free html hit counter On Google Selling Newspaper Ads | John Battelle's Search Blog

On Google Selling Newspaper Ads

By - November 05, 2006

You all know I was bullish on Google’s ads for magazines. Philosophically, I feel the same way about this newspaper test. The Times coverage does nail the big issue – “it might make Google stronger.” The newspapers worry that Google treats them as just so much unsold backfill inventory. And that’s not what “content” really should be, eh?

I think the issue here for Google really comes down to scale and context. Print advertising is a maddeningly “human” business, driven by passion, emotion, and gut feeling. I’m not sure that’s ever going to go away. Ads for a specific, community driven audience need to be part of a conversation, not an algorithm. However, I can see this working well for remnant/backfill, as well as classifieds, where I’m guessing the system will really excel.

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  • http://joeduck.wordpress.com/ Joseph Hunkins

    >>> Ads for a specific, community driven audience need to be part of a conversation, not an algorithm >>>

    Sheesh! What “need” are you talking about? Perhaps true from the publisher/sales perspective but not for a smart advertiser. Historically, advertisers have been too mathematically incompetent and manipulated by sales BS to make good decisions. This is all changing thanks to PPC efficiency plus superior analytical tools, both provided by Google at low cost. Newspapers should be worried, because even dense advertisers will finally start to see that most print ad campaigns have negative ROIs. The print media industry was built on overpriced ads and low paid authors, and things are going to get much, much worse.

  • http://www.exacteditions.com Adam Hodgkin

    This is surely one of Google’s few really bad ideas. I heard a Googler admit that it hadnt worked (he was being pressed to cite examples of Google projects that fail — so perhaps he had to think of something), but it was a public meeting (ALPSP meeting March 2005 — JL Needham in response to questions). See my explanation of why it wont work

    http://exacteditions.blogspot.com/2006/10/advertising-and-web.html

    I cant even see it working for Classifieds — put yourself in the shoes of an advertiser: How is the money going to flow to Google-mediated print-Classified which is orders of magnitude more expensive per placement than ordinary Google-style text ads where you have the advantages of PPC? Also I can see newspaper and magazine ad departments having real trouble allocating any excess inventory to their nemesis…..Its one thing to flow spare inventory to Expedia if you are an old-style hub ‘n spoke airline, but to push it through Southwest Airlines? That would be a big stretch.

  • http://www.exacteditions.com Adam Hodgkin

    This is surely one of Google’s few really bad ideas. I heard a Googler admit that it hadnt worked (he was being pressed to cite examples of Google projects that fail — so perhaps he had to think of something), but it was a public meeting (ALPSP meeting March 2005 — JL Needham in response to questions). See my explanation of why it wont work

    http://exacteditions.blogspot.com/2006/10/advertising-and-web.html

    I cant even see it working for Classifieds — put yourself in the shoes of an advertiser: How is the money going to flow to Google-mediated print-Classified which is orders of magnitude more expensive per placement than ordinary Google-style text ads where you have the advantages of PPC? Also I can see newspaper and magazine ad departments having real trouble allocating any excess inventory to their nemesis…..Its one thing to flow spare inventory to Expedia if you are an old-style hub ‘n spoke airline, but to push it through Southwest Airlines? That would be a big stretch.

  • http://www.exacteditions.com Adam Hodgkin

    This is surely one of Google’s few really bad ideas. I heard a Googler admit that it hadnt worked (he was being pressed to cite examples of Google projects that fail — so perhaps he had to think of something), but it was a public meeting (ALPSP meeting March 2005 — JL Needham in response to questions).

    I cant even see it working for Classifieds — put yourself in the shoes of an advertiser: How is the money going to flow to Google-mediated print-Classified which is orders of magnitude more expensive per placement than ordinary Google-style text ads where you have the advantages of PPC? Also I can see newspaper and magazine ad departments having real trouble allocating any excess inventory to their nemesis…..Its one thing to flow spare inventory to Expedia if you are an old-style hub ‘n spoke airline, but to push it through Southwest Airlines? That would be a big stretch.

  • http://www.observatoiredesmedias.com Gilles Bruno

    One of the problems Google and the newspapers are going to face is the accuracy of the system. Place an airline company advertisement in front of an article talking about a crash is not suitable, and it’s a precise human work to do to avoid these errors. Changing these mistakes on a website can be easily done. But on a newspaper once it’s printed…

  • ak

    We’ve been asked multiple times whether we’d be interested in trialing Google Print but the answer has always been “no”. It’s an old dog doing new tricks is all, dead trees are declining and all Google is really offering is a way to climb aboard for the ride down.