While Google dominates the search market of South Eastern Europe, it has never had a real presence here. Until now. Google just announced its official presence in Croatia, from where it will run all operations for the rest of the region, including Serbia, Albania, and beyond.
Internet marketing, especially search engine marketing, is still in its infancy in the region. Leading local web portals, such as Index and B92, still account for a lion’s share of the internet marketing investments. Google’s AdWords programme has only recently become popular among advertisers in the region, although campaigns are frequently mismanaged.
A rising number of AdWords-certified individuals and companies are slowly changing this. As far as competition on the pay-per-click front is concerned, Google can count on Facebook’s internal ads, as well as regional systems such as eTarget.
Hrabren Suknaic, Google’s regional manager for the Adriatic region says their main concern is raising awareness about the importance of search among Croatian and regional companies. While companies in South Eastern Europe are well aware of Google, few US-based internet companies have a true presence in the region.
Google’s move has been welcomed by web professionals in the region. Now we just have to see how serious Suknaic and his team really are.