Study: Google generated $1.17 billion in Alabama economic activity last year
Google products last year generated a total of $1.17 billion in economic activity in Alabama, according to the company’s annual economic impact report released on Thursday.
The report advised that 17,700 businesses, nonprofits, publishers, creators and developers in the Yellowhammer State used Google products to increase their online presence and connect with the local people and communities they serve, generating that impressive level of economic activity.
Products accounted for in the report include Google Search, Google Play, YouTube and Google advertising tools (such as Gmail ads).
Red Land Cotton in Moulton was highlighted in Google’s nationwide economic impact report in a case study that details how the Lawrence County company utilized digital tools to increase their online presence and reach customers. Red Land Cotton, established in 2016 as a direct-to-consumer product for cotton products, credits their online thriving business largely to Google traffic.
“We always ask people how they found us, and it’s almost always one of our Google Ads,” said Anna Brakefield, co-founder of Red Land Cotton.
With a farm-to-home business model and an adept use of digital tools like Google Ads and Google Analytics, Red Land Cotton reportedly saw 40% growth year-over-year. Although the COVID-19 pandemic shut down in-person sales, Red Land Cotton’s online business increased, with demand nearly doubling in the spring of 2020 — mainly due to a 150% increase in Google traffic.
Google Ads for Search and Gmail ads were key in that spike, with Brakefield adding, “They allow us to be seen and align people with what they want to see.”
And, due to Google Analytics, the company noticed their ads were reaching younger shoppers — an insight that Red Land Cotton will use to plan upcoming products.
It should also be noted that Google’s presence in Alabama extends beyond the digital realm.
In 2015, the company announced it would invest $600 million in North Alabama with the construction of a data center in Jackson County. Since that facility’s 2018 groundbreaking, Google has worked to implement several programs throughout the state, such as the Grow with Google Digital Coach program in Birmingham, to ensure educational and professional needs are met for all. Google has also partnered with community institutions across the state to bring needed skills training and resources to Alabama nonprofits and organizations, totaling more than $4 million in grants. In addition to monetary support, the company has partnered with more than 100 Alabama organizations to train tens of thousands on digital training.
On Thursday, Google also announced plans to invest more than $7 billion and create 10,000 new full-time jobs across the United States this year. Alabama was not specifically mentioned in those plans. Right now, it is estimated that Google’s Jackson County presence supports the jobs of over 250 people in a variety of full-time and external supplier roles.
“I believe a lasting economic recovery will come from local communities, and the people and small businesses that give them life,” stated Sundar Pichai, CEO of Google and Alphabet. “Google wants to be a part of that recovery. That’s why we plan to invest over $7 billion in offices and data centers across the U.S. and create at least 10,000 new full-time Google jobs in the U.S. this year.”
Sean Ross is the editor of Yellowhammer News. You can follow him on Twitter @sean_yhn