BP Buys AdWords on Google, Yahoo for Oil Spill to "Help" Victims
June 9, 2010 11:30 AM
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BP CEO Tony Hayward
Company-sponsored links will appear first on oil-related searches
recently bought search terms like
and other oil-related searches on
in an attempt to "assist those who are most impacted and help them find the right forms and the right people quickly and effectively," according to a BP spokeswoman.
BP has a lot on their plate right now with a number of
to seal the well completely over the past several weeks and even more trouble with the
they've received in lieu of this oil crisis.
Buying the search terms
will allow links to BP's oil response sites to
before any other websites' when terms relating to the oil crisis are typed into Google or Yahoo's search engines.
"Most companies that are smart are buying relevant search terms to increase their visibility on the Internet," said Terry Heymeyer, a crisis management teacher at Rice University's Jones Graduate School of Management. "As long as they are providing factual and timely information in a transparent way and doing interviews with other media sources as well, I don't see any reason why they shouldn't be buying search terms."
How many search terms were purchased by BP and how much they spent is unknown, as Google and Yahoo refused to comment on the topic. But according to Rachel Carr, a Yahoo spokeswoman, ad words cost "as little as 1 cent per user click and can go up from there." The cost depends on the category of and demand for the search terms.
"In any crisis response situation, one of the first things you do is look at what's happening in Google -- it's a pretty cut and dry tactical move," said Kent Jarrell, senior vice president at Washington consulting firm
who handles crisis management. "I do it with all of my clients, because if we aren't buying the terms, somebody else is."
In response to
saying that BP is buying the search terms to distract readers from bad publicity on other news sites, Heymeyer said BP's advertisement links are highlighted "sponsored links" very clearly, and if readers don't want to go to the site, they don't have to. Though, according to Kevin Ryan, CEO of Motivity Marketing in California, most people can't tell the difference between a sponsored ad like BP's and a regular news page.
"If you look at it from BP's perspective it's a brilliant move," said Ryan. "The other option BP had was to just not do this and let the news interpret what's going on. But they're getting so much bad press that directing traffic to their own site is a great PR strategy."
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BP buying Google ads
6/11/2010 5:41:54 PM
BP buying Google ads shows that giants such as BP are beginning to understand how powerful the Internet has become for brand building.
I feel that BP could be much more effective, though. If you search “oil spill” on Google you will see that BP gets only one ad spot on top of that page. BP could be paying a lot of money if everybody looking for that search term would click on their ad.
Google surely will donate the money made from the BP ad to help clean up the gulf region, won’t they ;-) and use it as a publicity stunt?
BP could get better results at less cost by occupying more natural search listings for the term ‘oil spill’ and many related terms, quickly establishing themselves as an authority in the field. Over 80% of all information seekers don’t click on ads, they click on ‘natural | organic’ listings. Natural listings are ‘free’, if you don’t count your time AND preserve your brand value at the same time.
There are several ways for BP to search engine optimise for the term ‘oil spill’ and related ones, namely article marketing and online press releases. The most obvious one is video marketing: Video marketing can gain top search engine rankings fast. Just see the two videos on Google’s ‘oil spill’ search results page.
Video can also work very well for brand building and reaches an immense audience. After all YouTube has already become the 2nd largest search engine.
Plus video allows you to market to the two second largest search engines at the same time!
This at a fraction of a fraction of what BT is spending now since BP has most of the ‘marketing’ material anyway, whereas a Google ‘oil spill’ ad, they need to continue to buy to make an impact.
Additionally social media would allow them to participate in ‘oil spill’ discussions in real time, thus reaching a much more targeted audience and being able to interact right then and there when opinions are formed – free.
BP facing even more financial and brand damage won’t help anyone, so besides cleaning up the gulf region I hope they will use the Internet even more to rebuild. I guess the better position BP is in, the more it can and will do.
Karl zu Ortenburg
"This week I got an iPhone. This weekend I got four chargers so I can keep it charged everywhere I go and a land line so I can actually make phone calls." -- Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg
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