SAN FRANCISCO (Reuters) - Google Inc. said on Tuesday it is expanding its Print Ads program to allow online advertisers nationwide to place print advertisements in 225 newspapers, serving half of U.S. newspaper readers.
The program, which will let hundreds of thousands of Google AdWords customers place newspaper ads in the same way they buy Web page, radio or TV ad space, follows a 50-publication test started last November among a small group of advertisers.
The 225 newspapers are located in 32 of the 35 biggest U.S. metropolitan markets, with a combined circulation of almost 30 million subscribers. Among the newspapers in the program are The New York Times, Washington Post, Chicago Tribune, Atlanta Journal-Constitution, Seattle Times and San Jose Mercury News.
Google Print Ads lets advertising agencies and advertising customers of all sizes plan and buy traditional newspaper media — from one-inch to full-page displays in both national and local newspapers via Google’s existing ad sales software.
Smita Hashim, group product manager for Print Ads, said it was designed to bring online advertisers back to papers. “We are not actively marketing to newspaper loyalists,” she said, referring to print advertisers to which papers typically sell.
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Separately on Tuesday, Google rival Yahoo Inc. said it has increased its own ad sales partnership with U.S. newspaper publishers to 17 chains covering 400 newspapers, up from 176 publications when its program began in November.
Unlike Google Print Ads, however, Yahoo’s program is aimed at helping newspapers sell ads on their online sites, something Google itself already does through its own AdSense program.
On that score, Google said it had renewed an existing deal to supply Washingtonpost.Newsweek Interactive with online Web search results, as well as pay-per-click and contextually targeted ads to WashingtonPost.com readers.
With Google Print Ads, an ad buyer in Los Angeles might buy space in Chicago or Seattle newspapers, something only national advertisers now typically do. This allows local papers to reach a national base of online ad buyers.
“Google Print Ads has brought in new advertisers who were either too small to consider advertising in a national newspaper or who hadn’t tried print advertising because their business was largely online,” said Todd Haskell, the New York Times’ vice president of business development for advertising.
Advertisers then place bids for space and upload ad images to the Google AdWords system and the rest is taken care by the newspapers and Google, which handles billing and payments.
As part of its bid to bring accountability to both sides of the print-buying process, Google asks newspapers to provide electronic “tear sheets” — images that demonstrate exactly where and how a specific ad ran in a publication — within 24 hours of the publication of the print advertisement.
Google officials said the extension of AdWords to include newspaper ads promises to bring the measurability of online ad sales to offline print media.
“Advertisers are using newspapers in very similar ways to how they use online advertising,” Hashim said. Customers are beginning to test ad campaigns across different markets and shifting spending where it is most effective, she said.