On December 9, Google announced the release of +Post ads, a new breed of advertising which allows brands to turn their Google+ posts into expandable display ads. Oh so just like Facebook Sponsored Stories / Promoted Posts you say? Not quite, even better! The difference with these ads will be that sure they’ll appear on the G+ platform itself, but more importantly, they will also be displayed across the 2 million Google Display Network (GDN) sites (including mobile devices)
It’s like traditional social media advertising but on steroids!
Let’s dive and see how this is likely to be a game changer for businesses looking to reach their audience through the power of social.
Not Just Another Social Ad Type
Who would have predicted Google+ would already dive into the advertising game, I certainly didn’t and looks like Mark Traphagen was on the same boat when he outlined his thoughts last year. It made sense given Google could have sat back and consumed all of the social data based on the behaviour of G+ users which would have facilitated any development of their revenue generating products i.e. AdWords.
+Post ads are brand-friendly because they allow you, as a business, to take a slice of your public Google+ content and turn it into a media-rich, engaging ad. The new twist with +Post ads is that they allow users to comment on your Google+ posts from within the ad and share them within their circles. Basically, a +Post ad behaves somewhat like a mini landing page directly on the GDN site.
NOTE: Just remember that this is an AdWords display ad format meaning you will need to establish an Adwords account and start to get the hang of some of the concepts within there to better prepare yourself.
So instead of leaving the website visitors are on, they simply click on the ad which then pops up on their screen hence allowing them to interact (+1, comment, share) all while not being forced to leave the site they’ve landed on. I would suspect the likelihood of users engaging with this format will be significantly higher for this reason alone. I’m not sure about you but I hate it when the accidental click on an ad results in a new web page appearing.
Here is an example of a +Post ad from Toyota, one of the first testers of the new G+ ads:
As you can see, +Post ads expand to become full screen boxes, which will have some of the great designers licking their lips!
Higher Rates of Engagement
As mentioned earlier, this type of ad format will encourage higher click-through rates and increase user engagement with brands by making it easier to interact with the content directly from the ad box. Throw in the sharing capabilities of Google, the outreach of Google’s CDN and you’ve got the best of social and traditional search engagement which will help understand what the two audiences are saying about your brand. These conversations can eventually help to build a strong community around your brand where users across social and display ad consumers can interact amongst each other and share their experiences regarding your product and/or service.
How do you get charged? The early suggestions have said that Advertisers will only pay when a user hovers over the ad for two seconds which is the time taken to expand the ad on their screen. Each time a user interacts with your ad, this is showcased to their entire network which is why I believe this is a game changer for expanding a brand’s reach.
How to Position your Business for +Post Ads
Apart from getting your head around the AdWords platform, Mike Allton recommends that businesses need to establish their Google+ brand page which is the bare minimum needed to participate. Just like having a Facebook page, your G+ business page will require compelling content to increase user engagement. The good thing here is that any of your Google+ engaging posts will not only be enjoyed by your fans but also be in front of website visitors on the display network. To take this one step further, now these same posts on your G+ page which pick up +1′s, shares, comments will be shown to users outside of the platform (via the display network) and we all know the impact of positive social signals right? A visitor is likely to engage in an advertisement which already has engagement whether it be for curiosity purposes or social proof reasoning.
So which brands can you turn to for inspiration when launching your own page? Here are at least 3 which are at the forefront when it comes to posting engaging content and interacting with their followers:
What are the social media enthusiasts saying
I figured it was time to hit the ‘streets’ and find out what some of the more active users on G+ thought of the concept of +Post Ads. Here’s a basic graphic summarising some of their thoughts which have been mentioned on Google+ (clearly a positive sentiment):
In addition, Jesse Wojdylo (Copywriter & Social Media Enthusiast) also added a different angle by suggesting businesses will need to get the hang of formatting their G+ posts, “I think it will be huge but what will be even more important is to fully understand the capabilities of Google+. Knowing how to bold, italicize and use the correct format to catch the eye of the searcher through Google ads. Unfortunately, most businesses do not have a clue that Google+ offers formatting or other amazing tools like communities or Hangouts. That is why I expect to get quite a few phone calls when it is released.”
To round off, and I’m not sure I can position it any better than the men in the above graphic but to put it quite simply…this is a huge opportunity for businesses who plan to advertise. We all know about Facebook Ads, Sponsored Tweets and Promoted Pins but those are all intra network advertising methods. This is the new breed of advertising where the engagement goes beyond a single platform BUT still retaining the platform features allowing people to comment. share and +1 without leaving the website they’re visiting.
I can’t wait until the beta phase is over and Google opens up the tap for us smaller businesses to test drive the new ads!
What about you? What are your thoughts on +Post Ads and the opportunity for businesses? Please feel free to share your comments below.