Google's AdWords for TV Comes Out Of Beta, But Is Still Hamstrung

google-tv-ads.pngSince last June, Google has been piloting a test with advertisers in private beta to put regular 30-second video commercials on TV in an automated fashion through AdWords. Today, Google is opening that program up to all advertisers and even offering a $2,000 promotional credit towards creating a professional TV commercial.

I love how Google fails to mention anywhere in the announcement that these ads will only appear on the Dish satellite TV network, the only TV service that will allow Google to put its tracking software on its set-top boxes. The cable companies don’t want Google touching their set-top boxes, which is why they are collectively funding their own competing Project Canoe to the tune of $150 million.

Meanwhile, advertisers can already create and buy cheap TV ads across practically any cable network or local TV station through startup Spot Runner. Creating TV ads on Spot Runner is much cheaper, sometimes costing only a few hundred dollars. Google still has a lot of catching up to do in this arena, not just in reaching more TV homes but in better ad targeting. As Spot Runner CEO Nick Grouf told me about a month ago:

Google is not selling targeted ads now on TV. It is selling national ads through the smallest company in the satellite space. We expect them to become more aggressive, but have not seen it yet.

Give them time, Nick. They’ll get there.