Google Gets Out of Radio Ads

Shutters Audio Program Just a Month After Dropping Print Ads

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NEW YORK ( -- Google Audio is joining the Google Graveyard.

The search engine is getting out of radio after a three-year trial that yielded few new advertisers for the medium. The move comes just a month after Google shut down its Print Ads program.

Focus on streaming audio
Google entered the radio-ad sales business in January 2006 when it purchased dMarc Broadcasting, a company that makes automation software -- the software and hardware that run radio's on- and off-air operations. It licensed the software to radio stations and signed them to deals in which Google could sell some of the on-air ad time. Google signed deals with several large radio companies, including a 2007 deal with Clear Channel, the country's largest radio broadcaster, and a 2006 deal with XM Satellite Radio.

The company is phasing out the audio-ad products and will sell the radio-automation business. Advertisers will be able to use Google Audio Ads until May 31. The company said it would instead concentrate on selling ads in online streaming audio. About 40 people are expected to lose their jobs at Google as the business is closed.

Difficult to track ROI
The idea behind Google Audio Ads, as it was with Print Ads, was to make buying ad inventory much more efficient for the smaller advertisers that have been instrumental in growing Google's search-ads business and find new ways to match relevant ads to audio content. But one big problem? It was easy to trace return on investment on the click-based web -- not so much in radio or print.

Google still sells TV ads and a spokesman said there are no plans to cut that program, pointing out that it recently added inventory from Bloomberg TV and NBC Universal to the pool that it sells. He said Google is getting good feedback from advertisers on its TV venture.

"We have always accepted that if you take risks not all of them will pay off," Susan Wojcicki, VP-product management, wrote on one of the company's blogs. "Deciding to close products is never easy, but we will continue to focus on advertising products that provide measurability for advertisers, and are relevant and useful for users, listeners and viewers."

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