Signs Up 28 Consumer Magazines for Automated Buying

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NEW YORK ( -- Google is now acting like a full-fledged print ad broker, having signed 28 consumer magazines to its print-ad initiative. And now the online search wants to play nice with media buyers and planners, insisting there’s enough room in the sandbox for everyone.
The expansion offers automated bidding for ads in magazines including 'Elle Girl,' 'Martha Stewart Living,' 'Women’s Health' and a stable of technology and automotive publications like 'Car and Driver.' Ad sizes offered are quarter-, half- or full-page.
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Last August, Google worried the media-buying ad world when it started experimenting with buying print ads on behalf of its AdWords clients in Ziff Davis’ PC Magazine, Future Networks USA’s Maximum PC, Budget Living Media’s Budget Livingand the Chicago Sun Times newspaper. That test worked so well that Google has expanded the program.

Size of ads expanded
The size of ads its now offering has expanded as well, moving from fractional classifieds to quarter, half and full-page placements.

Google’s strategy is in no way tied to the interactive realm, said Tim Armstrong, VP-advertising. “We have a set of advertisers that could benefit from being in another medium,” he said at the Software & Information Industry Association conference in New York this month. “At a certain point, Google is agnostic to media.”

The expansion offers automated bidding for ads in magazines including Entrepreneur, Martha Stewart Living, Women’s Health and a stable of technology and automotive publications. Ad sizes offered are quarter-, half- or full-page. Google customers that have already bid for sponsored links in the AdWords program are eligible to participate. (The beta test can be found at

Because an advertiser can easily place his own ad, doesn’t the program kick media buyers out of the process?

Media buyer expertise
“We’ve been working closely with media agencies so we can layer their expertise on top of any technology we will create,” Mr. Rajaram said. “The media buyer brings a ton of expertise and we hope to give them the tools to make their planning more efficient.”

Jack Kliger, who, in addition to his role as CEO of Hachette Filipacchi Media U.S., is chairman of the Magazine Publishers of America. He views Google as a partner. “Magazines have always sold advertising to third parties who, in turn, sold to clients that our own sales force doesn't reach,” he said, adding that “Google represents an opportunity, not a threat.”

In a speech at a recent MPA event Mr. Kliger called for a one-order-one-bill system for consumer magazines that would automate the ad-placing process. Hachette magazines Car and Driver and Elle Girl are participating in the program.

Bidding a set dollar amount
Advertisers bid a set dollar amount, instead of bidding on a cost-per-click basis as they would on AdWords. There is no minimum bid. Buyers have until Feb. 20 to place their bids. Google will notify those that have the winning bids March 3. Advertisers place bids through an automated process, filling out a form that asks for their e-mail, customer ID, magazines they wish to advertise in, size of ad and bidding price. They also choose the issue in which they want to appear, picked from a list. Only a handful of issues are available for each magazine.

“The benefit of this experiment is to allow the advertiser to streamline the process of placing print ads as well as provide them an efficient way to place ads in print campaigns,” said Gokul Rajaram, director of product management, Google.

Mr. Rajaram said that after the initial test, publishers asked for a “more diverse” advertising base. Since the advertisers were small businesses such as, which sells printer cartridges online, Mr. Rajaram is hoping to attract larger businesses to the program.

Eric Blankfein, senior VP-director communications channel planning, Horizon Media, said he doubted whether big advertisers would want to go through Google to place print ads. “If they are a significant print spender, they will continue to go through their traditional buyers,” he said. ”If it proves to be a more efficient stream of revenue to go through Google, and who the hell knows, it may work this way.”

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