It’s now a cliche to point out that consumer audiences have fragmented. However, once mighty media have seen audiences dwindle over the past five or so years. Accordingly almost all traditional media are struggling, exacerbated by the recession to be sure but caused by the rise of the internet (mobile will fragment audiences further). Many advertising sales channels are trying to respond to the audience fragmentation issue with network and/or multi-platform strategies.
Call it an effort to put “Humpty Dumpty back together again.”
Google for its part had once seen itself as a kind of media dashboard, through which agencies and advertisers could efficiently buy not only search but online display and traditional media ads such as print newspapers, radio and TV. Under the pressure of the recession the print newspaper and radio ads programs have been killed. But Google TV Ads remains.
Now as the Wall Street Journal reports Google is testing a program that allows advertisers to make a single buy that runs their ads on conventional TV as well as online at YouTube and potentially across the internet on other sites.
Google’s director of television ads, Michael Steib, said in an interview that the company is working on technology that allows advertisers to buy ads across Google TV, which sells on-air commercials; YouTube; and video on other Web sites through the same interface. Google is testing the service, called Google TV Ads Online, with a small group of advertisers, he said. People familiar with the matter say the service — which would leverage Google TV’s targeting technology — is likely to be introduced in the coming months.
The company is hoping that the new service will make it easier for bigger brand advertisers to spend across both services, which are under pressure to ramp up their business despite the sour economy.
But the feature is also part of Google’s bigger vision of tying together various platforms to make it easier for advertisers to manage and measure their spending across traditional and online media
Conceptually this is the right approach and it should be desirable to marketers who want both reach and targeting. The online component would also theoretically benefit from Google’s new behavioral targeting. But mechanically it faces challenges as the WSJ explains:
For the new effort to work, YouTube needs to secure longer-form video such as TV shows and movies, for which users are often willing to tolerate longer ads. While it is in talks with major media companies, YouTube to date has only signed a small number of full-length content deals with companies such asCorp.
Whether Google TV advertisers — many of whom are just experimenting with the service — will take advantage of the online video integration remains to be seen. Some TV ads may not be suited to run before or alongside online video.
My guess is that only ads of a certain duration — say 10 seconds — will be able to effectively participate in the program. Alternatively, advertisers could have a longer conventional TV version and a shorter online/mobile version.