During the keynote at Google I/O last week, in which Google introduced both Google TV and the latest version of Android (Froyo), VP of Engineering Vic Gundotra talked about advertising with regards to mobile (and this was before the AdMob acquisition got the green light from the FTC). "It turns out we know a little bit about advertising," he said (and I’m paraphrasing, based on my live notes from the event). "This year is Google’s tenth anniversary of providing ad solutions. We’ve learned a few things. If you want a healthy ecosystem, you need advertisers and we have hundreds of thousands of them. We’re not new at this game."
"We have some tools like DoubleClick, Analytics, AdSense, AdWords, – the tools the industry knows and loves are being extended to the mobile environment," he added. He may have said these things with mobile in mind, but it doesn’t change much when you think about TV. If anything, you can ad Google TV Ads to the conversation.
In fact, throughout that day at the Google I/O event, there were multiple parallels drawn between Google TV and Android apart from the fact that they actually integrate with one another. For example, during a press conference I attended, Jason Kincaid asked if the web was ready for big screens, and Google Senior Product Manager Rishi Chandra said that we’d probably see a similar situation play out as we did with mobile in that sites will start optimizing for that experience.
Gundotra said that just like they’ve built ad formats for Android, they’ll probably do the same for Google TV too.
Google CEO Eric Schmidt, who was also in that press conference, noted that ads will be on websites, sold through websites, and they’ll be sold through Dish Network (one of the Google TV launch partners). One can only assume that future partnerships may also play a role in how advertisers are able to reach Google TV users.
The bottom line is that there will be no one way to reach users. Then of course, there are the ad opportunities within and around the content itself, which would obviously be on a by-provider basis.
During the conference, Google TV Technical Director Vincent Dureau said Google’s building a platform – yes it’s going to create opportunities for Google, he said, but it’s going to create them for everyone else too.
Chandra said, "We want to get the product experience right first."
That experience will not even be available until the fall, so we’ll have to wait and see what happens. In the future, Google will likely roll out new ad formats and solutions as time progresses past the product’s general availability. Like with everything else Google does, we can no doubt expect gradual improvements and tweaks over time.
If there’s one thing for certain, it’s if Google TV really does take off and become a household name, advertising with Google will be more attractive than ever. It would be interesting to see the kind of cross-format web/TV campaigns that would come out of it.