Hard to measure
One advertiser that has tested the service says it delivered results, but they were hard to measure precisely.
Video production company MPI Media Group was contacted by Google late last year to participate in an offline test. Google placed MPI's online text ad for the 20th anniversary video of the "Chicago Bears' Super Bowl Shuffle" in multiple sections of the Chicago Sun-Times for about a week, says Mike Zuccato, MPI Media Group's director of consumer marketing.
MPI mainly sells its videos through third-party distributors, but the ad in question included a phone number and Web site address for buying the video directly from MPI. According to Mr. Zuccato, direct sales of the video spiked 30% (on relatively low volume) for the period the Google offline ad ran. The only way to measure the success of the ad was to track gross sales, Mr. Zuccato says.
One-stop Web interface
He agrees that running a text ad in a print environment amounts to a "very low-key ad," but says the real benefit for his business was the ability to manage online and offline ad buys via a single Web interface.
"I'd be interested in it [when it becomes formally available]," Mr. Zuccato says. "We have limited staff here, and it was easy to insert and test our successful online ads in the offline environment."
For now, Google's venture into offline advertising is still in beta testing with no announced date for a formal, commercial release, according to a Google spokesman.