Google’s Focus Flub: Why Google’s Old-Media Infiltration Seems Forced and Flawed


There are numerous reasons for the resistance, as Ari Rosenberg wrote about recently in his Online Publishing Insider article. One of the reasons I believe that poses a stumbling block is Google’s attitude as much as anything. Traditional media, and the channels that exist there, are also going to want the same flexibility, visibility and control that their online counterparts are now asking for. To date, Google hasn’t offered a model that traditional media is willing to embrace.

What Google has tried to do is leverage the sheer volume of advertisers that they control to gain access to the lucrative world of offline advertising. Advertiser volume alone, however, doesn’t appear to carry the same weight within the traditional media circles as it does online. While early returns aren’t promising in this endeavor, we can be assured that they won’t simply concede defeat and go home quietly.

That’s not to say that Google’s advertiser relationships are insignificant when it comes to traditional media. I believe that there is a way for Google to leverage those relationships and successfully cross over into traditional media.

The key is maintaining the focus that enabled Google to get to where it is at today. Google should stay focused on their core competency of contextual search and invest in businesses that focus on the offline media categories they want to penetrate. Rather than trying to force an entire industry to adapt to their way of thinking, why not create alliances with or purchase companies that are well established within the print, TV and radio industries?

With this approach, Google could utilize the expertise and old-media savvy of industry insiders and give the freedom and autonomy to do what they do best in the way that has proven to be successful. These established companies could then leverage Google’s advertiser relationships to in a way that Google has not been able to do as of yet. Google’s current approach, trying to force their brand and their technology on this market, hasn’t proven to be a winning approach so far, just ask the founders of dMarc.

This is, of course, just my opinion. While Google’s management team is probably not anxiously awaiting my next suggestion as to how they should run their multi-billion dollar corporation, they may want to heed the sound of the growing chorus of competition in the online world along with the echoes of opposition from the offline world and consider where they should be focusing their efforts in order to be successful in both worlds.


  1. Funny, there are different takes on the ability of Google to penetrate the off-line ad market. My initial take on it was that they are out of touch with the off-line world (I still think so). They do not understand the need, like Quigo, for transparancy and the human touch.

    Ultimately, they may be onto something different…Owning the backend. I think they may end up more effective off-line behind the scenes.

  2. […] Chad M. Little gets our attention with an article, posted on, in which he doubts the strategy Google implemented for its old-media infiltration. In fact, the article becomes the background for a larger and more in-depth analysis of the overall Google advertising strategy, both online and offline. […]


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