Google has already announced its desire to place its ads in print media. But the company hasn’t stopped there. Google is aiming to infiltrate the spoken word as well, as it positions itself to advertise on American radio.
Again, I believe that there’s a fundamental flaw in Google’s offline initiative, most importantly that advertisers won’t reach their desired audiences. The ads would have to be targeted very well, but with a wide variety of listeners from different backgrounds, I would find that extremely tough. The technology in print and on the radio is simply not as sophisticated as the technology that is in place on websites. Furthermore, if they’re going to ask me to access a web site, I’ll find it difficult to remember the URL when I’m driving. I also wonder how an SEO company who might pursue this option would be able to prove to its client that new traffic was driven to the client’s website through print ads or radio. The analytics of referrer pages would be lacking completely.
I actually consider this move a little more desirable than print ads, but I agree with Barry Schwartz and Danny Sullivan that Google should market on podcasts, especially since they are new and a very promising technology. Where is the innovativeness, and why the traditional approaches? Is Google running out of options, or are they trying to conquer everything that surrenders to its vastness?