Google’s New Revenue Stream for Digital Publishers

Who will benefit from Google Consumer Surveys?

The major players in online business – Google, Apple, and Amazon – have two theories of thought on content. Apple and Amazon believe that premium content should come at a cost. These two retailers have developed successful online stores that have led to billions in sales.

Google on the other hand, believes that great content should remain free, with advertisers and sponsors supporting the associated costs. Google’s Adsense service has made billions of dollars based on this principle, as it places aligned text ads on search engine results pages.

This new potential revenue stream comes as some publishers get increasingly frustrated with Google giving away their content for free, in the form of headlines, photos, content snippets and full articles.

Google realizes it needs to persuade top content publishers to keep their content open so that it can be used to populate their search engine, and in turn, create pages for Adwords advertisements. I’d imagine Google is terrified of major publishers putting their content behind paywalls, so they are providing a new alternative with Google Consumer Surveys.

How Google Consumer Surveys will work

When visitors come to websites using surveys, they are asked to answer a question or perform an action before continuing on to the rest of the content. Advertisers and marketers pay to ask these questions and collect market research, which can be highly targeted. According to PC World, if the advertisers don’t want to target the entire population, they can segment by age, location or gender.

As PC World also points out, Google has the DoubleClick cookie to “infer age and gender, and uses IP addresses to approximate location and infer income and urban density via census data.”

In this program, publishers will be paid based on the number of responses their visitors give to the survey questions. Each answer will be worth five cents. If a publisher is not able to maintain a 10 percent completion rate on the survey questions, then they will not be able to continue providing the surveys.

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The effect of Google Consumer Surveys

Google, Apple, and Amazon have a culture around their business models where almost everything they do within it succeeds, be it sponsor-driven or consumer-driven. Google is amazing at generating revenue through advertising models, but hasn’t been successful in selling premium content.

Google Consumer Surveys seems to be different than its past forays. This program seems like Adsense part duex, but will doubtfully be as successful because the scale is off.  Advertising spending is in the trillions. Consumer media spending is close to a trillion. Market research, which Google Consumer Surveys appears to be targeting, is in the billions.

What Google is doing successfully is targeting another small B2B sector that it will likely kill. At the same time, big newspapers will be the beneficiaries of this program.

What are your thoughts on Google’s Consumer Surveys revenue stream? Do you think it will be nearly as successful as Adsense? Do you think readers are willing to answer questions, or will they bounce from the page? I’d love to read your thoughts in the comments below.


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