Google’s Inside AdWords blog has announced that Clear Channel radio stations are now available in Google AdWords for advertisers to place radio ads on. 700 Clear Channel stations are all available, plus 1,000 other AM and FM stations, an average of 12 stations in each of the top 50 nationwide markets and stations in every conceivable station format.
Om Malik writes that Google is prepared to launch a beta test of its video game advertising platform later this month, starting with Bunchball Games. The ads will be of the pre-roll and mid-roll variety, that is ads that run before the game starts and in middle of the game (perhaps between levels), 15-second video-type ads (presumably Flash animation). Next month, Google will offer a free downloadable game, Psychonauts, with 30-second video ads.
Google bought AdScape in February inorder to enter the growing game ad market, a year after Microsoft picked up Massive, a similar, but larger company. Google paid $23 million, while Microsoft paid $200-400 million for Massive, which would seem to indicate that Google got a bargain, but that would be deceiving. Google is running intrusive ads in casual Flash games, a growing but smaller industry compared to the product placement-type ads Microsoft works with in the multi-billion dollar PC and console video game industry.
I’ve played Microsoft’s Crackdown, in which billboards appear naturally throughout the game’s environment, and every time I saw a billboard with a Dodge ad, I just thought it was cool. If my loading screen was interrupted by a 30-second video ad for the same car, I’d get pissed off. Everyone likes free games, but to ignore the fact that these are different models with very different levels of customer reaction would require pretending an apple is an orange.
Google’s ads may be enough of an annoyance that players will pay just to remove them, and that’s not supposed to be the Google style. Google delivered ads are supposed to be unobtrusive and positive, and these ads are not. Perhaps they need to rethink the model, otherwise yet another principle of Google’s Founders Letter needs to be stricken from the record.
Our goal is to develop services that improve the lives of as many people as possible–to do things that matter. We make our services as widely available as we can by supporting over 97 languages and by providing most services for free. Advertising is our principal source of revenue, and the ads we provide are relevant and useful rather than intrusive and annoying. We strive to provide users with great commercial information.
InterActiveCorp, the internet conglomerate assembled by Barry Diller, is breaking up into five seperate companies following pressure Diller’s backer, John Malone. Barry Diller is following the most important piece, the new IAC, which will be mostly the Ask.com corporation, meaning Ask.com, as important as it was before, becomes the central focus for the company, great news for Ask fans going forward.
The IAC unit will basically be Ask.com, plus Citysearch and Match.com. Being spun off are HSN (Home Shopping Network), LendingTree, TIcketMaster and Interval International (a vacation time share business). Shareholders are happy, sending the stock up 7.5%, since they’ll get shares in the four new spun-off companies. The new company will be far less complex than the old IAC, with the focus being understandably on Ask and search, and if you ask me, that’s a very smart move.
Valleywag is of the opinion that the news that a major multi-billion dollar conglomerate was breaking up was much bigger news than Google’s non-phone announcement yesterday. If the internet media (which has just been embarrassing the last few days) stopped going nuts over every shiny non-news that comes along, they might even agree.
Meanwhile, Ask.com solidified its biggest revenue stream for the future, re-upping its deal with Google to carry Google ads on Ask.com. The new deal goes five years and will bring in at least $3.5 billion.
Google’s deal with Opera, making Google the default search engine in new downloads of the Opera browser in exchange for Opera getting a cut of Google ad revenue from those searches, just ran out after two years. Don’t worry about it, though, since they just went ahead and cut a new deal, so expect Opera to be free for a good time to come.
Google may be trying to get Facebook application developers to use OpenSocial, but they’re also trying to get those who keep using Facebook to use AdWords to drive users to their applications. They’ve been emailing Facebook app devs, inviting them to sign up for AdWords Pay-Per-Action ads in order to get more users. PPA ads only charge if the user completes an action, like installing the application, so it’s perfect for their purposes.
So what if it drives more traffic to Facebook?
Google’s got a nice deal for those looking to buy Google Radio Ads. If you buy $1,000 in advertising, Google will give you $2,000 in free credit of future ad campaigns. If you’ve got a company that’s never advertised on the radio, and you have a small ad budget but would like to see if radio ads work for you, getting $3,000 worth of advertising for a $1,000 outlay is a great deal, and if you don’t make back $3,000 in increased sales, you’ll probably still make earn enough to make the ad buy profitable.
Google sent Shimon Sandler, a top AdWords advertiser, this special gift. The metal case, labeled the “2008 Marketing Toolkit”, contains a bunch of Duplo blocks labeled with the names of Google services. Looks cool, so where can I get one? Shame they don’t sell it in the Google Store.
Large photo from Philipp’s blog
Google has released a tool for creating print ads for Google AdWords Print advertisers, assisting businesses in creating professional looking ads to run in magazines and newspapers. Because Google targets the long tail, many of its print advertisers have never created a newspaper ad before, and Google would like to help make sure those ads don’t look just plain silly.
Here are some example ads they provide, the kind you can create with the tool:
Looks like Google bought a billboard to advertise GOOG-411, its directory assistance phone service. The billboard was spotted by Mike Blumenthal around Olean, NY. Google has traditionally not advertised for its products, preferring them to spread by word of mouth (and giant amounts of Google AdSense ads), but they were bound to start buying ads eventually.
Valleywag thinks Google hasn’t changed its tactics, but rather that Google is getting intot the display advertising game, as has been rumored for awhile. Since Google normally fills unfilled inventory with ads for its own products, this could be a billboard Google is planning on selling advertising on, and it just contains the GOOG-411 ad until they sell something.
(via Search Engine Land)
As several blogs have noted, a problem is that the ads can only be shown on mobile sites, but not regular sites. If you have a completely seperate website for mobile devices, you can run the ads there, but if you just change your CSS for mobiles, that makes implementing these a lot harder. Expect to see them in a lot of iPhone “apps”, but not a lot of blog templates.
The other release was that of Google Gadget ads, which are a new ad format AdWords advertisers can take advantage of. It’s a rich media ad, that can contain anything a Google Gadget can, and thus have some very advanced functionality. Not only will these be used as ads, but they can be added to users iGoogle personalized homepages, monetizing iGoogle and expanding the reach of the ads beyond a display ad to something you keep and use continuously.
Google has implemented a chat feature for AdWords, letting you chat live with a support representative. The feature uses liveperson.net’s technology and lets you click to get some live help, certainly not a common thing with Google. Naturally, since advertising is Google’s priority, AdWords is the only product that has live chat, but I wouldn’t be surprised to see Google Apps get it eventually.
Google is notifying AdWords advertisers that it is going to start running their ads on mobile phones. The ads will run free of charge through November 18, and AdWords customers can opt out at any point. Google will only show ads for websites it determines can be read on a mobile device (either those that are phone optimized, or those that Google can optimize itself), and ads will only display the headline and URL, not the ad text.
The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission, a regulator of competition in the country, said that it is beginning an informal inquiry into Google’s purchase of DoubleClick. The Commission is asking those in the industry to submit comments on how the move would affect the advertising industry in the country, specifically if it would lead to higher prices.
The inquiry will end on October 16 with a decision, though Google continues to face problems closing this deal in the United States. The ACCC is also investigating claims that Google’s search ads amount to misleading and deceptive conduct, by allowing advertising to appear as search results.
Remember last Thursday, when Apple and Nokia were running dueling ads about the iPhone price cut? Turns out only Nokia’s ad was run by the actual company. “Didn’t You Hear” admits to running the ad, mostly to get some laughs. It wasn’t a terrible idea, what with it pulling a clickthrough rate of 12.72%. Apple, of course, wasn’t so pleased.
Hilarious little story developed today around some Google AdWords ads. After Apple dropped the price of the iPhone, Nokia bought ads for “iphone price drop” on Google, saying, “Sorry, Early Adopters. iPhone drops $200. Salvage yours with free content at MOSH. mosh.nokia.com”. The ads are referencing Nokia’s Mosh social network, which Nokia figured it could pump while taking a jab at Apple and reaching out to Apple’s angry early adopters.
Apple struck back nicely, running an ad (and outbidding Nokia to get the top spot) saying, “Congrats, Late Adopters. iPhone drops $200. Now you get all the iPhone for 2/3 the price. store.apple.com”. Apple’s ad doesn’t make a good point, not saying anything for the early adopters, but it’s funny, and that’s what matters in such silly fights.
Besides, Apple got the most important last word, giving $100 in free store credit at any Apple Store or the online Apple Store. That’s the kind of credit that makes it all worth it, right? You can spend some of it on a giant adapter to use your luxury phone with a regular pair of headphones, I guess.
Story via Search Engine Land, as is the screenshot.
My Opera web browser, normally the king of stability, crashed and completely screwed up my saved tabs, so I’m posting everything old right now, in order to set things right.
Google has tweaked the algorithm that determines what advertisement gets to be at the top of the stack in Google AdWords. Previously, they’d push to the top the advertiser who was paying the most, based on the actual CPC. Now, they promote the ad with the highest potential CPC. In other words, if you bid up to $3.00, but only wind up paying 25 cents, you’ll be ranked higher than someone who is paying 30 cents, if that person has only bid up to $2.00.
AdWords added a nice little bit of integration, connecting with Google Docs & Spreadsheets. You can now export your AdWords reports, with all the data you want from your account, to a Google spreadsheet. You can work with the data there and print it out (pretty useful if you don’t have Excel or another spreadsheet program) or have some real fun and work on it collaboratively with a bunch of colleagues.
Google Acquires ImageAmerica, Popular Google Maps Searches, YouTube Antipiracy Tool Coming, Open Source Google Maps, DoubleClick’s AdBrite Ads
Catching up: I had a crazy week, with me and my wife going on a short wedding anniversary vacation, one of my best friends getting married, and my aunt and her family moving forever to another continent. There’s a lot of stuff filling up the queue, so we’re going to go through it double time
Google Acquires Aerial Image Firm, ImageAmerica
Google bought another company, this time ImageAmerica, an aerial imagery company. ImageAmerica provided the high-res imagery of New Orleans after Hurricane Katrina, and can be used to provide high quality imagery of any area in a hurry, an excellent boon for Google Earth/Maps. They’ve got a “Beech Starship” aircraft that can get into an area quickly, get high, fly fast and with great stability, and get great images for Google to use.
Google Maps Now Shows Popular Searches
Google Maps has a new feature that shows the popular searches for a particular area. Search for a city, town, state, or whatever, and you’ll find out what people are searching for in that area. For example, I know that in my area, people are looking for:
- subway station
- map quest
- car service
- laguardia airport
- elmhurst hospital
- new york hall of science: administration
- st johns university
- flushing meadow park
While popular searches in Manhattan are:
- penn station
- port authority
- duane reade
- w hotel
- madison square garden
- car service
YouTube Antipiracy Tool Coming This September
Google is expected to finally release YouTube’s antipiracy system this September, 10 months after buying the company, and many months after getting sued by Viacom and watching competitors take similar major measures at stopping the widespread uploading of copyrighted material. The technology will fingerprint videos so it can recognize when a previously deemed infringing video is uploaded again, and will allow copyright holders to embed a digital fingerprint in videos so the system will never let them be uploaded.
This couldn’t come a moment too soon. Google Video, which shares some of the same infrastructure as YouTube (when watching YouTube videos, I’ve seen them streaming from video.google.com) and presumably will share the same antipiracy system, is a hotbed of piracy. My wife and I have gotten some movies still in theaters from Google Video, something we normally never bother with, because it’s too damn easy to find.
Google Using Community To Grow Indian Maps
Google has decided that the best way to get good maps of India is to ask the locals for help. They’ve sent out GPS kits to some Indians, asking for their assistance in creating more accurate maps of the area, comparing the multiple data points for verification. The program has done 50 cities, complete with driving directions, using the GPS and special software that allows users to literally draw the roads on top of the satellite imagery.
DoubleClick Running Illegal AdWords Ads
Looks like future Google unit DoubleClick has been running some AdWords campaigns that break the terms of service. DoubleClick is running ads on Google search targeted to the term “AdBrite”, a competing web advertising company, actually using the competitor’s trademarked term in the ad copy. While Google has been embroiled in lawsuits protecting the advertiser’s right to target trademarked terms, it clearly bans the use of those terms in the ad itself. Someone should tell DoubleClick.
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