When viewed solely by the numbers, Google tends to be the leader in most things. However, despite being the leader of email, search engines, online advertising and mobile operating system, Google+ remains one of the lower ranked social media platforms. As was discussed in previous post on this blog, Google+ has a lot of good things going for it, but the platform just hasn’t caught on as much as Google would like. A new plan that will allows regular-sized businesses to use their Google+ to advertise in new ways may be enough to encourage more people to use the platform and change the way that social media is used to promote a business.
The +Post ads announced in December allowed businesses to use their Google+ content as an ad on the Google network. This goes far beyond just promoting a post on Google+. Qualified accounts will be able to run a diverse range of ads on any site that runs Google ads. When the ads were originally announced, they were only available to large companies with more than a million followers. However, now that the threshold has been lowered to 1,000 followers and an agreement to a shared endorsement feature, it’s clear the test went very well and Google wants businesses large and small to use the feature.
“+Post ads amplify your brand’s content by easily turning Google+ posts into display ads that run across the web,” the company explains on the ad page. “People can leave a comment, follow your brand, give a +1, or join a Hangout right from an ad.”
There are a lot of ways that businesses can use this ad format and according to Google, the brands testing out +Post ads have already gotten great results. The company cited Toyota, saw a 50% higher engagement rate than the industry average for rich media ads when they use +Post ads.
Since the initial testers were organizations like Toyota and European Parliament, Google kindly offered an example that hit closer to home. They mention prAna, a yoga and climbing inspired apparel company, that want to raise awareness with their potential customers. The company incorporated +Post ads into their existing AdWords display campaigns.
“We focused on highly targeted audiences that best reflect the interests of our core consumers, such as yoga, climbing, outdoor lifestyle etc. We chose the most hyper relevant Google+ content to promote to each targeted audience, to ensure high engagement rates,” said Karen Hardy Online Marketing Manager, according to Google’s press release.
This new mix of traditional online advertising and social media marketing is novel and useful enough to make Google+ an attractive option for large businesses. On other social networks, the best business owners can do is market to other people on the social network. The +post ads give social media content on Google+ a reach that extends far beyond any other social media network.
Since the feature is only available to pages with more than 1,000 followers, there is an incentive for business owners to encourage their fans on other sites to follow them on Google+. Keep in mind that most consumers already have the makings of a Google+ account. Anyone with an Android phone or a Gmail account has a Google+ profile, if more businesses start posting specials and contests as a way to boost their followers, the new ads may have the effect of increasing the overall usage rate of Google+.
There’s a chance that Google’s +post ads will spark a revolution on other social media networks. Partnering with other ad networks to run Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn ads on other websites may be future of social media marketing. Google gets a huge head start since they already own a sophisticated ad network that can be integrated with tools like Google Hangout and Google+. The advantage will probably not be enough to let Google+ take the top seat of social networking, but it may give the platform a chance to catch up.