Posted March 15, 2007 9:14 pm by with 12 comments

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Terry Reeves has commented on Google’s Audio Ads pilot, first reported back in December. Terry spoke with a Google rep and was shocked to learn that a 4-week run of radio ads would cost $20,000.

“Just today ( 3-15-07 ) I spoke with a rep at Google Audio Ads and went through a very convincing WebEx presentation. All in all, it looks like Google has a growing interest by many stations in the smaller markets and as money hungry as Clear Channel is, it is only a matter of time before they or another large player comes onboard.”

I was told before the meeting today that I would be “very surprised” at the cost of audio advertising program through Google, implying that the cost was a great deal more affordable that traditional radio schedules. Surprised I was! They wanted $20K to do a 4 week run.

You’re probably thinking what I’m thinking…$20k buys a lot of targeted search clicks and aren’t radio ads supposed to be cheap? That’s what Terry thought too…

“Now, I am not suggesting that the ad cost per unit is inflated as they run the spots based on a CPM reach. However, I do know that I can run a 4 week radio campaign at a real radio station in a major market at significantly less than 20K.

Now there are many variables between their offering and any radio stations offerings and I am not really comparing apples to apples as the differences that get you to the end result are significant. However, as far as cost is concerned, Google’s audio ads are not affordable for the vast majority of those who are currently giving Google money for traffic and in the end that is more likely to be the demise of this excellent opportunity.”

Anyone else spoken to Google about Audio Ads? Would you be willing to drop $20k on a beta product?

  • I’ll take 3 ads thanks.

  • I’ve never heard that radio ads are cheap? Besides the air time, the “talent” gets a fee every time the ad is run. That adds up quickly.

    Note: There are some details missing. How often is the ad aired? That’s pretty important. Once per day, once per hour, once per 1/4 hour?

    Anyway, I guess Google isn’t really making radio ads affordable for small businesses, but I doubt that was their intention. Even in an auction/bidding environment you have to pay enough for these radio stations to stay on the air. If radio ads were suddenly half the price they used to be, we’d end up with half the “quality” or more ads than normal.

  • And radio isn’t a beta product. Google radio *beta is just a method of procuring the ad and paying for it. The product itself is what you make of it.

  • I have a client who told me they where participating in Google Audio Ads beta. But there is NO way I can see this client dropping $20K. I’ll email them and see what I can find.

  • ExposureTim – I don’t think there’s anything traditional about Google Audio Ads, so there entire process is a beta. I agree that we don’t know what the $20k buys, but I do know that you could “buy” a pretty decent radio campaign for half that amount. We’ll have to wait and see if Google is interested in advertisers who only want to spend a few thousand, or if $20k is the entry point.

  • But that’s my point… it’s the process that is a beta, not the product that you buy.

  • ExposureTim – that’s like saying Adwords is not a product but a process. Google Audio Ads is a product – the distrubution may be old (radio) – but the product is in beta.

    We’ll agree to disagree. 😉

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  • $20K.. that seems pretty steep to me. You would think that they would start at a lower rate to start with.. they haven’t proved to be successful on the radio yet.

  • I’m not sure that Google is targeting the same mass advertising audience with the radio ads as with their web ads. Keep in mind new radio stations aren’t being created, but new web sites are. That means more advertising venues online than in radio. Plus radio already sells a significant percentage of its inventory, whereas it is harder for web sites — especially smaller ones — to do so.

    Add to this the fact that radio ads will need closer scrutiny than a text ad on the web and I can easily see why they would target larger campaigns.

    Finally, I’m not as familiar as you may be with the typical advertiser size for Google AdWords, but I wonder if larger advertisers don’t make up a more significant portion of their total ad revenue than you might suggest.

  • Just to follow up. The ads will run as often as possible to satisfy the CPM desired. The ads can be targeted to cities, states, and regions or nationwide though many cities are not reached at all. I was told there are over 900 stations in the program now with 50 to 100 more expected to be added each month.

    I was told that I could stop the campaign at any time though it was strongly advised to give the radio test a full 4 weeks to see the results desired.

    I am very familiar with radio advertising as several clients have ventured into this area of marketing with mixed results. Radio can be very affordable for those who are just testing the waters. A real radio account executive would never tell you that you needed to spend a minimum “X” amount of dollars to be successful, though they might suggest alternative dayparts or days to help keep your costs low.

    I am aware of several web based businesses that spend as little as $200.00 a week on radio spots and “special mentions” by radio personality. Also, most radio talent will do a live commercial for as little as $50.00 each spot plus the cost of the spot itself. It varies from station to station and of course the popularity of the personality.

    The production of the radio ad itself is included in most radio packages you get at a station but you will need to contact an outside vendor for your Google radio ads. $300.00 to $500.00 more.

    Personally, I believe radio advertising can boost the awareness and traffic of many conventional online advertisers who have never tried radio. Unfortunately, Google is apparently not interested in the “small guys” for this program just yet. However, your local radio station is very interested.


  • You can actually set your own budget — I am running a Google audio ad in our local market with a budget of only $25 a week. My ad ran 10 or 12 times today and cost me 87 cents. Production of it cost me $7 (of course I have my own recording equipment, so I got a break there — only had to buy some royalty free background music). Just wanted to chime in…