Google buys millions of its own search ads – with ads for Google and parent company Alphabet products top of Google search results 91 per cent of the time – according to data analysis by Semrush for the Wall Street Journal.
The analysis looked at 25 different hardware product search terms and conducted 25,000 searches – 1000 on each – to find that a Google product, more often than not, was the top search result.
For example, when ‘phones’ or ‘smart phones’ was inputted into a Google search 99.9 per cent of the time a Google Pixel would be advertised.
Searches for ‘carbon monoxide detector’, ‘smart speakers’, ‘smartwatches’, ‘streaming device’, ‘laptops’, ‘streaming stick’, ‘thermostat’, ‘smart doorbell’, ‘virtual reality’, ‘VR headset’, ‘smart lights’, and ‘smart plug, all presented either a Google or Alphabet product 100 per cent of the time.
Despite the Journal points out that “Google said that when it competes for ads, other advertisers are charged as if it wasn’t bidding, meaning its participation doesn’t directly inflate price”.
In an official statement, Google said: “We have consciously and carefully designed our marketing programs to not impact the ad auction. All our bids are excluded from the auction when determining the price paid by other advertisers, and we have strict rules and processes — set to tougher levels than our customers — to govern the use of our own ads products.”