In a sad little post, delivered after close of business at 6pm, Google yesterday announced it would kill off its TV Ads in AdWords.
"Our goal is to provide all our customers with the best digital marketing opportunities," and TV Ads in AdWords was not one of them, wrote Google's Sheshir Mehrotra.
Google launched the program in 2007 to bring digital buying and measurement technologies to traditional TV advertising. Since then, claims Google, "lots of our clients" have bought traditional TV advertising for the first time. But, video is increasingly going digital and users are now watching across numerous devices.
Forbes’ Robert Hof described the failure as "Yet another sign that its math-driven advertising systems don't readily translate to traditional advertising." In 2009, Google shut down similar radio and print ad efforts for lack of interest.
Business Insider described the death of Google TV ads as "a huge victory for the broadcast and cable networks" which are embroiled in an "epic war against the web [that threatens] to turn traditional TV viewing into the newspaper business of the 21st Century."
Really? TV ad spending is hardly circling the bowl; rather, it continues to surpass the national average, according to the figures provided by Kantar Media. In Q1 2012, TV media saw a 7.6% year-over-year rise in advertising expenditures, compared to the overall 2.6% growth in ad spend for the US (digital included).
So Google is off the TV screen, but don’t cry for Google. As Hof described in an MIT Technology Review article, YouTube should gross $3.6 billion this year, and YouTube will gross $2.4 billion for Google after sharing ad revenue with content partners; that is about six times the revenue Hulu took in in 2012. Mehrotra was the mastermind behind YouTube advertising.
As Mehrotra wrote on the Google TV Ad blog, "We've made the hard decision to close our TV Ads product over the next few months and move the team to other areas at Google." It will "double down on video solutions for our clients (like YouTube, AdWords for Video, and ad serving tools for web video publishers)." And it will explore opportunities to help users access web content on their TV screens through emerging products like Google TV.