More than two years after first testing the sale of magazine ads, Google's print ad program has left beta and now allows AdWords advertisers to place ads in more than 200 newspapers across the United States. Google began testing the newspaper ad auction for a small group of advertisers last November with just over 50 newspaper partners, including The Washington Post and The New York Times.

Yesterday, Google announced they would be opening the Google Print Ads system to all AdWords users, allowing companies of all sizes quick and easy access to managing ad campaigns in newspapers across the United States.

The process to begin running print ads is pretty simple.

First, you'll need to log in to your Google AdWords account. You'll notice that a new tab has been added that says "Print Ads."

Click on the "Print Ads" tab and you'll be taken to the "Getting Started" page.

This page will show you an overview of any print campaigns you might have running. To set up a new campaign, click the "Create a new print campaign" link.

The first thing you'll need to do is name your print campaign and set your run dates. (Note: Google uses these run dates to get an idea of what your campaign might can change the actual ad run dates later.)

Next you'll need to begin your search for newspapers. You can search by newspaper name, by location, by circulation, by available ad size and by which sections of the paper ads are available.

You can see in the image above that I've narrowed my search to include papers selling 2 inches of ad space in the Living section.

Google will then offer up a list of newspapers that fit your search criteria:

Clicking on "info" for any of these papers will bring up a new window with detailed information about the location of the paper, the circulation and current ad prices.

Once an advertiser has reviewed the information about each paper, they can work their way through the list selecting the newspapers they wish to have their ad run in.

Depending on your search criteria, Google may also offer up the option of "Newspaper Packages." Google explains Newspaper Packages this way:

Newspaper packages are groups of newspapers sold together as a bundle at the request of the publishers. Packages often include newspapers that are located in the same metropolitan area or owned by the same parent company.

Once you've selected the newspapers or packages that you wish to bid on, scroll to the bottom of the page and click "continue."

Next, you'll need to choose the ad sizes and ad prices you wish you offer. Google will let you make these specifications for each and every newspaper or newspaper package you have selected.

As you can see in the image above, you'll be asked to select the section of the paper, ad size and days of the week you wish to see your ad run. If a specific section of the paper only appears on certain days, Google's system will limit your selection to those days of the week.

The system will also tell you what the list price of your desired ads is and will allow you to tailor your offer price. The Google Print Ads system users a slider bar that allows you to see what percentage off list price you are offering.

The column on the far right tells you what your maximum ad cost per week is by multiplying your offer price times the number of days you've requested your ad runs.

Once you've selected the ad location, ad size and ad price for each newspaper, Google Print Ads will give you a summary box that shows your total maximum ad spend each week if all of your offers are accepted.

It's important to note that if you are using a standard credit card, Google Print Ads imposes a weekly spend limit on your campaigns. While you will be allowed to place offers for ads that total more than your spending limit, Google will keep a running tab of accepted offers.

As soon as your accepted offers total your weekly spending limit, all other offers will be listed as 'expired' and newspapers will not have the ability to accept those ads. (Advertisers can apply to Google for an increased spending limit.)

Once you've submitted your placement information, Google Print Ads moves on to having you upload the images of your ad files.

At this point you can either upload PDF files of each ad, find a Google Print Ads approved company to create your ad (possibly for free with the help of a Print Ad credit), or defer ad uploads until after your placements have been accepted.

You can also specify whether you plan to change your ad during the course of the ad run. (While Google Print Ads does not allow you to upload more than one ad per newspaper, it does allow you to contact each newspaper individually to arrange for additional ad uploads.)

Finally, Google Print Ads will give you the opportunity to review your entire proposed campaign one last time before you send it off to publishers for their review and approval.

One important thing to note about Google Print Ads campaigns is that they are not being sold through an auction. In other words, advertisers are not directly competing with other advertisers to buy ad space. Instead, Google will send your ad offers to each newspaper publisher where they will be individually reviewed. Publishers may then accept your ad as is, or contact you to initiate conversation about why your ad was refused.

Google claims that ads are generally reviewed and either accepted or rejected within about a day.

Discuss this article in the Small Business Ideas forum.

July 18, 2007

Jennifer Laycock is the Editor of Search Engine Guide, the Social Media Faculty Chair for MarketMotive and offers small business social media strategy & consulting. Jennifer enjoys the challenge of finding unique and creative ways to connect with consumers without spending a fortune in marketing dollars. Though she now prefers to work with small businesses, Jennifer’s clients have included companies like Verizon, American Greetings and Highlights for Children.

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