Google is allowing some of its existing online marketers to use its automated advertising system to broadcast ads on radio stations around the United States, the company said on Thursday.
The beta test of Google Audio Ads is the result of the integration of technology from Google’s acquisition of radio advertising company dMarc Broadcasting nearly a year ago.
The test is limited to just over 20 Google AdWords customers and more than 730 stations, including XM Satellite radio, said Ryan Steelberg, head of radio operations for Google and a co-founder of dMarc.
The radio ads are running in more than 260 metropolitan markets, covering about 87 percent of the country. The company is hiring “scores” of radio sales people in major markets and is offering them 50% above prevailing salaries. From the article: “Google spokesman Michael Mayzel said this week that the company will begin a public test of Google Audio Ads by the end of the year. Advertisers will be able to go online and sign up for targeted radio ads using the same AdWords system they use to buy Web search ads. It made a clear move into radio in January when it agreed to pay more than $1 billion, depending on performance, for dMarc Broadcasting Inc., which connects advertisers to radio stations through an automated advertising system. It’s all part of what Google Chief Executive Eric Schmidt has said is an investment in radio advertising that could grow over time to include up to 1,000 Google employees not just in ad sales, but also in engineering and operations.”
Google’s ambitious foray into radio advertisements may be significantly delayed, says RBC Capital Markets analyst Jordan Rohan. The problem? Google may not have access to enough radio airtime for advertisers to test the product.
We first wrote about Google Audio ads a week ago when competitor Voices.com was saying flat out that Google copied part of their product. Google plans to handle audio ads for customers from soup to nuts: assistance with ad creation, the ability to bid on radio spots, and target ads by geography, station type, listener demographics and time of day.
But none of this is useful if Google isn’t able to get access to advertising inventory. ‘We believe a critical mass of advertisers is interested in testing the platform’, Rohan said. ‘However, there is simply not enough radio inventory in the Google Audio system (yet) to enable buyers to run campaigns.’
Google may be working on a deal with CBS Radio to get access to more ad space.