The tech giant said it would be cutting budgets for marketing by as much as half, according to CNBC, which saw internal documents from the company.
A Google spokesperson said some areas may not be cut by quite that much, since the company is doing “recalibrating” right now.
Instead, Google will only be focusing on a “select number of important marketing events” during the second half of the year, the spokesperson said, adding that the company still has a sizable marketing budget and wouldn’t be hurting, especially in digital areas.
In terms of the hiring freeze, Google representatives said it would be more of a slowdown, focusing more on not hiring as many new people in some areas. The company said there would still be onboarding for new employees who were hired but not started yet.
CEO Sundar Pichai said the company would be focused on recalibrating non-essential marketing earlier in the crisis, though no mention was made until now of any hiring freezes or actual budget cuts.
The company has also been pulling back on skills training resources for many employees.
But the virus simply made it necessary to take such action. Pichai said the situation was similar to the 2008 Great Recession, in which Google was “not immune” to the pandemic and suffered as its partnerships and connected businesses were suffering as well.
All of this comes after the initial expectation that Google’s marketing spending would be going up in 2020. In 2019, the company spent $18.46 billion on marketing and sales spending under one category, according to its last 10-K form. The company has been known to group marketing and sales expenses together.
That number encompasses expenditures for advertising and promotion and also compensation for employees working in marketing and sales.
The company saw a 15 percent increase in employees in that department last year, and increased its spending by over $400 million.