What's Failing: Google Print or Print in General?


Maybe both. BusinessWeek has an article stating that Google's attempt to leverage its network of advertisers to break into offline print advertising has been a disappointing failure thus far.

Google's struggle to transfer its online success to magazines doesn't necessarily bode well for the publishing industry. Hundreds of publications have contacted Google about the program, with the hopes that the online giant can extend their reach to Google's army of smaller marketers who otherwise would not consider magazine ads. But the weak performance may indicate that the true value of a page of print lags its list price -- at least in the eyes of Google's advertisers, who are used to high-return search engine campaigns.

Even Longo, winner of the bargain-basement ad space in Martha Stewart Living, is somewhat skeptical. "If at these rates it doesn't work," says Longo, "it never will."

Can Google succeed in advertising markets where ROI is not trackable? And does it make a difference over the long run, as increasing prevalence of digitization makes ROI tracking more and more feasible across markets?

via TechDirt


From the article: CoffeeCup

From the article:

CoffeeCup Software, which makes tools for creating Web sites, wound up paying just $4,000 for each of three half-page ads in Martha Stewart Living. It was a long shot: The magazine's rate card pegs the price of a half-page ad at more than $59,000.


Carl D. Haugen, president of BluePenguin Software, spent $3,000 on an ad through Google, which ran in the November issue of Budget Living magazine. Haugen offered a 20% discount on its antispyware software to Budget Living readers, so he could better track the ad's performance. Over one month later, the ad had only generated $181.37 in sales, says Haugen.

Given that ROI imagine what it would have been if he paid for a $40,000 ad or something closer to regular price.

Budget Living?

Not trying to be contrary, but how smart is it to place an ad in a magazine designed for people who do everything possible to not spend money?


I think it's an active/passive thing. AdWords succeeds in large part because I'm actively looking for something, and I recognize that the advertising might be as relevant (or more) than the unpaid listings.

Magazine reading is, for the most part, a passive activity -- something I do while leisurely sitting on the couch, or poolside. And typically I'm paging past the ads to read the articles.

Totally different environment, and maybe a bit foolish of Google to think the same principles that work in web advertising would work in print.

First Time?

I wonder if this was a first venture into print for BluePenguin Software.

Couple quick points;

1) No one pays published rates for advertising in magazines. If they do, they're a sucker.

2) Sales one month after the publication went out does not equal roi. A true ROI calculation takes into considertion things like LTV. Even with "typical" direct mail (which has similiar delivery times when compared to publications) DM pros aren't calling a campaign a winner/loser for 3 + months.

3) Print advertising is very trackable if done correctly.

4) Google's print ad rates for the first auction were considerably higher than they should have been. I bid fair market value (based on having worked with some of those pubs before) for a few publications and lost the auctions. I think there was too much hype surrounding the first go round'.

Print sucks

I've never been successful with print media - it's a big moneypit for me. And I think that's true for most businesses. Adding Google into the equation provides absolutely nothing of value other than their fingers in another pie.

There are plenty of places around with decades if not centuries of authoritative success in traditional media. Why would anyone expect Google to roll into a territory like that - an area where they have 0 expertise - and do anything other than fail? Ad aggregation isn't terribly novel and certainly does nothing to increase reader response.

We all know that most traditional media experts are steamrolled by online advertising. I fully expected the converse to be true.

television is pulling the

television is pulling the same complaints

"Television is an increasingly wobbly target for ad spending and will likely soon begin hemorrhaging dollars to interactive and other channels. That's according to a Forrester poll of 133 advertisers who control more than $20 billion in advertising."

Which raises the next point

Maybe the real reason Google's doing this is to gain experience on how to apply traditional media to the their product.......

I believe in the forseeable future we'll be unplugging cable from the back of the TV and plugging in an internet connection. And once that happens, Google stands to be in a very good position to capture all the rest of everyone's advertising budget that's currently offline. If you're browsing through Google on your television and streaming the latest friday night episode of Survivor - or the superbowl - from Google, then they're going to be grabbing GM's tv ad dollars at that point as well. It'd be good to have some seasoned employees at that point I suppose.(Google video start to make more sense now too?)

FWIW - I absolutely think this is the not to distant future. And I'm pretty sure Bill Gates has had his eye on this for a few years.

It's Hard to compare oranges with apples

Little are the media channels that can track ROI as well as web-bases ones (though you *can* use specified phone number, coupons or just ask, in "traditionally" advertising).

The cost of well managed web campaign (CPA and not CPM/hits) is sometimes a figure that may become clear only after few months but should take into account more factors like Reach, Brand, Focus, adaptation, Budget, Cross media and more...

After Spending some years on Print (Mainly Yellow Pages) I don't think it overall SUCKS(wheel), but it sure is less fun and less measurable... :-)

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