Google recently made a move into the print advertising world by auctioning off advertising space at cut rate prices in a variety offline print publications, including Martha Stewart Living to Road & Track. Unfortunately, even though the advertisers were able to get space that normally sold for $59,000 for $4,000, the return was not inline with what they were used to getting from Google Adwords advertising online
Several more advertisers spoke with BusinessWeek following the story’s publication, echoing similar sentiments. Carl D. Haugen, president of BluePenguin Software, spent $3,000 on an ad through Google, which ran in the November issue of Budget Living magazine. Haugen offered a 20% discount on its antispyware software to Budget Living readers, so he could better track the ad’s performance. Over one month later, the ad had only generated $181.37 in sales, says Haugen.
Google’s struggle to transfer its online success to magazines doesn’t necessarily bode well for the publishing industry. Hundreds of publications have contacted Google about the program, with the hopes that the online giant can extend their reach to Google’s army of smaller marketers who otherwise would not consider magazine ads. But the weak performance may indicate that the true value of a page of print lags its list price — at least in the eyes of Google’s advertisers, who are used to high-return search engine campaigns.
Even Longo, winner of the bargain-basement ad space in Martha Stewart Living, is somewhat skeptical. “If at these rates it doesn’t work,” says Longo, “it never will.”
Photo by Paleontour.