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Google Audio Ads - Review

Discussion in 'Google' started by Goramba, Sep 24, 2007.

  1. #1
    Ok, this will be a small review of Google Audio Ads.

    Background:
    I am selling a rather revolutionary product which is very much in need. To give you an idea on the need, contracts awarded to bulky, expensive, and all around "not as good" versions topped $6 billion last year. This was distributed to a rather small group of companies and mine is the only one offering it to the public.

    I recently opened a website and decided to market it, but since most people do not know it exists using Google Adwords was a somewhat fruitless pursuit. I decided on Audio Ads because it would spread brand/product awareness.

    Process outline:

    Using the Audio Ads section of Google is somewhat still in the beta stages it seems. There is no way to delete or remove campaigns, only stop or pause them. This creates a tad bit of confusion when looking at the collective budget because it includes ALL campaigns, even ones you stopped. There are a few other areas that are difficult to navigate and the creation process is somewhat ambiguous. Although once you make your way through it once subsequent campaigns become easier.

    Keep in mind, much like Adwords, this is a bid system. You select a budget and they do their best to take all the money you offered while guaranteeing nothing. :)

    Creation:

    Ad creation is a rather simple process. If you already have an MP3 radio ad you can upload it, but I think most opt to have one professionally made.

    Once you enter the Ad Creation Marketplace the layout is rather simple. You're presented with a screen full of companies with their average cost, if it's buyout/pay-per-play, turnaround time, and a small audio demo. Keep in mind though the demo is obviously their best offering and may be beyond your budget. Custom jingles, multiple voices, and sound effects can add to the cost.

    One thing of mention, while with no filters it currently has 3 pages of companies you can not request quotes from multiple pages. There's a box next to each company you check to request a quote, which you can do for up to 5 companies, but once you go to page 2 you lose all of page 1 requests. I assume google will fix this soon.

    Most are full service companies, which means you give them a general idea and they'll take the project from A to Z and deliver a finished product. This process is covered by Google; before you can submit a quote you fill in a general outline of the ad requirements. In many cases this is the only contact you have with the company as once you accept their bid they'll usually just submit a finished product to google in a couple days. You can then listen to it and have the option of accepting or rejecting it. Of course you are still given all of their contact information (including phone number) and the ones expecting to be in business for more than a day will contact you if they have any questions.

    Prices vary, most quote in the $3-400 area can be had cheaper.


    Selecting areas to play your ad:

    This is nifty and lacking at the same time. You select the area the ad plays via zip code, general demographics, time of the day and week, and station type. Such as you can put in a zip code, choose 18-25yr olds, M-F morning rush, or only play on country stations. The selections are fulfilling but be careful! The station type you pick can have a very damaging effect on your campaign. The reason being you can not choose between AM and FM stations, your ad plays where they decide based on your budget and station type. For example, your customer base may listen to talk radio but that will also mean it will play primarily on AM stations. If you couple that with a low budget it will play almost exclusively on the AM stations. After your campaign is running you can request a report of where you ad has played and even listen to a short clip of the radio before and during your ad. This way you can get an idea on where in the grand scheme of things you came in. Of course while neat it's somewhat useless after the fact.
    SEMrush
    As you select different restrictions google gives you an estimate of the audience. If carefully selected a $200 budget can get you 200,000+ listeners, although the quality of the listeners is in question (eg. 75yr old easy listening may not be what you're after).

    Final steps:

    Once the company uploads your audio ad you simply pay, attach it to a campaign, and go for it! Not so quick though, there's a few DAYS approval process for the Audio itself (amazingly this comes AFTER you pay), then about 1-2 days approval for the campaign itself. This is rather annoying and hopefully will be combined in the future. Keep this in mind when selecting the start date though since you can lose out on 1-2 days while the campaign is being reviewed.

    Actual Tests:

    The first test was done on a budget of about $1,000 for 30 days. I selected 4 major cities, requested it NOT play after 12am, but had no other restrictions. The effect: WORTHLESS! After playing for about a week Google claimed 293 plays to 201,000 listeners. Watching my Analytics keenly I saw absolutely no effect at all. Nothing. That was rather upsetting but I stopped it before it took all my cash.

    Test #2: This test was in two stages. I requested a new audio ad and created two new campaigns. One had a budget of $300 for a week and I removed as many chances for it landing on AM stations as possible (removed talk radio, etc.). The second campaign was another budget of $700 for 3 weeks, also removed AM type stations, and requested it play on fewer stations to maximize my bid. Both overlapped for the first week.

    The effect: Nearly worthless! There was an effect, but minimal. I had roughly 30 direct visitors a day increase for the one week the campaigns overlapped. After that, nothing. It pretty much dropped to before-ad levels. That's the "good" thing about Audio, you know they're almost always the direct ones.

    Totals for these two campaigns before I stopped the second one was 123 ad plays to 418,000 listeners. Out of that, over the week plus, I got about 230 new visitors at a rather sizable cost. The total comes to right around $3 per visitor not including the cost of creating the ads. The only good thing I can really say about my experience is that you get the best of the best visiting your site. They heard your ad and went out of their way to find out more, instead of just impulsively clicking on a link. That turned into some conversions ($1,000 in sales, but cost that to get them!) and good time-on-site.

    The reports showed that they played primarily on popular FM stations but the effect was minimal still. In my next test I'll do $1,000 for a week, but only if I get up the nerve to lose another grand.

    I'll leave it at that. If you have any questions feel free to ask.
     
    Goramba, Sep 24, 2007 IP
    Remotay, godmode and digitalpoint like this.
    SEMrush
  2. Remotay

    Remotay Active Member

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    #2
    Awesome post +Rep! Don't see posts like this often :D
     
    Remotay, Sep 24, 2007 IP
  3. trichnosis

    trichnosis Prominent Member

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    #3
    wow, it was one of the best post until i have read.

    Thanks for that
     
    trichnosis, Sep 25, 2007 IP
  4. tapanp

    tapanp Peon

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    #4
    Great Post
     
    tapanp, Sep 25, 2007 IP
  5. sunnymonkey

    sunnymonkey Peon

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    #5
    Thanks for the review... still need to dedicate some time to playing with this.
     
    sunnymonkey, Sep 25, 2007 IP
  6. Bakie

    Bakie Well-Known Member

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    #6
    Is there any chance that we can listen to the mp3's?

    Thanks very much for the review, its very interesting.
     
    Bakie, Sep 25, 2007 IP
  7. afmusan

    afmusan Peon

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    #7
    I'll pitch in my experience thus far as I'm using Google radio ads right now. I started a couple weeks ago. I hired one of the consultants listed and he was nice, fast and efficient. I was surprised to later find out that he is a lead creative consultant at one of the most well known national radio brands. I was also surprised to get two scripted, produced ads with sound effects for around $250. I got a discount on doing two together however. Keep that in mind if you plan on doing multiple ads at any time. The whole process of ad design, back and forth, and then Google approval of ad and then campaign approval took a week and a half. It's not something you can just start up today.

    My first campaign was to 9 smaller markets. $500 a week for three weeks. Thus far, I've found you may not get all those markets. I haven't had any plays in three of them. Limited stations or budget? I'm not sure why. The other markets have played the ads. Some AM and some FM. I am getting about 6,000 listeners on the large ads on this campaign. The AM are smaller audiences of course. Not getting the big talk radio shows through Google ads yet. I think they get specific high priced ad services.

    Second campaign just started for two larger city areas. $500 a week for two weeks. I have fewer ad plays but one ad may hit 30,000 listeners at a time.

    A third campaign is one mid-size market that I used to live in so I know the stations better. $100 a week for three weeks.

    My campaigns run Monday - Thursday 6am-midnight. I avoided Friday thinking that people are obsessed with the weekend, running around to get the weekend going, not listening to the radio as much as the early part of the week. In dayparting, drive times are the most expensive. Overnight and evenings are the cheapest. I want people at their work desk online or to remember my ad for when they arrive somewhere.

    I try to listen to the audio clips for the big audience plays. Not all are available. I'm just guessing that Google records from online audio streams. If they station doesn't stream online, they may not record it. So it's about half and half for me as to whether the clip is available. I'm still kind of high about hearing my ad on the radio mixed in with other ads, songs, etc. It's fun (but costly)

    RESULTS: Radio ads are not trackable for me. My site is established and already gets 10k people a day. Radio is more about branding. Hit peoples ears over time and maybe they remember your site when they see it online or it comes to mind when they think of my service. I'm looking at the addresses of my customers and trying to find spikes in those markets where the ads are run. About three days into ad plays in two markets, I did notice a few more customers that are from those markets. I don't know for sure, but they could be from radio. I do think that a customer may need to hear your ads a few times to 1) remember it or 2) start to trust it to check it out. I don't think it would do any good to play one ad one time in 100 markets. I think each target market needs to be blanketed over several weeks.

    My site uses Adsense at bottom of pages for those leaving the site. From the first weekday run of ads, I did notice an upturn in page views on the site. Not necessarily customers. Is it from radio or just a coincidence? Is it from a search engine adjustment? Is it from added content? I don't know for sure. I'm not seeing ranking changes or new sections adding up to the increase. I'm seeing more direct entries. But maybe something else happened that I can't detect. My site has sections to it with worldwide subsections and I do notice that the increase is in the USA section in the area of the ad focus. I'm not seeing the same increase in other world areas or topics outside the ad focus. The increase in ad revenue from that day forward is more than I'm spending on the radio ads so I can't complain yet.

    So at this point, I can't say it's a bust or a success and I will continue testing, probably around $500 a week for the rest of the year to really determine if it works. Radio is about the only affordable way to brand and target offline. I hope this helped someone here.
     
    afmusan, Sep 28, 2007 IP
  8. Searchnology.com

    Searchnology.com Peon

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    #8
    I am in the midst of planning my Google Audio campaign as well. Some things I noticed about the previous posts.

    1. You MUST have a unique domain name for this channel. (aka vanity domain) It is the only reliable way to track. You can have it simply redirect to your existing site. One caveat I experienced in the past is that my vanity domain ended up on a blog after a while. You can still infer that "direct" traffic is from your audio ads if this happens.

    2. Radio/TV is a bit different than PPC so don't expect the same type of response results. (less than .20% usually) The equation for radio advertising is REACH x FREQUENCY = RESPONSE VOLUME. The problem is that you need to wait a while and spend quite a bit of money to get both. I'd suggest sticking with PPC if you have less than $10k per month to spend in this channel.

    Good luck.
     
    Searchnology.com, Oct 2, 2007 IP
  9. wdwp

    wdwp Peon

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    #9
    If I went into Radio ads with relatively small budget, I'd try to hammer just one market for a long time. It really takes a few times to motivate a radio listener to pay attention and react to the ad. Since a lot of people listen to the same stations, it's best to have the ad repeated frequently on a small number of stations rather than infrequently on a large number of stations.

    Overall, audio ads may not be the best way to promote websites, unless you have something really new or want to reach less experienced internet users.

    Thanks for sharing your experiences with Google radio ads, they're very helpful.
     
    wdwp, Oct 2, 2007 IP
  10. Torans

    Torans Active Member

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    #10
    Thanks for the great info buddy :)
     
    Torans, Oct 2, 2007 IP
  11. webcosmo

    webcosmo Notable Member

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    #11
    Few months ago I launched an audio ad. Ran it for a month. Another one running currently, which I am running with 400 dollars I got from Google as promotional offer from first ad. I have quite same experience like you. Almost no ROI so far. Probably people listen to radios don't remember the ads, or just don't care:)
    Here is the link to my ad you guys can listen, http://www.webcosmo.com/web.mp3
     
    webcosmo, Oct 2, 2007 IP
  12. speedster

    speedster Peon

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    #12
    Not sure audio ads are useful, stats will be skewed because many people will have sound off, especially those browsing at work
     
    speedster, Oct 2, 2007 IP
  13. godmode

    godmode Well-Known Member

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    #13
    Awesome review Goramba. Reps given. I like honest good reviews than someone blabbering crap:p
     
    godmode, Oct 2, 2007 IP
  14. godmode

    godmode Well-Known Member

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    #14
    Afusman, great review from your side as well. Do let us know how it went.

    At some stage, i would be using google audio for my new projects.
     
    godmode, Oct 2, 2007 IP
  15. IEmailer.com

    IEmailer.com Well-Known Member

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    #15
    Grate post, Thank you for sharing...
     
    IEmailer.com, Oct 3, 2007 IP
  16. cannyinfotech

    cannyinfotech Guest

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    #16
    cannyinfotech, Aug 27, 2008 IP
  17. Mark_Austin

    Mark_Austin Peon

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    #17
    Great post -- thanks for the info.
    Mark
     
    Mark_Austin, Aug 27, 2008 IP
  18. H-bomb

    H-bomb Peon

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    #18
    Love the concept of audio ads. Thanks for sharing.
     
    H-bomb, Sep 6, 2008 IP
  19. DareDevils

    DareDevils Active Member

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    #19
    Great post man, thanks i was enjoy reading it.
     
    DareDevils, Oct 4, 2008 IP
  20. Monis

    Monis Guest

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    #20
    Thanks for shearing about Google Audio Ads. ….. Really good info… It is very beneficial.
     
    Monis, Oct 5, 2008 IP