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Google Debuts Online Tool To Design Newspaper Ads

The software allows merchants to choose a newspaper from a list of participating publications and place a bid for the ad space based on a variety of criteria.

Google on Thursday released a free software tool that lets Google AdWords advertisers create their own Google print Ads for display in newspapers.

The company released Google Print Ads in July, a service that enables advertisers, large and small, to buy traditional print newspaper ads.

Citing a 2006 Scarborough Research report, Google on its Web site claims that three out of four adults in the top 50 markets read a copy of the daily paper or a Sunday paper.

A 2006 report from the Pew Research Center for the People & the Press frames its findings with less optimism. It notes that four out of 10 Americans surveyed said they read a newspaper on the previous day, and that the estimated 43% of people who read a daily newspaper "is still well below the number reading a print newspaper on a typical day 10 years ago [50%]."

But never mind that. Let's say you still want to place an ad in a newspaper.

With Google Print Ads, you start buy choosing a newspaper from a list of participating publications and placing a bid for the ad space based on a variety of criteria such as geography, circulation size, and so on. You select which days of the week you're bidding on and name the price you're willing to pay for the ad insertion. If the publisher approves it, you can start designing your ad.

To the chagrin of advertising agency art directors everywhere, anyone with an AdWords account can upload a handcrafted image file in any of six sizes, from 1 col. x 1 in. to 2 col. x 7 in., for publication in any of the hundreds of papers that have partnered with Google.

"Simply plug the text of your ad, image, and contact details into pre-designed ad templates, and the tool will automatically generate multiple designs you can choose from," explains a member of the Google AdWords team posting under the name Feng. "If you need to change your messaging or resize your image, you can edit individual ads directly in the interface. And any ad you create using this tool can be reused as many times as you need in future print campaigns."

As to whether print has a future, opinions differ. But the statistics Google marshals to illustrate the power of the medium suggests a need to reassure potential customers.

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