It’s been hard to find any flaws in Google’s approach over the past couple of decades. The tech behemoth has managed to make once-dominant companies like Yahoo seem like an afterthought and relegated successful search engines like AltaVista, WebCrawler, and Ask Jeeves to people’s memory banks.
Google has adapted to the changing marketplace, pivoting to smartphones with its Android OS and creating a paid-media advertising duopoly with Facebook. And just like Apple, Netflix, Amazon, and Facebook, Google has a target painted on its back in terms of attracting jealousy and criticism — these monster brands are hard to compete with.
But we’re never worried that their core business models are in danger. Facebook, despite data uncertainty, has built a massively successful and influential business. It’s even achieved market segmentation via acquisitions, with Instagram attracting younger users and Facebook remaining a mainstay for users approaching middle age.
Likewise, Apple, 12 years after the iPhone’s debut, still sets the standard. Even if it loses a small audience share to Android phones, there’s no real cause for concern. Amazon is in the same boat, never concerned with immediate success. It delays its own gratification to ensure customers are happy, knowing it will eventually gain market share. Achieving market penetration through Amazon Prime, Amazon Web Services, and more, the company has worked to make sure it’s indispensable in various aspects of customers’ daily lives.
But we have started to see a little chink in Netflix’s impenetrable armor. The brand is winning awards and defining pop culture, but its free-spending days of even a couple years ago are over. Canceling Marvel shows may have surprised some, and Disney will be a formidable competitor. But more interesting shifts come with moves like the cancellation of newer originals such as “One Day at a Time.”
Netflix isn’t going anywhere. But with strong competitors joining its space and a growing recognition that it can’t simply buy every show viewers want the platform to host, the brand is looking at a shifting landscape. What if Hulu, Amazon, or Disney buys the rights to air NFL games? Those TV rights, up in three years, could drastically change the streaming marketplace. Visit our website and find best 32 inch smart tvs reviews
And that’s the point: We get comfortable and accept that companies will always keep their place in the hierarchy forever. We even do this in the tech sector, an industry built on the idea that nothing stays the same — or should. By no means do these brands appear likely to join the ranks of Kodak or Blockbuster, but it’s important to consider the changes that aren’t visible yet — but are right below the surface.
And that brings us back to Google: While the brand continues to innovate, its core revenue-generating model doesn’t address analytics or voice, two areas ripe for growth in the coming years.
Right now, Google is focused on acquisition analytics. Nearly 90 percent of Google’s revenue comes from advertising. Google Analytics 360 falls under the DoubleClick team, so it’s heavily tied to its advertising business; that’s a model that has worked well.
Google Analytics is general and familiar; most importantly, it works. But companies like Adobe are giving Google some competition. Adobe is sometimes considered the company that runs on Photoshop; however, its stock was up 29 percent in 2018, capping 15 straight positive quarters.
Adobe is aiming at the analytics market, especially with large enterprises, an area where free analytics platforms typically don’t scale. Another analytics area where Adobe hopes to make an impact: tracking. Brands need a larger picture beyond how and when to acquire a customer. Adobe’s innovative product focuses on data integration and analytics across the entire customer journey, allowing brands to map out how they’ll create experiences to attract their customers, not merely how they’ll create an ad.
Voice is an even more visible point of potential trouble for Google, but it’s one the brand is already looking to combat. If voice search someday overtakes the search engine’s text search functionality — or dips into it significantly — Google will be left without one of its main sources of revenue.
This is why Google has done a smart job of creating Google Home and staking its claim in the smart speaker market — and also adapting that to home video. It’s also made some of its properties — Gmail, Chrome, YouTube — staples that people utilize on a daily basis. That opens Google up to pivots that may become necessary if voice search gains increased momentum alongside mobile use. With 27 percent already using voice search, it’s not a far-fetched possibility.
As long as Google can grab a significant portion of the smart home market, the brand will be able to tie its other services together, creating a bundled offering — and ensuring consumers don’t have a reason to use any other suite of services. By diversifying its portfolio, Google is working to assure its success, despite looming threats.
Needless to say, the next five years will be fascinating. If history truly is deemed to repeat itself, one of these five behemoth companies may not hold the same position by 2024. But it’s up to competitors to push these brands — and their industries — to the cutting edge.