Posted November 25, 2008 6:08 am by with 11 comments

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Google TV Ads Header Graphic
Google seem to be on a roll with upbeat ideas recently. However one of the programs that may have slipped past some in the search space, is Google TV Ads.

At this year’s Pubcon conference I was fortunate enough to bump into Stephanie Duchaine of Google, and discovered why Google TV Ads are something every marketer should know about.

The link between TV and search

The latest data from Google shows that 37% of online users who perform a search, as a result of exposure to offline content, do so from seeing a Television Ad.

So with television being the most influential medium for driving people to search its no surprise to see Google taking root in this space. When exactly SEO/ Internet Marketing actually crossed over into the TV industry is hard to say – but when YouTube videos started appearing as clips on TV shows things had started to change. Being ‘TV friendly’ with ‘web video’ is becoming increasingly important too, as agencies start to roll out more viral video campaigns the ability to launch these videos as TV Ads, becomes the obvious next step.

Placing a TV Ad is no walk in the park

Traditionally placing a television advert can be an expensive and often complicated affair. For those new to television advertising here are some of the key obstacles advertisers face, when securing a TV spot.

1. Cost of entry can be high. Here in the UK £5,000 ($8,000) might be a minumum entry point for a basic block booking of ads on a cable/sports channel. If your ad is not ready and you miss your slot times for whatever reason (see #3) then no refunds or second chances.

2. Each channel can have a different ways of doing things. In terms of the way they want an advert set up on the final master tape each channel may have different criteria. Some broadcasters will require a tape set up of 2 minutes of colour bars and audio tone at the start, then a countdown clock for 30 seconds before the advert plays – others may do it slightly differently…What this means is a lot of post-production admin as the advertiser is obliged to create multiple versions if the advert needs to be played on a range of channels. And you guessed it… this makes the whole campaign take longer and cost more.

3. Compliance procedures. These are another challenge – certain content can trigger legal requirements in your advert that may require re-edits. For example the compliance organisation (Clearcast in the UK) gets the final say on whether your advert gets shown. They can insist on all manner of changes: in layout, font size, request pauses or specific cuts to be made from scenes. Sometimes this requires a re-edit. Once you get clearance, the unique compliance number has to show on every version/format you produce (see #2).

4. Different networks may request different hard copy formats of your advert. This means you need to copy your final advert onto a range of formats. Some networks in Europe still ask for BetaCam SP tapes, others DigiBeta. Try and send in an AVI on a disc to a TV channel advertising department and you’ll have plenty of people mad at you very quickly (plus your ad will likely not run). The problem with the various formats is that the transfer costs can be rather expensive as well as time-consuming from a project management point of view. Its possible to run up a bill of a few hundred dollars just on stock and transfer fees alone if you need a few DigiBeta SP tapes plus DigiBeta format too.

When you take all this into account YouTube’s simple digital upload and tagging system is worlds away from mainstream broadcast – in fact the two could hardly be more different. This is perhaps why video marketers have become such fans of online video – it’s quick, easy and has solid distribution potential.

How Google are making TV Ads simple

TV advertising is changing….because our good ole friends at Google have entered the market as agents of TV ads. As Stephanie from Google pointed out, the Google system just made buying advertising a whole lot easier and here is why.

Google TV Ads Header Graphic

1. The Google system is web based. Goodbye clumsy tape formats and endless registered postal deliveries – hello simple upload system.

2. Simple set up for broadcast. With only one upload the Google TV Ads system removes the need for multiple tape formatting of bars, tone and various time codes – saving time and money.

3. You can advertise across multiple TV channels via one upload process. Google currently has a TV advertising inventory of 96 networks – from ESPN to CNN.

4. You control the advertising spend. The familiar Adwords style bidding system allows users to place a per viewer bid amount for their advert. You can set a budget and bit the maximum CPM that your willing to pay – and you can change your bid at will. So the system will work for lower budgets. Some campaigns will run TV ads of a budget of less than $50.00 a day.

5. Start, Stop & Pause Campaigns. Like Adwords you can pause campaigns when required. (simply pause before 4PM PST the day before you want the changes to take affect and your good to go). The Google system is set up to fill slots so you only pay for the coverage you get.

6. Viewer Measurement. Using Google’s existing technology precise tracking of viewer measurement is possible via the control panel that gathers data from set-top boxes.


All in all Google TV ads is looking like a radical solution to cross channel TV advertising. Not only can this program genuinely tailor to the needs of large and small advertisers alike, it can also save time and remove a lot of the headache associated with traditional TV advertising too.

Currently the program is available for USA TV networks only, but fingers crossed we’ll see a European version rollout in the very near future.

Based on the success of the Adwords program and the inevitable gradual increase in average bid amounts, getting in early with Google TV ads might be a good idea!

For more information on Google TV ads visit:

  • Google wins again with a great product and great promotion!

    Nicole Price’s last blog post..The Best Recipe Sites

  • I find it funny that Google is selling TV ads when they themselves don’t advertise on TV (because they clearly don’t think it will be effective). More and more people fast forward through ads on TV using their TiVo or DVR, and TV ads are becoming less and less effective. People just don’t want the outbound interruption advertising in their face anymore. I guess Google is just an advertising company, trying to sell whatever marketers will buy. But the best companies / brands give their customers great advice, even if that means not buying your product. Hopefully the ad sales team at Google will give their customers good advice and make sure people understand that TV ads are becoming less effective and for most companies the ROI is not good… and there are lots of inbound marketing techniques like SEO, blogging, social media, online videos that are super cheap and super effective.

  • Google TV ads are definitely the next big thing in TV advertising (they just need to use TV to let people know about it 🙂 ). I used to work for a big TV agency, and as you mentioned, it’s a lot of work managing all the little things needed to get a spot on air.

    I checked out Google slot rates and they’re cheaper than even the cheapest agency rates, and businesses can run spots on very limited budgets which eliminates the biggest barrier…as long as they can get/keep a cheap, dependable and good pool of production agencies they’re golden.

  • @Mike – I agree with you to some extent that SEO can be efficient marketing but it seems that the Google TV Ads system will cater for all lower budgets – something that TV advertising has not typically done. With social media campaigns, online video and SEO projects easily running into a few thousand dollars upwards of budget the Google system kind of starts to put TV advertising on par with those – don’t you think?

    @Jayson – yeah it looks like Google are on to something that is potentially very big. Whether Google will save the declining market of TV advertising it remains to be seen right? But it seems like a pretty solid Ad model for the time being.

  • If only us lonely one person Internet marketers had enough $$$$ to do the same! Oh well maybe someday soon….

    JR @ Internet Marketing Do-Follow Blog’s last blog post..144 Do-Follow Forums – Categorized by Niche and PR

  • Kristine

    Put another way, are you saying 37% of Google users perform a search as a direct result of seeing a television ad? Where did you find this data?

  • @Kristine – the data is from an iProspect study made in August 2007 (and it’s also included in Google’s TV Ads promo pack). This is 37% of online users who ‘performed a search due to exposure to offline content’. So others are included such as: 30% from a magazine ad, 17% from a Roadio ad – and so on.

  • I am not surprised by this Google’s activity. It offers newer and newer ways for money making. I am just a little bit frustrated on all mentioned by you difficulties to get this feature. Yeah, it is not a walk in the park at all!

  • google is the best!…i'm not surprised that so many people use google…

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  • Sneha malhotra

    hey very nice post very informative..i would love to read more post like this..thanks for sharing it…
    what is a dvr