Google’s been dabbling in print ads, and the results so far haven’t been great, says Business Week. They cite lack of flexible pricing, higher costs and an inability to target ads the same way Google Adwords does online.
I think there’s a different reason: Measurement.
Folks flock to Adwords pay-per-click ads because they can measure them. If you spend $5 on Adwords, you’ll know whether that investment generated $10. In print, though, there’s no reliable way to do that. So the investment is higher, and the measurability is lower.
Until Google finds a way to mitigate this, they’ll have a hard time moving into print.
Ian’s prediction for 2006: Look for Google to set up an 800-number system where print ads are routed through a central Google switchboard, so you at least know whether the ad’s generating calls.