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Google Audio – the OTHER side of the story

From Inside Radio:

Google Audio national director of sales Drew Hilles tells Inside Radio “Our main goal is to draw new advertisers to radio” and when they do that’ll put pressure on inventory and result in higher rates for all buyers. The onetime CBS Radio exec says one way they help preserve a station’s rate card integrity is by allowing buyers to pick markets — but not individual stations.

Bill Figenshu is COO of Google Audio competitor SWMX. So Fig is hardly a disinterested party, but here’s his take on Google’s strategy – and what’s wrong with it. Yes, there’s some pitch in here, but Fig also scores some points. And Google Audio – if you’re listening – you’re welcome to reply.

[Has Google] really done their homework on understanding radio?

Radio station audiences are NOT generic. They each have a target, just like advertisers products & services.

Advertisers want demographic choice. Not bulk audience markets. It goes against the basic benefit of radio. Radio’s ability to target makes it attractive. Selling advertising on radio only to have it not work (because of improper targeting) will drive advertisers away from radio. (“I bought the market using radio, it didn’t work”) 12+ is a family reunion, not an effective radio buy. (SWMX stations offer choice because over 1,800 stations representing 40+% of all radio 12+ average quarter hours (12.4 million listeners) in 248 markets allows advertisers to choose the correct demo’s for the product.)

What % of the current Google Advertisers are NEW to Radio? (ours is 90% – Is Google more?) If they are bringing new advertisers to radio, why hire radio sales people to call on radio buyers? Who are they selling against?

Google can preserve a station’s rate card integrity by selling the station for what it is worth. Then you don’t have to “hide” the station and sell radio by the pound. Let me understand, if Google sells cheap spots and takes a 50% commission, it will cause other local, loyal, station advertisers to pay more. (This is why SWMX has offered “full flighted”options.)

A 50% commission rate is good for Google. Not radio stations.

We at SWMX love having Google (or anyone) selling the benefits of radio. But, NO RADIO MANAGER that I know of will allow the sales department to sell a cluster without knowing what stations the advertiser is going to be on. How can you repeat a successful campaign if you don’t know what stations worked? Hello?

And please let me know where a sales person can earn 50% commission. We all want to work there! (Google charges 50% for every dollar they bring to radio. SWMX gives the station 85% of the buy.

Google can do much better for radio and advertisers if it takes the time to learn what radio is all about. Bring more money into the biz, that’s great! But take the time to learn why radio is so special. Then get the rate to make radio advertising (and Google) worth more.

Radio can help itself by making it easier to buy. There is too much paper, too many hoops to jump through, too many people saying “no” and not enough attention being paid to the content value. As a MAJOR purchaser of radio, SWMX has made it easier for stations to “get money.” If Google really wants to help, it can start by understanding the key benefits of radio, then make it easy for the stations (not Google) to get money.

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