Skip to Content

Google’s Susan Wojcicki: Where we’re heading

It’s been said before, but it’s worth saying again: Susan Wojcicki doesn’t get enough credit outside Silicon Valley.

As Google’s (GOOG) senior vice president of advertising, her work has been instrumental to the Internet giant’s success: Wojcicki spearheaded the advertising platform AdWords, Google’s biggest moneymaker, and pushed for the acquisition of YouTube in 2006. And Wojcicki’s ad products accounted for 96% of Google’s overall revenues last year, bringing in almost $36.5 billion. So it’s fair to say that when she speaks, at least within the halls of Google, people listen.

At Morgan Stanley’s (MS) Technology, Media and Telecom Conference earlier today, Wojcicki weighed in on a number of Google topics. Perhaps top of the heap these days is the issue of Google+, which has been subject to intense scrutiny. A feature called “Search Plus Your World,” introduced in January, integrated Google+ photos and posts into Google’s search results. The move caused some privacy advocates to cry foul and may have been cause for the U.S. Trade Federal Trade Commission to expand its antitrust probe to include Google+.

“With Google+, it’s not just about building a social network,” explained Wojcicki. “It’s the idea of what is our experience when it revolves around people based on who you know, based on who you have in your Circles, how we [as users] think about the information that we [Google] give to you.”

Regardless of the controversy surrounding “Search Plus,” Wojcicki believes the concept is a sound one and ought to play a significant role in the development of new, more personalized Google products. Said Wojcicki: “That’s how real world information works, right? It works based on information that I have gotten from my friends. It matters who has recommended a specific book to me. It matters who has actually cited specific articles. The more we can make it personalized, the more we think something like the search experience will be more useful to you.”

Wojcicki also stressed the promise of mobile advertising, arguing that there’s an open opportunity simply in terms of making advertisers more mobile-friendly. (Many advertisers don’t even have a mobile landing page, she admits.) Users are far less likely to want to engage with content, sign up for services, or make purchases if the ad they’re viewing isn’t optimized for their device.

Beyond that, mobile advertising could serve relevant ads based on location and format ads to resemble mobile apps, with scrolling and multiple screens. “You can do a lot of things with a mobile app that right now you can’t actually do with an ad,” says Wojcicki. “If you start bringing that, should you be able to move the product? Should you able to see lots of different pages? Those are some of the things we’re looking at.”