Google AdSense for radio: Part Deux

From today’s C|NET story on Google and radio advertising:

“So why the excitement? dMarc automates the process of buying ads, placing them in time slots and tracking them, which is usually done by ad agencies over the phone, experts said. Automation could lead to efficiency, and that means lower prices for advertisers while bringing in more sales for the radio stations. … The Google-dMarc system would be a big change from the current ad-buying system, where ad salespeople establish personal relationships with radio stations. Advertisers could better quantify how well an ad campaign is doing and modify the ads quickly depending on the response rate from listeners.”

Which reminded me of this from Chris Anderson’s The Long Tail:

“Meanwhile on the other side, those ad-driven media have their own ad sales forces. They pitch the advertisers and their media buyers on the virtues of their advertising vehicles. If all goes well, millions of dollars change hands. All of it is labor-intensive and made even more costly by the expensive schmoozing that’s required in businesses where a lack of trusted performance metrics makes salesmanship and personal relationships key to winning businesses.”

Only time will tell if Google can make this elephant dance, but revenue in Google’s most recent quarter was $2.5 billion, nearly double what it was a year ago. And Google has the money and time to figure this out:

“What’s neat about this is the radio stations get to preview the creative copy and we pre-approve all rates before they get aired. Radio stations and Google will explore on a case-by-case basis which opportunities make sense.”

The scariest quote in the story for me was:

The fact that (what Google is trying) is more electronically based gives advertisers more comfort that they are getting what they are buying.” Ad agencies and stations “are still faxing invoices to each other and typing up affidavits.”

All of this brings back memories of Google’s earliest days. Everybody that used it said, “Damn, this is cool! THIS is how search is supposed to work. But, uh, how are they gonna make any money with this service if it’s free?” $2.5 billion last quarter. Maybe they’ll figure it out.

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