TEXT OF STORY
Kai Ryssdal:So did you know that this is National Small Business Week? Yeah, I didn’t know it either. But to mark the occasion, one very big business took center stage today. At an event on Capitol Hill, Google released a report that says its advertising helped generate $54 billion in economic activity last year. A tidy sum.
As Brett Neely reports, there’s more to it than meets the eye.
BRETT NEELY: Google says that $54 billion is essentially the profit its customers made as a result of using its advertising tools. The report breaks that number down state by state — highlighting successful small businesses that use Google ads.
In Blacksburg, Va., Jim Barney says his company ClickandPledge.com wouldn’t exist without Google.
JIM BARNEY: It is our number one driver of leads and sales in this company without question.
Small business owner Tom Ptach runs an office supply business in Steamboat Springs, Colo. He says maintaining his ads with Google was too time consuming.
TOM PTACH: I would have been happy to pay them a lot more if I was getting the clicks but I just wasn’t getting the clicks to my site.
Shar VanBoskirk is an analyst at Forrester Research. She wonders whether Google’s ads are really generating more business.
SHAR VANBOSKIRK: Or is this just business that was going on anyway that Google happened to get in and take a share of. And they don’t talk about that.
The report comes out as competitors and privacy advocates fear the company has become too powerful. The feds almost blocked Google’s purchase of a mobile advertising company. VanBoskirk says the company’s trying to polish its image — fast.
VANBOSKIRK: It’s not enough for them to just sit and acknowledge that they’ve changed the way the advertising world works, they want to assign a number to it so that everyone will say, Oh, you know this has been a value of X.
She says the report is a way for Google to prove its value, especially as lawmakers consider bills that would affect the company.
In Washington, I’m Brett Neely for Marketplace.
As a nonprofit news organization, our future depends on listeners like you who believe in the power of public service journalism.
Your investment in Marketplace helps us remain paywall-free and ensures everyone has access to trustworthy, unbiased news and information, regardless of their ability to pay.
Donate today — in any amount — to become a Marketplace Investor. Now more than ever, your commitment makes a difference.