Every business should be an online business: Google
“Every business should be an online business,” said Kevin O’Kane, Managing Director of Google Marketing Solutions, Asia-Pacific at a recent Growing with Google event held in Singapore. These words reflect the digital times we live in and why businesses are seeking out the online space to innovate and grow. The simple reason being everybody is online and online is the biggest marketplace currently out there.
When you think of the internet or the online realm, Google is at the helm of it. Its various products over the years have made sure that people around the world who are online use at least one of them. Whether it is Search, YouTube or Gmail, Google has strived to make sure that these services offer more than what actually meets the eyes. And for small businesses, these offerings have had the ability to completely change their lives.
Over the decades, we have moved from the radio to the television to the internet which has now gone mobile. Google believes the mobile is the present and the foreseeable future and everyone needs to be online. The next wave of technological innovation is on the internet and Google has been working to create an ecosystem that can create “deeper relations between companies and consumers,” Karim Temsamani, President, Google Asia-Pacific said. Half of the world’s population is on the internet with Asia making up for more than 50 per cent of the total number of internet users.
For SMBs today, going online is the biggest and perhaps the most important way to get their brand out there. A lot of success stories have come out from this, and Google shred some of the stories recently of how small businesses were able to reach customers through Google’s products. And while 98 per cent of businesses in Asia are SMBs, there’s a good amount of that percentage that is yet to go online.
India being one of the most populated countries in the world, still has a large population that is offline. As per a KPMG study last year, around 61 per cent of around 51 million SMBs in India are still offline, and that’s a massive and surprising number considering how mobile internet has erupted in recent times.
Next billion users
For Google, India has been a key market in its initiative to get the next billion users online. One of the ways the company has been doing this is through its Android Go initiative, which is a software designed for entry-level phones to work smoothly and effectively. Through this initiative, Google wants to see a new wave of low-cost phones starting at $30 so that feature phone users or first time smartphone users can go online and use Google’s products and services. Internet Saathi is another initiative that wants to see more women in rural India go online.
These initiatives are some of the ways Google sees will help get more and more people on the internet. For SMBs, going online will allow them to increase their contribution to India’s GDP by 10 per cent, last year’s study concluded. More than that, however, is the benefits going online – digital profits growing twice as fast as offline SMBs and the ability to reach a wider customer base, among other things.
Google has also undertaken initiatives like Digital Unlocked to train SMBs, informing them about the benefits of going online and equipping them with digital skills. Google also launched an app called Primer that is designed to teach digital marketing skills in a quick and easy way. The app has been downloaded over 5 million times and is available in English, Hindi and Telugu.
SMBs that have made it
The SMB heroes program recognises SMBs that have grown thanks to the digital space. Last year, Google saw responses from over 142 cities in India. Three winners emerged. Shantanu Pathak and Aditya Kulkarni of CareNx, which provides health solutions for high risk pregnancies to over 6000 pregnant women in more than 200 villages. Leveraging the digital platform, they created a first of its kind app that connects pregnant women with gynaecologists to monitor vitals and provide recommendations for any identified health risks.
Arpita Ganesh of Buttercups, which is an online lingerie business is committed to make customisable lingerie for women. They have successfully built their online presence which has resulted in a 13X increase in revenue in just 18 months and a growth of nearly 200% since 2015. And Farida Gupta of Faridagupta.com, which is a women apparel business committed to bringing together a varied range of traditional crafts and techniques. They have successfully built their online presence which has resulted in an increase of 400% year on year in their profitability.
Helping SMBs and keeping user data safe at the same time
One of the ways in which these SMBs are able to grow through Google Search and other service is through advertising. Advertising is also what keeps Google’s services alive and kicking. But when you talk about targeted advertising, one cannot sidestep the fact that for ads to work, Google does gather quite a lot of user data, and hearing something like that today can be a very scary thing indeed. Facebook is still answering for its massive mistake of letting Cambridge Analytica access personal information of over 85 million users. So where does Google stand on keeping user data safe?
“We take the information of our users incredibly seriously and we do a lot of work around it. We have an incredible safety record in terms of protecting the information of our users,” Temsamani said.
Google says that ads are important to keep the internet free and open, and there are a number of policies in place to make sure it stays that way. “There is a fundamental need to protect the ecosystem. At Google we recognise the responsibility to protect free web and our partners,” said Arjun Narayan, Head of Trust and Safety, Google Asia-Pacific. In 2017, Google launched 28 new ad policies and 20 new publisher policies.
Narayan said that the company took down more than 3.2 billion bad ads in 2017 at a rate of 100 bad ads per second. This was accomplished with the help of technology and human resources. “In 2017, we removed 320,000 bad publishers from our ad network. We also blocked nearly 90,000 websites and 700,000 mobile apps for policy violations,” he added.
Google’s efforts in removing bad ads and publishers is part of a bigger process of making the internet free of fake news. This is not something that can happen overnight, or something that may have an end. It’s an ongoing process – one that also requires the company to inform users about how their data is being used. There is never enough when it comes to educating our users. There is always more we can do in this space. We want to make sure our community is aware of these options.
Source by indiatoday..Share: