Google AdWords fixing complicated ad process

One of my recurring themes is how AdWords sucks for small business/local advertisers — the brick and mortar bread and butter of local print publishers … it’s too hard, too time consuming, too confusing. I’ve wanted to see newspapers develop a solid competitive business model before Google got a clue. It looks like Google is cluing in:

Jonathan Rosenberg on AdWords “Starter Edition”:

So basically the AdWords Starter Edition is an alternative version of AdWords, and it’s a lot easier for novices to get into search advertising. It’s got a much simpler UI. I’m not sure in terms of color how much I can offer you. We have been using it extensively. We have been tracking the percentage of advertisers who start with AdWords Starter Edition who then actually are successful in getting their work to manifest itself in the form of a working campaign; and who then continue to opt into our ad systems.

We are doing much, much better there on a percentage basis in terms of getting the advertiser signed up. So in that sense, it has been successful. We are also then getting a number of those advertisers using AdWords itself. So the take rates are strong.

It doesn’t sound like Google has it figured out yet, but look out if they do. Though, I’ve got to say, I still have strong doubts about the whole self-serve model for local B&M advertisers. It will take more than a good UI and simple process to make that work.

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