Google offers targeted TV ads

29 July 2009

MOUNTAIN VIEW, California: Google, the online search giant, has formed a partnership with a technology company that will allow marketers buying cable airtime via its television advertising platform to tailor spots for specific audiences.

It has been argued that Google has exerted a mixed impact on the advertising, marketing and media industries, although the company was forced into a rare retreat earlier this year when it closed its radio and print ad services.

The internet pioneer has now agreed a tie-up with Visible World, which has developed a system enabling brand owners to "target viewers with real-time offers, products, and creative based on geography, programming, inventory levels, time of day, weather, and other business conditions."

Such a result is achieved by drawing demographic and other information from cable set-top boxes, which can then be used to alter various aspects of communications, such as the script or promotional offers featured, as appropriate.

Among the other facilities the "intelliSpot" software provides is to allow advertisers to withdraw commercials that are found to be under-performing, and replace them with alternative executions. 

Google will pay Visible World to use this service, which will be made available through its TV Ads portal, described by the Mountain View-based firm as a "flexible, all-digital system for buying more accountable and measurable TV advertising."

Mike Steib, director of Google TV Ads, argued "audiences are more and more fragmented. One ad with one message for one audience is not the right thing for everyone."

Lenovo, the IT company, has previously worked with Visible World to run 50 targeted ads containing bespoke offers and links to a campaign website, allowing the company to track results. 

It originally bought the relevant cable inventory using Google TV Ads, and was said to have been one of a number of advertisers which encouraged Google to consider an alliance with Visible World.

CableVision, the cable provider, and DirectTV, the satellite broadcaster, are also both attempting to make inroads into behavioural advertising.

However, Craig Moffet, an analyst with Bernstein Research, recently wrote in a summary to investors that "addressable advertising on cable has been two years away from reality for, oh ... about 10 years."

YouTube, the video-sharing portal owned by Google, is also trialling a new service enabling its content partners to insert ads of their choosing into material they have uploaded to the site.

The FreeWheel ad-serving programme is also used by CBS and Warner Brothers, and effectively means YouTube is part of a broader, third-party ad network for the first time.

Data sourced from Wall Street Journal/Brand Republic; additional content by WARC staff