By CLAIRE CAIN MILLER ~ full feature in New York Times Technology
Google, the online search ad giant that rarely advertises, has decided it needs to advertise the fact that it is in the online display advertising business.
And if that is not enough advertising about advertising, it has picked one of the most crowded advertising venues to get the message out — Times Square.
For all of Google’s success, its business has been built on search ads, the simple four-line text ads that appear with search results. Google does not get as much attention for its display ads, which include images, video and audio, even though those ads appear on YouTube and the million Web sites using Google’s display ad network.
That is the source of growing frustration at Google, which does not want to be seen as dependent on search ads.
On Wednesday, Google will erect a billboard in the center of Manhattan that will vie for attention with the hordes of other flashy billboards. But it will stand low to the ground and invite passers-by to touch it and watch videos about the display ad business.
The billboard has a message for both Madison Avenue and Wall Street: Google has a business beyond search ads. More than 90 percent of Google’s revenue comes from text ads, and analysts say that Google’s stock is down about 17 percent this year because investors are waiting for the company’s second act.
The billboard is part of Google’s broader ad campaign called Watch This Space, which includes ads in trade magazines and other print and online media, to inform the advertising industry and investors of Google’s online display ads.