There’s a long article today by Kevin Delaney in the WSJ (sub req’d) about Google’s efforts to woo advertisers into its print and audio ads tests:
There have been some hiccups. Mr. Schmidt said in October that in tests of print-ad sales, “the first iteration didn’t work.” Google executives have given the system a major overhaul since then, giving publications more control than in the initial version and focusing on those that publish frequently, such as daily newspapers. A major initiative Google launched in recent years to sell display ads, such as banners, on partner Web sites hasn’t had a significant impact in that market, according to industry executives. However, Google says sales of such ads are rising, and its display-ad initiative attracted some big advertisers to Google and provided it with a platform for rolling out other types of ads.
Some question how effective Google’s automated online systems will be for selling ads in other media, given that such sales traditionally involve personal relationships and negotiations by advertisers and their agencies. At the same time, some on Madison Avenue fear that Google’s ultimate goal is to get large advertisers to bypass them and plan and buy all types of advertising directly through Google. But Google says the worries are unwarranted. “Five years from now there will be more work done by those agencies,” says Google Advertising Sales Vice President Tim Armstrong, though Mr. Schmidt predicts some types of work ad agencies do could change.
One key to Google’s latest efforts will be its success in wooing small- and medium-size businesses. The company won’t say how many advertisers already buy online ads through its system or break down its advertisers by company size. But it disclosed last year as part of a lawsuit that it had more than 400,000 advertisers who bought online ads using its system.
There are many things to discuss here, but also noteworthy is the discussion of how traditional media impact search volumes:
Some bigger advertisers especially like the idea that Google can help them track the effectiveness of not only ads on the Web but in traditional media. At the meeting for advertisers last month, executives presented Google Trends, a service that allows users to view the relative volume of queries for a given keyword consumers are searching for, such as “Nintendo,” over time. Karen Crow, a director for Google’s ad sales business, said the company was working to help measure consumer response to ads in TV, radio and print. In one test, Google cross-referenced print or TV promotions for a product with activity on the Web. “Every single time they did an offline promotion you could see an immediate impact” on search query volumes, Ms. Crow told the attendees.
If Google is able to successfully create a “holistic” system here that ties together traditional and online media and is able to build metrics around the whole thing, the company will have created something incredibly powerful.
Greg Sterling is the founding principal of Sterling Market Intelligence, a consulting and research firm focused on online consumer and advertiser behavior and the relationship between the Internet and traditional media, with an emphasis on the local marketplace.