Google: $3.2 billion impact on Illinois businesses

Posted May 25, 2010 at 12:02 p.m.

By Wailin Wong
Google generated $3.2 billion for Illinois businesses in 2009, the
search engine said Tuesday as part of a nationwide announcement about
the company’s impact on state economies.

The publication of the “Google’s Economic Impact” report marks the first
time the company has released this kind of data. Google calculated its
figures by estimating the profits businesses derive from advertising though the
search engine.

For example, a company can use Google AdWords to make sponsored links appear on the top or right-hand side of a search results page. Google calculated that businesses make an average of $2 in revenue for every $1 spent on AdWords, amounting to $1 in profit. The company also calculated that a click from the “natural results” that appear on the left-hand side of a search results page is worth 70 percent of an AdWords click.

Google also included in its numbers the estimated amount it paid to website publishers through its AdSense program, which places ads next to content on websites. The final data point is the amount of in-kind donations that Google made to non-profits by giving them free AdWords advertising.

In Illinois, the $3.2 billion included 160 “Google Grants” to non-profits totaling $3.9 million. On the search and advertising side, 57,700 advertisers and website publishers in the state benefited from Google Search, AdWords and AdSense, the company said.

Google unveiled its Illinois numbers at an event attended by Mayor Richard Daley and Dennis Sienko, a senior advisor in the state’s Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity. Daley praised the company’s “great commitment to this city” and its role as a driver of local innovation and entrepreneurship.

TSS-Radio, a local company that sells satellite radio parts and accessories, hosted the event. When TSS-Radio got started in 2005 as the brainchild of two childhood friends, Taylor Mitchell and Sean Harper, “we didn’t really have much to work with, but Google helped us out,” Mitchell said. The co-founders placed ads through Google AdWords and has since expanded to 15 employees. Mitchell estimates that his company makes $9 in sales revenues for every $1 spent on AdWords.

The numbers from Tuesday’s announcement do not take into account Google’s impact as a local employer, as the company has more than 300 full-time employees in Chicago. Jim Lecinski, Google’s Chicago-based managing director of U.S. sales and service, said the company plans to continue collecting data and may release a fuller picture in the future.

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  1. Sally Ride May 25, 2010 at 12:48 pm

    I have Google AdSense ads on my website, and the extra revenue helped keep my retail store form going belly up these last couple years.

  2. sotuhern May 25, 2010 at 12:53 pm

    It’s funny that you put a company in chicago that no one ever heard on online. I went to look at their site, and they are higher than other vendors, and only perform resales. I can see how they make $9 for every $1 they spend, since they are about 20% higher than their local competitor on the items i looked at. Now i’m wondering how much TSS paid to get their name in the paper.

  3. Droobie May 25, 2010 at 7:42 pm

    They’re a pretty big deal in Satellite Radio. I’m not sure which local competitor you’re talking about but the only Satellite Radio accessories I’ve ever found at a Best Buy has been antennas usually. The satellite radio section of those stores usually looks more like a ghost town.

  4. Dan Green May 28, 2010 at 8:34 a.m.

    Sotuhern, that is a ridiculously ignorant comment. TSS was the organization that hosted the event. It would only make sense that the reporter talk to them about how Google AdWords has impacted their business, considering that fact. What you are implying here is that the reporter and paper are both unethical, an unwarranted attack from someone who is either a competitor to TSS or just oblivious to how a story is developed and written.

  5. Dan Green May 28, 2010 at 10:03 a.m.

    Sotuhern, that is a remarkably ignorant comment. As stated in the article, TSS-Radio was hosting the event, so it only makes sense that the reporter would talk to them about how the use of Google has helped their business. If it didn’t benefit their business, why would they host the event. What you are alleging here is that the reporter and the Tribune acted unethically, which is ridiculous. You are obivously either from an organization that competes with TSS, or you just have no idea how stories are developed or written.