Google Uses Outdoor Billboards To Promote Goog411

Goog411 Billboard
Photo by Mike Blumenthal. Used with permission.

Mike Blumenthal took a picture of a billboard ad in upstate New York for Google’s free directory assistance alternative, Goog411. This is interesting and amusing for a number of reasons.

The company, which has historically not marketed its products (although that is changing), is using a very traditional ad medium to promote its non-traditional local voice search offering. However, people will see this when they’re driving in their cars, which is one of the expected use cases. Another interesting thing is the location, a relatively obscure rural area:

ScreenHunter_724.jpg
Photo by Mike Blumenthal. Used with permission.

But perhaps that’s also quite intentional, to test a campaign and see if it drives traffic, so to speak.

Postscript: Valleywag picked this up and thinks it’s not a test of the efficacy of traditional media to build an audience for Goog411. Rather they think:

Google is interested in expanding into all forms of advertising, including the $7 billion outdoor market — billboards, that is. Perhaps it’s purchased some billboard space, in the hopes of using its dynamic, auction-based ad-selling system to resell it at a profit. Until it finds buyers, it may be using the billboards to promote its own services.

Clearly Google has an out-of-home strategy (some discussion here), but I’m not sure this is its introduction.

Related Topics: Channel: Mobile | Google: Mobile | Google: Voice Search

Sponsored


About The Author: is a Contributing Editor at Search Engine Land. He writes a personal blog Screenwerk, about SoLoMo issues and connecting the dots between online and offline. He also posts at Internet2Go, which is focused on the mobile Internet. Follow him @gsterling.

Connect with the author via: Email | Twitter | Google+ | LinkedIn



SearchCap:

Get all the top search stories emailed daily!  

Share

Other ways to share:
 

Read before commenting! We welcome constructive comments and allow any that meet our common sense criteria. This means being respectful and polite to others. It means providing helpful information that contributes to a story or discussion. It means leaving links only that substantially add further to a discussion. Comments using foul language, being disrespectful to others or otherwise violating what we believe are common sense standards of discussion will be deleted. Comments may also be removed if they are posted from anonymous accounts. You can read more about our comments policy here.
  • http://www.triggit.com Zachery Coelius

    They have one on 101 in downtown SF. I don’t think they are trying to hide it.

  • http://www.triggit.com Zachery Coelius

    They have one on 101 in downtown SF. I don’t think they are trying to hide it.

  • http://www.davidmihm.com davidmihm

    Greg, that’s so funny that you’d post this today — I saw a billboard on my way to Metropolitan Golf Links in Oakland this afternoon & suspected the same thing — Google is buying the space on the billboards & planning to re-sell it via an auction system at a later date…

  • gm9901

    There’s a billboard at Polk & Sacramento in San Francisco. They’re not trying to hide or test anything.

  • http://raveaboutit.blogspot.com/ Mark

    Hi Greg,

    Interesting article.
    Frank Fuchs and I exchanged a few comments about Google experimenting with offline advertising for Google Maps in London, in the beginning of 2007. Seems like they have moved on a bit from window stickers ;)

    http://www.locallytype.com/2007/01/29/were-famous-find-us-on-google-offline-advertising/

    Cheers,

    Mark

Get Our News, Everywhere!

Daily Email:

Follow Search Engine Land on Twitter @sengineland Like Search Engine Land on Facebook Follow Search Engine Land on Google+ Get the Search Engine Land Feed Connect with Search Engine Land on LinkedIn Check out our Tumblr! See us on Pinterest

 
 

Click to watch SMX conference video

Join us at one of our SMX or MarTech events:

United States

Europe

Australia & China

Learn more about: SMX | MarTech


Free Daily Search News Recap!

SearchCap is a once-per-day newsletter update - sign up below and get the news delivered to you!

 


 

Search Engine Land Periodic Table of SEO Success Factors

Get Your Copy
Read The Full SEO Guide