Mar 27, 2006 Search and SEO
I just finished reading a newsweek article about a recent experiment by Google to marry their online advertisers with print advertising.
Neglecting the concept of ad targetting altogether, the article touches on the ROI of a few of the ads. One advertiser complains that they spent $3,000 for a spot but had less than $200 in sales. Turns out they were trying to sell spybot software to a bunch of frugal readers in Budget Living (who most likely already know about such software, only more free).
Another advertiser was able to test unfamiliar waters. But why an HTML software company would want to hoc their warez in Martha Stewart Living is beyond me. For them, it was a huge opportunity to test an otherwise untestable environment. Typically a page ad goes for $59,000 in the magazine. It targets homemakers, interior designers, culinary arts, and (I guess as of now) web-page-DIYers. The advertiser got a half page for $4000. Not bad.
Still for Google, revenue positive this was not. I’d guess they brought in less than $10,000 for the page that probably wasn’t discounted much beyond the $59,000 regular ad rate.
Buying whole pages and chopping them up, selling them to their advertisers didn’t work this time. But, according to the article, did give them some good data:
Its primary goal, he says, was to test the auction process for print ads. “
We’re pleased with the data we’ve gathered and will use it to inform future experiments we conduct on different aspects of the print process
,” says Google spokesman Barry Schnitt.
This is comforting knowing that Google isn’t likely a company to give up when it desperately needs the diversification. Their purchase of dMarc last year was truly a step in the right direction. dMarc has an inventory of ad spaces across hundreds to thousands of radio stations. They also have a client list of thousands of advertisers who love a bargain. Once google marries dMarc and Adsense (or vice versa), more advertisers will find use out of this market and most of them haven’t tried the other. If google can nail down print, Adsense will one day be a one-stop-shop for online, radio, and print advertising (and with their experiments via Google Video, I imagine TV ads are just around the corner).
So how does Google win the print wars. Certainly not by buying whole pages and working as a chop shop. They would have a much better strategy by working with publications that already cater to google’s client base, such as classified ads. Classifieds are the offline equivalent of Google’s online ads. Small, usually just a few lines of Highly OptimizedText, and a call to action, usually a phone number or url. Many publishers offer classified ads at a much more reasonable rate and have a quick order form, making it possible for the self-serve client to easily place an order.
I know many classified publishers would be interested in expanding their client base to the reaches of Google’s advertisers. Google could supply a feed to advertisers at the publishing deadline, or they could plug into their existing order system making the whole process more central for all parties. This model has worked extremely well for CareerBuilder.com and many local newspapers with Job classifieds.
As an advertiser, imagine how nice it would be to purchase space on Adsense, on your local talk radio shows, in Thrifty Nickel, inside Computer Shopper, and your local paper at the most competitive rate all from the same place? Sounds like a pipedream. But some company is bound to do it sooner or later. If not google, then perhaps Yahoo or MSN who already have successful ventures in more traditional medias. I also wouldn’t be surprised to see smaller adnetworks like AdBrite, blogads, or Chitika to jump into print before google behomoths everybody out of the pool.
It has often been said that 2006 is the “Year of Search”. I think that 2006 could more accurately be descriped as “The Year of Beyond Search”. It will be more interesting to see what Google and the others do offline and beyond their search engines than what they do within.