I love Google
A recent leak brought us some details on Google's internal goals for 2006, and the summary of that document is an enlightening read. Push the community angle and bring in more users. Increase the scale of innovation (Google today spends about $780 million a year on R&D). And of course, maintain the company's commanding lead in the Internet search market.
Google is often accused of flying blind and rudderless, and coming up with a cornucopia of new ideas without any overarching master plan to tie it all together -- or to make money. But this document shows that there is a plan, there are plenty of measurable targets, and management does know how to convert innovation into cash.
That brings me to the most important goal in Google's books: expand its marketing reach. In 2006, the company wanted to push through $1 billion of sales for its advertisers. That mark will only grow bigger year by year, and it's not just an online scheme.
Google's AdSense marketing system has captured 25% of the online advertising market today, and the share is growing. According to TNS Media Intelligence, the U.S. Internet advertising scene today commands about $9 billion of the total $152 billion spent on marketing in the nation this year. It's a small slice, but Nielsen Media Research says that online spending for the first half of 2006 grew 49% over 2005. Meanwhile, traditional media outlets like newspapers, billboards, radio spots, and TV advertising seem to have maxed out their advertiser attraction, and all together, the ad market is growing at about the rate of inflation.
Google wants to change all pf that. There is an AdSense for radio in the works, thanks to the acquisition of the dMarc radio advertising platform this spring. The company is dabbling in print ads, and the Intel
In short, it won't be long until AdSense powers ad distribution on your local radio station, your favorite cable news network, those billboards alongside I-95, and on the cell phone in your pocket. Google's plethora of users are so important because every signed-in account collects data about that person's browsing habits, likes, and dislikes, giving Google a better chance to serve up ads that might actually interest their audience. The biggest search provider could soon be the biggest advertising powerhouse in the world.
So give Google a pessimistic 15% market share in the U.S. advertising playground. Furthermore, let's keep gross margins at 60% -- even though they're rising -- and pretend that SG&A will stay at 17% of revenues. Never mind that such a calculation would place R&D expenditures at $26 billion, more than three times Pfizer's
Pfizer and Intel are Motley Fool Inside Value picks, while AT&T is a former Stock Advisor selection.
Fool contributor Anders Bylund holds no position in any of the companies discussed here, darnit. If only he could stop writing about Google long enough to pick up a few shares! You can check out Anders' holdingsif you like, and Foolishdisclosure is always worth a read.