Monday, November 06, 2006
AdSense Makes NoSense in PrintIt is round two for Google's print advertising, and I'm not optimistic that it will go any better than the previous lackluster attempt to penetrate magazine advertising.
Google has a deal with more than 50 newspapers to start selling its excess online inventory to print, according to the LA Times.
But this idea is like trying to wear gloves on your feet -- it just doesn't fit.
Google's expertise is in matching advertisements with search terms, and companies are thrilled with a whopping low single-digit conversion rate. But print costs a hell of a lot more than your average CPC ad. Google collects small amounts of money from lots of people based on lots of searches. Advertising in the Washington Post is limited to relatively big-budget advertisers in a particular geography, not a good match for the small-time advertisers. AdSense is about context, which newspaper advertising is not. The sports and entertainment sections are not specific enough to know what people want.
For example, I advertised in my local newspaper and used direct mail for my wife's massage therapy practice, and despite a good demographic, got zero results. For a fraction of what I was paying in print, we've had great results in finding customers who searched the relevant keywords online. AdSense works (to the degree that it does) because there is context.
Newspaper ads are about branding through (usually) graphical ads, so transferring the expertise and customers of banner ads (which is not Google's forte) is a much better match. Advertisers who would want to advertise in newspapers most likely already have lots of experience in that area, and don't need a web company's help.
Google could create revenue for newspapers by running its "extra" inventory on Google News, which shockingly still has no ads. To encourage the publishers' cooperation, they could share the revenue with publishers based on the frequency at which their headlines appeared on Google News. Now that would make GoodSense.
By John Gartner at 10:01 AM | Comments (1)