web?
S.B.: “According to a survey carried out by Ipsos in December 2010, only 4 French SMEs out of 10 have a web site, and 3 out of 10 really use them. There is thus a lot of work to be done. This is the target of our ‘Mon entreprise en ligne’ (My Enterprise Online) programme that we are launching this month with our partners. This aims to give businesses that only use Internet a little or not at all simple and free tools enabling them to establish their Web presence. To ensure promotion and show VSE and SME managers what can be done on Internet, we are will be embarking in May on a bus tour with our partners to 11 cities in France.”
The main tools
Google AdWords is Google’s search marketing tool. It allows businesses to make themselves known though advertising links, identified as such and placed at the right of or above search results. Its success can notably be explained by flexible campaigns, the possibility of controlling costs by setting a budget, as well as by a payment system based on the number of clicks on the ad (read the testimony opposite). Google Analytics allows webmasters to follow, free of charge, traffic on their web sites and to observe visitor behaviour in detail. The aim is to allow them to identify changes to make to their web sites in order to optimise the return on investment of their online ad campaigns. Google AdSense allows a web site editor to monetize its audience. The webmaster defines spots on the web site, where Google places contextual advertising related to the page content, and the editor receives in exchange a share of the sum paid by the advertiser. Another solution for web site editors is to place the Google search engine on their web sites and to receive income in exchange for the diffusion of Google ads on search result pages.
First page and low budget
“I was looking to improve the referencing of my web site because only people who knew ‘Mon rêve en bois’ visited it,” recalls Astrid Dugas, Manager and founder of this VSE that creates and sells wooden toys. “As I wanted to get onto the first page of Google quickly while keeping my costs under control, I opted for AdWords. I tried this system with a budget of around 400 to 500 euros to start off with by buying the keyword ‘jouet en bois’. And it worked really well: I recuperated three times the amount invested in client feedback! Today, I use it, especially in low season, and I alternate direct promotion campaigns addressed to my clients with Internet campaigns. My budget remains identical, but I intend to double it from September onwards. As our offer is different, we know that we will have sales if we are on the first page of Google – by natural referencing, we will only arrive on the third page.”