Google and Its Watchers Don't Get Print Advertising
2 min read

Google and Its Watchers Don't Get Print Advertising

Nathan Weinberg at InsideGoogle wants to know why Google has extended the deadline for its print ad program:

Does this mean that responses and bids have been less than stellar, or that Google realized twelve days simply wasn’t enough time for most people to get their bids in?

Can someone please give all these Google watchers a crash course in Old Media! (If you’re going to watch Google, you’d going to have to extend your knowledge base beyond online media, because that’s where Google’s going.)

To understand what’s wrong with Google’s print ad program, look at a listing for Entrepreneur, one of the participating magazines:

From the publisher
Written for busy entrepreneurs who want practical – not theoretical – information, Entrepreneur offers real-life solutions for entrepreneurs with growing companies. The magazine gives readers concise, hands-on advice so they can get in, get out and back to business. Expert columnists cover the latest developments in technology, money, management and marketing, highlighting products, services and strategies to help readers run better businesses. In Entrepreneur’s more than 40 monthly columns and features, readers learn from other entrepreneurs who have successfully solved their growth challenges. The magazine also analyzes current issues, news and trends from the unique perspective of the entrepreneur

  • Circulation: 550,920
  • Average age: 41
  • Average HHI: $77,235

So if I’m a B2B marketer, what can a glean from this listing? I know about the editorial content of the magazine. And I know the average age and personal income of the reader. But, HELLO, it’s a B2B magazine! What types of companies do Entrepreneur readers own? What types of B2B products do they buy? How much? How frequently? How are they different from readers of Forbes, Fortune, and BusinessWeek?

And you have to ask why no one is bidding for these ads? Who in their right mind would bid any meaningful sum with so little information to go in?

Google’s ad brokering works really well where Google has an automated system to choose sites where ads will appear — the Google AdWords algorithm processes an immense amount of data to make ad placement decisions. And AdWords advertisers have an impressive amount of data to use in setting bids and selecting key words.

But now Google thinks poor human beings can make decisions about print ad placement based on these piddling details.

What kills me is that many of these Google watching “experts” are completely out of their depth here because they know nothing about how print advertising is bought and sold, so none of them can stand up and say — This is ridiculous!

Even John Battelle, who is a very smart guy when it comes to Google and media, has overlooked this. Here’s his post on Google’s print ad program:

Buy A Print Ad Here

Right here, Google’s auctioning print ads.

John, you’re missing a huge story here!

I can’t blame Google for wanting to tap into offline ad dollars, but they are a long way from their technology sweet spot — they’re basically acting like a traditional ad agency. The print buying process at traditional ad agencies is a lot of smoke and mirrors, but it’s still light years ahead of what Google is doing.

Paging David Ogilvy.