Here’s more, including images of the locations, from Mike Blumenthal on Google’s 411 outdoor ads push. What’s amazing is that Google is doing consumer marketing for one of its products.
This is something that hasn’t been done as visibly before. (Checkout had some online marketing.) I would imagine Google will be looking to see if there’s a spike in usage from the areas where the placements are. That will be somewhat difficult to measure in SF (unless they’re brought down and traffic before and during compared). But in other areas, where there is likely to be less awareness, performance will be more immediately obvious.
At the bottom of his piece, Mike asks the following questions:
The real questions for me are:
- When will they add individuals to the Goog-411 service?
- When will they monetize the service?
- How will they monetize the service without it being intrusive and simultaneously adding value to the interaction?
- The majority of 411 calls are for businesses, so it’s not necessarily critical. But Jingle (800 Free411) does residential it so it’s fairly easy to add the data.
- When the usage passes a certain threshold it WILL be monetized
- How will they monetize it? One way that answers Mike’s concerns is with relevant ads at the bottom of SMS messages (send by text). This is being done already elsewhere; 118118 in the UK is an example.
- It could also be a distribution channel for radio/audio ads if the ads are highly targeted.
- They could also tease ads (whether audio or coupons) and have an opt-in to accept. (i.e., “Press one to listen” or receive by text message.)