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Google Audio begins to gel

Any successful marketplace needs both buyers and sellers and a medium of communication between them that is both transactional (i.e., Google) and persuasive (i.e., the arhitecture of writers, voice, and production that make advertising tick).

Today I see Google is advertising for the players in that architecture.

Their goal, as they put it:

If you’re an all-purpose talent who can do scriptwriting, voice and production, we have thousands of advertisers who can use your services. We’re accepting applications from radio and production professionals who have industry experience and can offer this package of services. Once your application is accepted, you’ll receive log-in information that will allow you to create a profile and upload a demo. Google will make your profile available to thousands of advertisers who are keen to start selling their products and services on the radio — and need your help to get their ads created.

Your application, if accepted, will place you in “a searchable directory of talent to help AdWords advertisers to create radio advertisements.”

This is an obvious move on their part, of course, and a necessary one.

But it gets me thinking about the difference between a textual adwords campaign and an audio one, on the radio or elsewhere. Not from the perspective of the radio industry but from the perspective of the advertiser.

It is, for example, almost effortless for anyone to create an adword campaign. You do it yourself and the feedback (i.e., the finished ad) is instantaneous. It’s easy to change and to publish and there are no third parties required.

Compare that to the process of building an audio ad.

Audio ads are mediated by professionals. You need to access Google’s roster of pros. Because if you don’t there’s a good chance that radio stations will refuse to run your amateurish spot.

But that extra step – the invoking of help from professionals – not to mention the cost involved – creates a hurdle that many would-be advertisers will hesitate to vault over. Especially when creating a text adword is so much easier.

In fact, it is one of radio’s strengths that our industry does all that heavy lifting for you, the client. Got a product to sell? Need some foot traffic? Just call us and we’ll take it from there. You don’t have to choose the talent. You don’t have to hire the writers. You don’t have to sweat the details. And what’s more, we’ll help you make your advertising successful because we win only when you do over the long haul – not simply by short-term transactions.

In other words, there are people in a radio station, not just technology. People who will get to know you and your business and will help you achieve your goals and not simply mediate your buy.

In many smaller markets, I’m often told that ratings don’t count. Relationships do. Small business owners often evaluate their advertising relationships based on how those relationships make them feel. Not on the kinds of metrics that are central to Google’s model.

The human touch is helpful to the process for a complex ad buy in a market of small business owners who don’t currently use radio.

This is not to say that Google’s audio effort will be unsuccessful. Not at all. It’s only to say that it’s not a substitute for a marketing partner who has the merchant’s best interests at heart and knows her by name.

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