AdvertisingGoogle+Social Media

W hat are Google +Post ads and why are they a game changer?

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Gary Smith Apr 16, 2014

What are Google +Post ads

It was inevitable that Google’s social network, Google+, would get into the ad game. Seeing as Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn all have an ad service connected to their social network, many have been speculating when Google+ would join the party – and now they have.

Google’s +Post ads, which have been in limited testing for a few months, are now being rolled out to Google+ business page users at large.

What are Google +Post ads and how are they different?

The first thing you should know is that +Post ads don’t appear on Google+ itself. Instead, like AdWords, +Post ads appear on websites that are part of the Google Display Network. According to Comscore, that’s a potential net of over 2 million websites reaching over 90% of all Internet users worldwide.

Not only that, but +Post ads aren’t your typical image, headline, and blurb. Instead, +Post ads are essentially embedded Google+ posts, which means that any logged-in Google+ user can plus, comment on, or share your post when they come across it on a website.

Why should you be excited about +Post ads?

The fact that +Post ads won’t be on Google+ is awesome for (at least) two reasons:

1) The Google+ UI won’t get cluttered with ad litter, or “sponsored posts.”

2) +Post ads allows you to reach an audience outside of your current circles on Google+, further extending the reach of your posts and Google+ presence.

How effective are +Post ads?

+Post ads were first tested in December, and exclusively available to a few brands, including Toyota and RITZ Crackers – and they had great results.

According to the Google AdWords blog, Toyota was looking to target a younger audience with the launch of their 2014 Corolla. Using the new +Post ads, their engagement rate was 50% higher than the industry average (when compared to other rich media advertisements).

It makes sense, too. There’s been a palpable shift in marketing philosophy, as more businesses understand that no one wants to be sold at; consumers want to be involved in a conversation.

Toyota case study image via the Google AdWords blog

Toyota case study image via the Google AdWords blog launch announcement post

How can I use +Post ads?

+Post ads offer audience engagement in a manner that the brief, static ads offered by Facebook and Twitter can’t touch. When compared to a post on any other social network, Google+ already offers a pretty robust set of features. You have control over line breaks, and can add bold, italics, or strikethrough to any text in that post. Take that and the ability to embed photos or YouTube videos, and you’ll start to see the creative potential of a +Post Ad.

Imagine this: you’re watching an ad that’s playing on YouTube before your music video starts. You might think, “Oh, that’s kind of interesting,” or, “THIS AD IS SO DUMB UGH,” but either way you’ll probably forget about it by the time the video you’re there to watch starts playing.

But what if that same ad has been uploaded to YouTube as its own video, and then appears on a website as a +Post Ad? What if the text compels you to click on the video and watch the ad itself? Will you comment on the ad? If it’s actually really good, will you share it?

I might be off in the stratosphere with speculation right now, but the potential here for marketers to take a message directly to their audience seems huge. If people hate your ad, they can tell you – and that’s a good thing, believe it or not, because it means you can make a better ad next time.

If people like your ad, they might plus it – thereby sending that ad into the home stream of their Google+ followers. Even better, if the +Post Ad is really good, they might share it directly. Considering that +Post ads are basically Google+ posts (and I know you can craft a good Google+ post), that is completely plausible.

No one wants to be sold at; consumers want to be involved in a conversation - Zbra Studios

You could argue that +Post ads are similar to the ability to promote a Facebook post to a larger audience. But again, those posts stay on Facebook, whereas +Post ads lift your presence out of the social network in order to tap a whole new audience. That, and Facebook posts can’t hold a candle to the formatting options available to Google+ posts.

What’s the catch?

Right now, +Post ads are only available to any business page on Google+ with at least 1,000 followers. That means that for businesses just getting started on Google+, or for smaller businesses who aren’t likely to have a large following, it’s going to be pretty tricky to get access to these until Google lowers the bar on the follower count.

At the moment, that includes us – we have around 200 followers, so we can’t test out the +Post ads ourselves just yet – which is a bummer, because right now I’m clearly geeking out over the potential.

What Google +Post ads mean for your business:

This is only the first lick of the trademarked whatsit pop. For a full list of specifications, Google has the details. There’s a lot you can do with +Post ads, including the ability to promote Google+ Hangouts on Air. Combine that with the new Shoppable Hangouts which are on the horizon for more businesses, and again – there is a lot of potential here.

This means:

A) If your business still doesn’t have a Google+ page, this is just one more reason why you need to make one.

B) If your business already has a Google+ page, but it’s not a focus, it’s time to reconsider your social strategy.

I’ve been saying it all year: 2014 is the year of Google+, and this just gives me one more reason to beat that drum.

The tl;dr on Google +Post ads

Get thee to Google+ and start chipping away at that 1,000 follower mark. It (probably) won’t happen overnight, but there is just too much potential here to be ignored.

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