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It has been announced that Google will power XM Radio's commercials, giving AdWords clients the ability to target XM's customer base with ads....

As part of the deal, Google advertisers will have a simple, automated way to reach XM's millions of subscribers nationwide and XM will have access to Google's large and small advertisers to offer relevant, targeted messages to their subscribers. Google AdWords' customers will be able to place terrestrial and satellite radio spots when the dMarc platform is integrated into AdWords targeted for the fourth quarter of this year.
Hmm, at first I thought... big deal. I've had XM radio for two years now in both my home and my car and I barely pay attention to the ads. In fact, one of the great things about XM is that there is always a station that doesn't play commercials.
Then I started thinking there has to be more than this, isn't there? Evidently I'm not the only one.
Joe Mandese, editor of Media Post, wrote about the partnership, "Why Google is making its play in radio when Madison Avenue appears most focused on making the process of TV buying more efficient isn't clear.." Donna Bogatin over at ZDnet picks up what I think is an interesting strategy of using GPS to target personalized ads.
The question is, how would they power that? I also personally think the GPS strategy is a bit far off, but there is a simpler solution for bringing targeted ads to your XM Radio, which I think answers Joe's question.
Now I happen to be both a Google and a XM Radio subscriber and have registered with both of them online. When you register with XM Radio, you need to put your radio ID as well as your email address, home address, name, etc., into the registration fields. I also happened to have supplied the same email to Google when I signed up for their online services.
Bingo! Google has search and Web surfing behavior on me, now matched with a radio ID plus my demographics. Google can now supply VERY TARGETED online ads to XM Radio-- I'd argue the most targeted radio ads ever.
Imagine searching the internet for brokerage companies and then having Google beam a brokerage ad into your car via the radio ID. Seems pretty simple, but the only thing stopping them would be privacy, right? Umm, think again.
Take a look at it yourself, true believers -- XM Radio's privacy policy doesn't stop them from commingling data. How about these lines from their privacy policy:
* Information from Other Sources: We may supplement the information you provide us by acquiring additional information from third parties. We also may use commercially available demographic and marketing information from third parties to help us better serve you or inform you about products or services that we think will be of interest to you.
* How Do We Use The Information We Collect?: We use the personally identifiable information you provide us to serve our subscribers, to enhance and extend our subscriber relationship, and to enable our subscribers to take maximum advantage of products and services we think they would enjoy.
* Unless you to choose to opt out, we may also use personally identifiable information and demographic information to identify products or services that might be of interest to you and to provide you with information by email, postal mail or telephone about products or services offered by our company, our business partners or other companies.
I don't think the above is problematic and in fact, if I can get very targeted ads, I may pay attention to them. After all, I am in marketing and advertising.
I don't know if I'm missing something but it seems to me this is a perfect deal for Google and XM Radio and may steer Madison Avenue back to radio. After all, if Google has anything to say about it there will be no offline or online advertising, just Google ROO.
P.S. Sorry about the long post, but I hope you think it was worth it.
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Eric Frenchman is an online marketing and advertising consultant located in the Great State of New Jersey and Chief Internet Strategist for the online political agency Connell Donatelli Inc. Since 1998, Eric has managed multi-million dollar online advertising and CRM campaigns for AT&T, DLJdirect, Harrisdirect, and BMO Investorline and is a recognized expert in online marketing and advertising techniques. In 2005, Harrisdirect was ranked as the 17th largest online advertiser in the US and in 2003 was recognized as Best Financial Advertiser. Eric Frenchman's marketing blog is located here: