Channel Sales (partnerships with local resellers of AdWords) is one of Google’s fastest growing divisions. That’s according to Global Channel Sales Director Todd Rowe who was interviewed along with an executive entourage in a Google mega-panel at ILM ’14 today.
James Croom, Google My Business Senior Product Marketing Manager, Google
Max Frause, Global Business Lead, Google Shopping, Google
Christine Merritt, Head of Premier SMB Partnerships, Channel Sales North America, Google
Todd Rowe, Managing Director, Global Channel Sales, Google
Francisco Uribe, Adwords Express Product Manager, Google
Moderator: Matt Booth, CEO, Connectivity
According to Rowe, this was born in a meeting with Larry, Sergey, and then-CEO Eric Schmidt about tackling the SMB sector through partners. And that’s a departure from Google’s normal “invented here” way (my words). So the channel sales division was born out of this necessity.
“The good news is there’s 100 million SMBs,” said Rowe. “The bad news is there’s 100 million SMBs. How do you wrap your arms around that?”
The discussion, moderated by former BIA/Kelsey Chief Strategy Offer Matt Booth, reached into many functional areas relevant to local and SMBs. Those included product listings ads, AdWords Express, Google My Business (GMB), and of course mobile.
— Product listings ads are growing within search results, particularly in mobile where users are high-intent shoppers. The product data are primarily from retailers and partners, but the next step is to get better real time inventory data for SMBs (likely through partners).
— Listings integrity is another sticky area, given the quickly changing SMB landscape and the fact that they aren’t always self-policing location data in Google (including Maps). So finding the right sources for accurate listings is an ongoing strategy for GMB.
— The biggest question coming from AdWords reseller partners is how to offer YouTube to advertisers in more turnkey ways. “We are working to provide more scalable ways to create content,” said Christine Merritt. “If we can scale it well for SMBs, it will take off.”
— The way towards this video goal, according Rowe is to templatize — in both production and distribution. SMB video quality has lots of variance, given typical cost of high production quality. Local videographers, templates and standardized pricing are the path.
— In mobile, the strategy is to go beyond the cliche of “mobile-first” in cases where the market is “mobile-only” (emerging markets). “It’s a great force function to design something simple that lets them get online with google and grow their business,” said Frause.