ClickZ has details of Google’s efforts to bring an AdWords-style process to print ads.
AdWords advertisers can now bid for 1 page, 1/2 page and 1/4 page ads in nearly 30 different lifestyle and technology magazines…advertisers who wish to participate must submit bids by February 20, and may have their ads included in issues appearing over the summer and fall of 2006.
One of the biggest problems I see with this comes from the lack of instant placement. When you use an auction style process online, you can change your bid based upon real-time demand, day-parts, inventory, competition etc. With a print ad, you often have to submit your creative and state your “bid” months in advance. Demand could reduce, your product could be out of stock, you may have a new product launch – all in the time it takes to submit your ad and then see it published.
If you do decide to try offline ads, Tim Seward offers some tips on using Google Analytics to track your ROI.