Column: Google TV Ads Looms as Future of Advertising Sales

Dec 21, 2008  •  Post A Comment

Do you remember that episode of “Frasier” when the star and his brother planned a dinner party? Frasier and Niles didn’t like all of the other’s guest choices, so they agreed each one could veto any three potential guests. They then did so at their respective whims, gleefully shouting “blackball” as they tossed a black marble into a bowl.
I felt a little bit like Frasier and Niles when I tested the Google TV Ads system last week.
Because Google TV Ads has the power of the blackball in it. The system now lets advertisers pick and choose specific psychographic segments to target for TV spots. If you’re the advertiser, you can select the audience you want to reach by choosing different attributes such as age, gender, income and interests. But then—and here’s the joy of the blackball—you can just willy-nilly block or add certain networks or programs. Want “The Office” in the mix? Then add it. No interest in having your spots run in “That ’70s Show”? Then give it the old heave-ho, all from the privacy of your computer screen.
After I got over the heady rush of power—ditching Bloomberg, adding MTV, giving the boot to “American Idol”—I got down to the real work of planning a mock TV ad campaign.
I decided to tinker around with the system because I can see a day when Google runs all ads on television. What, you think that sounds crazy? I know the system is relatively new and the search giant has inked TV ad deals with only a handful of programmers and distributors, among them NBC Universal, Hallmark Channel and EchoStar. Still, I don’t want to bet against Google.
The first step to using Google TV Ads is to have a Google Ad Words account.
Google Ad Words is the system by which advertisers bid on search terms for a search marketing campaign. Since Google Ad Words is effectively the engine for Google TV Ads, you start there.
Sign up for an account or log in. Then you arrive on a campaign summary page listing how much money you have spent on Google campaigns for online, print and television, broken down via each medium. You can view the campaigns together or separately according to various time frames, such as all time, yesterday, last seven days, this month, last month or a specific date range.
You then can view the results from each campaign by daypart, network, CPM or cost. If you want to change the time frame, price or network in an ad buy, you simply click on “edit settings.”
From there you can enter how much you want to spend in total, how much you want to spend each day, your maximum CPM or other data points.
For instance, if I want to spend $100 a day and pay no more than a $3 CPM, well, let’s just say my bid would be too low for most cable networks. But if I raise my CPM to $10, even $15, I’m within striking distance of a decent buy.
Anyway, it’s fun to poke around and see how the system works. And if you don’t, well, don’t say I didn’t warn you when Google takes over the world.


  1. What is the deal? Is that not what microtargeting is all about? It here there something wrong with targeting advertising dollars to those that you have researched and concluded have a greater propensity to respond to your marketing message?
    Now that this advertising capabilitiy is on the horizon…all I hear from this article is complaints. Can you envision a different or better scenario? I think the real message is the technology is close…time for media to get more sophisticated about the options that they offer to advertisers and consumers.

  2. For decades there have been TV expert companies providing target demographics for ratings; it’d be interesting to do a test to see if the targeting of those doing Google’s software code were in the same ballpark of documented results from the existing tv companies. This would be a market-worthy report & study.
    I’d be cautious to predict the TV industry commerce system will soon move to the company making vast revenue from undermining their market position. The TV industry did get horribly abused by the market monopoly of perpetual-orphan traffic companies getting gobbled up: costing the industry billions a year… Google’s great and they’ve changed online forever; don’t expect sleeping dogs to not wake up to who’s walking off with their dinner.

  3. I wouldn’t have an orgasm yet re: Google as they are late to the party. OPTV has had an application that will do the same, and more.
    OPTV’s “SpotOn” is also hooked up to their “Eclipse” Ad management application that keeps track of Ads, and sales for the system operators. This application is currently running on multiple Comcast systems around the country, as well as Time Warner, and others.
    Also OPTV is in over 100 million set to boxes, and it wouldn’t surprise me if Google will have to run on OPTV’s middleware, and that their effort into the targeting ad space is in part related to OPTV’s IP within the OCAP inititive.

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