Recent news from the Far East and Europe that several economies are moving out of recession seemed to come as something of a surprise to a number of economists. To date China, Hong Kong, Japan, Australia, France, Germany, Portugal, and Greece have all reported figures suggesting they're on their way out of recession.
Yet our friends at Google are now sitting on probably the most accurate economic barometer of all. Google's management can see on a daily or, at worst, monthly basis how the world's major economies are doing. Even looking at the figures Google releases produces some fascinating insights.
Bearing in mind that Google isn't first in some world economies that are emerging from the "downturn" with vigor, the company's international sales figures, when compared with the U.S. and U.K. -- as released by them -- are striking.
Acknowledging that their currency hedging would have some impact, the figures are still significant enough to draw the conclusion that the world outside of the U.S. and the U.K. is significantly bolstering Google's financial performance. During the whole of 2008, Google was growing more than twice as fast outside the U.S. and U.K. as it was in the U.S., reflecting growth rates Google saw in its earlier years stateside hitting levels above 60 percent. Of course, this was before the crisis struck.
Post sub-prime catastrophe and global implosion, all areas of the world have been affected in terms of the growth rate -- but the differences in terms of scale have become even more exaggerated. Instead of growing at twice the U.S. rate, the international side of Google's business has been growing in 2009 more than five times faster than in 2008! The 2.4 percent growth rate in the U.S. economy looks a little sad.
But not by comparison with poor little U.K. It's very sad to report that my home country is by far the most devastated by the economic crisis -- certainly in terms of search and Google's figures.
And, regrettably, even though the U.K.'s 8 percent drop in 2009 so far (compared with the previous year at the same time) is exacerbated by the poor performance of the British Pound, these figures give a reflection of the U.K. that rings true. You have to wonder if Google closing its U.K. agency commission scheme at exactly the same time was a wise move for Google -- though it had been planned some 18 months earlier and before the recessionary tornado.
What does this mean for search marketers? Do what Google is doing, my friends! Expand your business in the more buoyant economies of the world now -- and that will bolster your strength and competitiveness at home.
As any marketer will tell you, it's far easier to sell your services in a rapidly growing market rather than a declining or flat market. There's a lot of discussion over whether this is V-, U-, or W-shaped recovery. But that isn't what you need to worry about.
The recovery isn't arriving first in the U.S. or the U.K., but "over there." Your business may not be suitable for expansion overseas, but even if your normal business isn't international, there may well still be opportunities for consultancy or training services for you or your senior management team.
Your best first step: undertake some keyword research and see what people are looking for in other markets to see how that matches up with your offering. You may find that this research inspires you to consider developments of your services to make them more "transportable."
And as far as the economists are concerned, Google stockholders should persuade the company to release more information about its financial and business performance in all countries of the world. With Google's strength, this could only be a winning strategy and would help marketers plan their budgets and campaign strategies. The figures would probably tell us more about economics than the economists can.