NEW YORK Google is broadening its effort to sell newspaper ads by opening its fledgling placement system to its entire advertising base and expanding the network's newspaper partners.
The Internet giant in November began testing its print ad system  with 50 newspapers, including The New York Times and Washington Post.
Based on what it says were positive results, Google is now adding a print advertising tab to the accounts page of all its AdWords advertisers. The company has also expanded participating newspapers to 225, covering 50 percent of U.S. circulation, it said.
Google has departed from its typical ad network approach to appease print advertisers. Rather than controlling inventory and determining which advertisers to place, Google has set up a bid-ask marketplace, where publishers decide whether to accept advertiser offers.
"The newspapers are hungry for new advertisers from whatever source and they have control over those ads," said Greg Sterling, an analyst at Sterling Market Intelligence.
In its early tests, Google claimed success for advertisers. ServiceMagic, a division of IAC, used Google Print Ads to attract leads it matches to local service providers like plumbers. It found a 15 percent increase in leads from those areas compared to areas where it did not run newspaper ads, according to Spencer Spinnell, head of sales strategy at Google Print Ads, based on increased online traffic and calls to a 1-800 number in the placements.
"We haven't been seeing a huge amount of revenue but it's non-traditional print advertisers, probably customers we wouldn't have gotten anyway," said Deborah Smiddy, director of advertising at Scripps.
For now, she does not anticipate any conflict, since Google has concentrates on smaller businesses rather than core advertisers like department stores. "In this day and age, you have to partner or die," Smiddy said.
Yet, measuring success in print campaigns is inherently more difficult than gauging results online, said Spinnell, a fact that has helped Google to skyrocketing revenue growth at the same time newspapers have seen their ad revenue stagnate and decline.
"Offline media is not a closed-loop solution," he said. "We do believe that newspaper can be effective in whatever the marketers' objective may be."
EHealth, an online provider of health insurance, was among the first batch of 50 advertisers to use Google Print Ads. A heavy search advertiser, the promise of a more efficient buying process and lower rates lured it back to newspapers after a nearly five-year hiatus, said Bruce Telkamp, eHealth's svp of marketing. So far, it's placed $250,000 worth of ads in papers in 15 cities, including San Francisco, Los Angeles and Chicago.
The early results have been satisfying enough for eHealth to continue with the newspaper advertising, adding more papers and geographies, Telkamp said. "The overall goal is to have print newspaper become a viable new marketing channel for us for years to come," he said.
Google plans to take several steps to improve effectiveness. One key will be to expand the pool of advertisers able to run print ads. Spinnell said Google is working to develop online tools that would allow AdWords advertisers to construct print ads on their own, using a drag-and-drop interface to insert logos, pictures and text. It also plans to expand its creative marketplace to match up advertisers with graphic artists who can create print placements. The creative marketplace currently handles video placements.
Also on tap is an effort to get more advertisers to use Google Analytics to target newspaper ads. For example, advertisers could examine Google's Web data to find regions of the country where orders are light, and then use newspaper placements to reach them, Spinnell said. Increased traffic from those regions would tell them if their ads are working, he added.
"There are insights marketers are not taking advantage of," he said.