Google is stepping up their social media game again with last month’s announcement regarding +Post ads for advertisers. This new ad offering turns content from your businesses Google+ page into advertisements across the Google Display network. It’s an interesting take on social advertising and marketers everywhere will likely be watching how they perform. Google claims advertisers saw up to 50% more engagement with this offering than with regular display ads during beta testing. As more advertisers begin to test this for themselves, we’ll be able to see the true impact. For now let’s examine the options available to you, the marketer.
First, check out this mini video case study from Toyota:
These ads turn a G+ post into an interactive ad on the Google Display network. Users who see the ad can share, comment, and +1 your post. It’s a great way to communicate with potential consumers. You can listen to their ideas, field questions, and if your content is great (and of course it is!) it can build brand trust with large amounts of positive feedback broadcast across the web.
These are a pretty cool feature. Hangout Ads allow you to run a Google hangout to promote your products live. Say you’re hosting a webinar or a new product demonstration. Just launch a Google Hangout for all your potential customers to join and advertise across the Display Network. Users can interact with the ad and actively pose questions to your company representatives during the hangout. The campaign doesn’t have to end when the hangout is over either. These hangouts are archived and can be reused across the ad network.
Considerations Before Starting
While these ads are very intriguing, you might not be able to test them out right now unless you have a bigger following on Google+. At the moment, only brands with 1,000+ followers on their company page can participate. In addition, you must have “shared endorsements” activated on your account (learn more about those here.) And the final requirement… all content must be relevant to your audience. Of course, if you haven’t been doing that in the first place, you may need to rethink your whole marketing strategy before considering another ad platform.
If you do meet all those requirements, you still should consider a few more things before jumping in to +Post ads. At first glance, these seem like a very innovative way to display social ads. It allows advertisers to serve up social ads across a broader audience than their social networks. Now users can see social endorsements on your ads across the web, not just on Facebook, Twitter, etc. If managed correctly, these ads can serve as a great awareness piece for brands. However, they might not work as well for content intended for use by consumers further down the purchase funnel. For example, G+ users may not be as inclined to comment on or +1 a free trial for your enterprise software. An infographic on how you product works, however? That could be something that gets interaction.
Another thing you need to consider is the social nature of these ads. They will require a lot of monitoring – negative comments receive a lot of visibility on Facebook and Twitter already, but imagine the implications of a negative comment hanging on your ad across Google’s entire network… that’s a lot of eyes. If you are not on top of what’s being posted on these ads, you could end up with a crisis on your hands.
And last but not least, will anyone actually interact with these? Believe it or not, Google+ actually has a large number of users. In fact, if you have a Gmail account, you also have Google+. This brings the grand total to roughly 1.15 billion users. Of course, if you didn’t know that, you’re not alone. Only about 35% of Google+ users are active, and this could be because they simply do not know they were given a G+ account with their gmail address. Still, 35% of 1.15 billion is a considerable audience.
If your business can meet these requirements, these new ads might just be worth testing out, and if you do so, we’d love to hear your results!