Google as Ad Agency

You know I think it is time to call a spade a spade. Google doesn’t want to be called an agency and past interviews with company execs categorically deny the company is an agency or has any intention to become an agency. I have read that Google treasures ad agencies and considers them important partners in their mutual success.

This is all true. Many agencies do in fact place ads on Google and sites displaying Google ads. However, it is important to note that Google is getting more and more into the center of the ad placing relationship between media companies and buyers. If they are not becoming an ad agency then at least they have become a placement agency. Placement agencies may not design creative but instead they help companies decide where and when ads should run.

Typically placement agencies crunch numbers and tell companies where they think their ad dollars are best spent. There are a whole host of metrics these agencies use to make suggestions. Google is currently using automation to do the exact same thing online. For example they help decide where ads go. Will the ad be on the top of a page, as the fifth link down, etc.

Perhaps your ad is best to be placed on partner pages where related editorial lives. To further muddy the waters the issue of creative comes into play. If you have multiple ads the search giant uses its algorithms to determine which ad does best in what place. They may even take into consideration the time of day and whether weekends and holidays affect the click through results.

Certainly Google can be considered a placement agency in the online world. It seems now, Google wants to bring its expertise at helping companies place ads into the world of radio as well. The company recently purchased dMarc Broadcasting, a company that runs an online system allowing advertisers to buy radio airtime. It further connects the ads with the computer systems that help run radio stations for eventual broadcasting.

Google says they have access to many smaller advertisers that would not typically run ads on radio and their involvement in the business is good for radio advertising. I tend to agree. Many advertisers have done well with Google web-based ads and these companies are a no brainer to try new media such as radio. The next stop is television it seems as industry rumors point in the direction of Google purchasing a company doing something similar in the TV world as well.

If you have been waiting for the VoIP tie-in, here it is. Google is going to potentially figure out how to generate revenue from pay per call advertising. If the radio and TV markets are indeed going to be struggling more and more to make money, they may be amenable to getting paid per phone call instead of not at all.

This isn’t so far fetched as many TV stations routinely deliver deep discounts on their ads – especially when they can’t find advertisers for certain time slots.

I would imagine that pay per call ad programs will work well for some networks and advertisers. I am sure it is not perfect for every business. Still if there are 5,000 companies – a number I pulled out of a hat, that can benefit from such a program and these companies wouldn’t think of using TV or radio today, then this is a win/win for Google, TV and radio. Of course Google’s customers too will win.

If there has to be a loser it may become the placement agencies as Google’s automation could eventually render some of these agencies obsolete. But in a world that is increasingly becoming more automated and subsequently more efficient, Google’s automation of the advertising world may be welcome.

  • Los Angeles Advertising Agency
    June 8, 2007 at 2:16 am

    Google doesn’t want to be called an agency but they have been expanding into many forms of ad services including Radio and the purchase of DoubleClick for 6 billion

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