Google Launches Self-Service Ad Program

Google took the wraps off a second keywords-based advertising program Monday.

The program, which had been in the works for some weeks, allows advertisers to create, edit and retrieve statistics on sponsored links that appear alongside the search returns of specific keywords, without going through a media representative.

At CPMs ranging from $10 to $15, Google is positioning its automated service as an easy, low-cost alternative to its existing premium program, which places sponsored links above keyword search returns.

Google’s AdWords program features real-time editing and reporting, although the links are text-only and offset to the right of search returns. Google also charging a minimum buy of $50 for the new service.

“Google has carefully built and scaled the AdWords program to address the needs of any business by providing a one-stop resource that is affordable and easy to use,” said Google co-founder and chief executive Larry Page. “AdWords [enables] any advertiser to quickly design a flexible program that best fits its online marketing goals and budget.”

While not specifically aimed at smaller advertisers, the service naturally appeals to companies with little experience buying or creating ads, or with smaller marketing staffs.

“With a growing number of Internet users selecting the Google search engine as their primary search destination site, Google offers businesses and ad agencies an efficient way to reach new customers worldwide,” said Omid Kordestani, Google vice president of business development and sales.

“Google’s AdWords program makes it easy for anyone — even those who have little or no online advertising experience — to purchase targeted and affordable advertising on one of the web’s most trafficked and popular search engines, making it a superior value in online advertising,” Kordestani added.

It could also be fairly lucrative for a site to sell some of its inventory in an automatically administered capacity — which precludes the need for a dedicated sales staff.

Google’s not the first to realize this — its self-service ad engine is premised on the same concept as ad network AdFlight, which offers small to mid-sized advertisers comparatively lower rates for automated, do-it-yourself media planning and placement. Another start-up, Digital Root, is working to implement a syndicated version of this concept.

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