Marketing Momentum

Saturday, March 25, 2006

Google Selling Ad Space in Magazines?

According to BusinessWeek, Google auctioned off ad space it purchased in about two dozen magazines, including Martha Stewart Living and Road & Track, but the results were disappointing.

The auction was open to thousands of advertisers, but Google had to extend the auction to lure more bidders. Nicholas Longo, CEO of CoffeeCup Software, which makes tools for creating web sites, only paid $4,000 for each of his three half-page ads in Martha Stewart Living, which typically costs more than $59,000 for one half-page ad.

Barry Schnitt, Google spokesman, acknowledged low demand for its print auction, but stated Google did little to market the opportunity to its network of several hundred thousand advertisers. Its primary goal was to test the auction process for print ads.

This is not the first time, Google has experimented with selling print ads. Late last year, it conducted its first trial by purchasing and reselling ad space in a handful of magazines. Although Google raved about its success, a BusinessWeek analysis found that 8 of 10 participating advertisers were disappointed with the results and probably wouldn't buy print ads through Google again.

Google executives are seeking to expand Google's online advertising with radio, print, and television ads. In an attempt to further that effort in January 2006, Google acquired dMarc Broadcasting, which facilitates the sale of radio advertising.

Seems that Google's breaking a basic marketing principle - create a niche and stick to it. Target marketing tells us you can't be all things to all people. By branching into print advertising, and deviating from what the Google entity is known for, it's no wonder the results were disappointing. Google's target market of advertisers perceive Google as an online provider of ad space, and it's hard for them to make the jump in considering Google for anything but an online advertising provider.

Brand perception is everything. If Google really wants to make a concerted effort in expanding it advertising efforts, it needs to do so under a different brand name, with a different brand image, niche, and target audience. Changing consumer perception on your brand image is very difficult, and if not done properly, your customers will become confused and leave.

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