People Won’t Buy It If They Don’t Know It Exists
I recently wrote a quick blurb about Google getting out of the radio advertising business and I was never really able to get much detail on the failed venture. One of the things I do know, from my personal experience, is that Google never promoted the service. When I was working with GotVMail back in 2007, they were one of a handful of companies that were able to beta test Google Audio for nearly a year. I couldn’t understand why the testing period was so long and why they didn’t promote the service more aggressively once it formally launched.
Now I understand why. Jessica E. Vascellaro wrote an interesting article in this morning’s Wall Street Journal outlining the failure of this once promising marketing tool. She sites the lack of tracking mechanisms as the reason for the plug being pulled but also pointed to the lack of interest on the part of radio station owners.
I don’t see it that way. Nobody knew about the service! The only reason I knew about it is because we were a big Adwords client and were allowed to kick the tires a bit. I was planning on using the service as a compliment to the other inbound/outbound marketing services I offer to my clients. I was also planning on using toll-free phone numbers and landing pages to track the success of campaigns. So what if the Google dashboard didn’t currently offer such functionality – you know it would inevitably be developed or purchased. Look how companies like ReachLocal track “local” online advertising campaigns.
The Internet giant dropped the ball by making Google Audio the best kept secret in company history. Any business in this country could have had 1) access to professional voice talent to record spots 2) access to national, regional and local markets and 3) the ability to break down target audience by a complete set of demographic characteristics.
I love the radio guys who say, “we would have sold it on our own”. That’s not true. Google was paying a minimum on inventory whether it was sold or not. Why were the radio guys complaining about the so called discounted pricing being introduced by Google? $500 for a $1000 slot is better than $0, right? That attitude worked out well for the newspapers.
Finally, the Google Audio service offered a CPM of slightly more than $1 which I challenge anyone to beat in any medium. It’s a shame the recession came along and swept away what could have been a very effective marketing platform, at least for me and my clients.
Goodbye Google Audio – we hardly knew thee.