Television executives, please, if you are listening - just say NO to the tempting offer of allowing Google to "help you" by selling your unsold inventory. This would be a catastrophic mistake, and I can explain why. But first, below is an excerpt from an article Ad Age published Monday on this subject:
"They (Google) want to start with scatter first and then move to local," said one executive familiar with Google's plans. Scatter refers to TV ad inventory that is not sold to marketers ahead of time, during what is known as the upfront, but is negotiated and bought each quarter. The price of scatter inventory rises and falls in relation to whether there is a lot or a little available, making it a market perfect for the auction-style ad system at which Google excels. The search giant has already attempted to apply its sales tools to radio and print-ad sales, and TV executives have long been wary of allowing Google to get a toehold in their business. TV executives argue that they don't want to see their products commoditized, and that auctions could depress pricing. Google argues the opposite, claiming it will bring new customers to the market, possibly increasing prices."
Google would purchase your unsold airtime and then resell it to its vast pool of advertisers your own sales staff can't seem to break. Does it occur to you why your own sales team has not sold advertising to these "new customers" only Google can bring to the table? It's because you don't want them to.
New Canaan, Conn. has one of the most exclusive Zip codes in the country. Residents include David Letterman, Paul Simon, and, ironically, Jeff Immelt, the CEO of General Electric. The town maintains its immense value because not everyone can afford to live there. Television is like New Canaan -- not every advertiser can afford to live there. What Google fails to recognize as it tries to play in this neighborhood is that, while it does make it easier for advertisers to pay the mortgage, those same advertisers can't afford to build a home. Google advertisers pay a buck or two a click to advertise on Google right now. How much money do you think they are going to spend on the production of a television ad?
But who cares? Inventory sold is better than inventory eaten, right? Wrong, and viewers care. The second a dumpy-looking ad appears on their screens, the quicker they change the channel. The more often they change the channel, the more likely they fail to return to your program - which, ultimately, will lower ratings and deflate prices -- not increase them as Google suggests.
Google will argue the ads it sells will be extremely relevant, which will hold the viewer's attention. OK, but relevancy and producing engaging creative are not mutually exclusive -- and Google is blind to this notion because Google knows very little about advertising. The company knows a whole lot about you personally, and about search and related technologies -- but what it knows about advertising it borrowed without permission and paid a significant penalty for doing so. Just ask Bill Gross.
Google is putting the yellow pages out of business. The company created an "ease of use" platform that delivers scale never seen before. But it has yet to scale the walls of brand advertising. And it needs to, given the expectations it has established. So Google's plan is to ride its scooters up to the offices of the companies that have the biggest slice of the brand advertising pie, and "help" monetize every last crumb of a meal it hasn't earned.
At its core, Google is a typical dot-com, living in another world, speaking in circles until you get dizzy and start to doubt your own business sense, and just as you are about ready to faint, Google hands you a check while picking your pocket.