Is Google More Expensive Than TV?

Denuo's Rishad Tobbacowala compares TV buys with Google search ads: "It has actually become far more expensive to buy advertising on Google than on network television. Google has a product called AdWords, which marketers use to bid on a particular key word [that consumers might type in during an Internet search]. On average, across all categories, it tends to be about 50 cents. Let's say on television you get a $20 cost-per-thousand rate. Fifty cents a click is equal to $500 cost per thousand. You can see how much more expensive it is, but the difference is there's some sort of action."

Media equivalency is a tough problem. If we compare CPM rates, yes, TV's CPMs are cheaper than search CPMs {umm, that was stupid), but Rishad's comparison is not entirely fair or accurate when viewed from at least two angles. First, you cannot call up a TV rep and say, "Hey, I've got 20 bucks here. Can I please have 1000 impressions today?" Second, Google impressions are free, at least to a certain point. It's the action (click) that advertisers are being charged for. A more accurate comparison would be the cost-per-click for an AdWord vs cost-per-call for a TV ad with a 1-800 number.


  1. Wow. That's all I can say. Wow.

    He's comparing cost per thousand impressions (in which there is no guarantee of anyone actually seeing the ad *at all,* much less acting on it) to cost per action.

    This is the most ridiculously skewed argument I have ever heard. What is his average cost per click for online media buys? This would be an apples-to-apples comparison. And anyone in the industry *with any real-world experience* wouldn't be betting on beating AdWords for cost per click!

  2. I used to spend way too much money on google advertising. When I incorporated glyphius with my adwords and adsense accounts, the waste was reduced and the sales increased. So there is hope to dealing with google advertising at an affordable price.

  3. More than comparing CPA to CPM, he's also comparing a targeted audience who are motivated and expressing interest in finding information on a particular subject to a numbingly broad and passive audience who are looking only to be entertained.

  4. To be honest his whole argument is a bit too out there!


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