Ever since Google started, the Google homepage has been purposely sparse. Just a logo and a search box. And for all the money Google has made on advertising, they’ve never even considered selling a single square of the Google homepage for advertising. But from now until October, when the iPad mini is expected to debut, they’re using that incredibly valuable space to push the Nexus 7 tablet. Hey, it’s their space… it could work.
Before you say that no one goes to google.com anymore, remember that there are hundreds of millions of people in this world who don’t know what Chrome is, who don’t know how to search from the address bar. Google sites saw 190 million unique visitors in July of this year alone according to comScore. That includes all of Google’s properties, yes. But a giant chunk of that is homepage visits. And the people who search through google.com are also, coincidentally, the same people who probably hadn’t heard of a Nexus 7 before.
It’s impossible to quantify how much an ad placement like that is actually worth; Google doesn’t offer it, and even if it did its advertising program is based on a bidding system. But it’s no understatement to say that the company is giving its tentpole hardware product the equivalent of (tens of?) millions in advertising. Free advertising. And it can do it from now until October.
Why is that important? Because in a month or two, Apple will reportedly announce its own 7-inch tablet, and will receive plenty of free marketing of its own in the form of live blogs and evening news reports. And the only advantage Google knows it has for sure over Apple is it has a head start. Every person who buys a Nexus 7 now is a person who won’t be buying an Apple product in October. It’s time to get the word out. And nobody but nobody has reach like Google.