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Google Takes on TV Advertising

Google's got their hands in just about everything these days--cars, wallets, drones, contact lenses and even space! They also got into the internet bandwidth and cable television game back in 2012 with Google Fiber, a project to insert fiber-optic cables in a growing number of cities through the United States. Google Fiber is currently in Kansas City, Provo and Austin, and they have plans to expand into Salt Lake City, Nashville, Atlanta, Raleigh-Durham, Charlotte and other cities in the near future. 

Google's seemingly altruistic mission, "to organize the world’s information and make it universally accessible and useful," is far from self-sacrificing. And that applies to Google Fiber as well. We could have predicted as much, but an announcement from Google last month proved it. Google will be using Fiber to test TV advertising campaigns in Kansas City. 

Why is this interesting? Because it could revolutionize the TV ad industry, that's why! Instead of basing ad placement and pricing on Nielsen rating, an extrapolation of viewership data based on a small subset of TV viewers that have meters installed in their homes, Google's TV ads will be based on actual impressions and personalized viewer behaviors and demographics. Similar to how they price and run AdWords, Google's TV ads will direct-response focused and managed more fluidly. 

Let's say you're watching Broad City, then switch over to 60 Minutes. Your friend that lives just down the road is also watching 60 Minutes, but had previously viewed Shark Tank. You may both see different ads during that investigative hour based on the different types of shows you watched previously. Google's TV ads may also have a viewing frequency cap, whereby they will stop running an ad after a viewer has seen it a certain number of times. Ads may also be hyper-localized. Say it's dinnertime in Kansas City, two viewers just miles apart may see ads from different pizzerias based on their proximity to those restaurants. 

This extreme targeting and pricing based on legitimate actions, combined with the data insights that only Google will be able to provide, will be infinitely appealing to brands both big and small, global and local, deep-pocketed and cost-conscious. And if the campaigns are easily managed through a platform like AdWords, allowing for better control of campaign structure, creative, targeting, budgets and maybe even multivariate testing, the deal will be even sweater.

Keep in mind this is all dependent on Google's ability and timeline for rolling out Fiber to other cities. It's dependent on people actually signing up for Fiber and using the hardware in their homes. That certainly won't happen tomorrow. But it's nice to dream about a day in the not-too-distant future when the top DMAs have Google Fiber and brands are able to deliver highly-relevant and personalized content to viewers, accurately track the performance of those ads and makes real-time changes based on actual data and insights. 

What are your thoughts on Google's foray into TV ads? Will your brand be one of the first to test them? Share your thoughts on our Facebook, Twitter or Google+ profile.