Google Is In The Social Ads Game
When was the last time you or anyone ever said “oh awesome look, another display ad!!!”? I’m willing to bet never. And if you have ever said it or heard it, I’d bet it was laced with sarcasm. Fact is, no one really clicks on banner ads. The CTR’s I’ve seen from my clients banner ads in 2011-2012 were abysmal. Google wants to change all this and they have a new offering to do just so. It’s called Google +Post Ads.
Today, pretty much anyone, advertiser or not, can promote anything they want on any Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, Instagram, or Pinterest for free. It costs nothing. Now if you actually want people to see the content you’re promoting and give them the chance to engage with said content, you can pay for it through social media advertising like promoted tweets and sponsored stories.
In effect you create what’s known as native advertising. Wikipedia defines native advertising as “…a web advertising method in which the advertiser attempts to gain attention by providing content in the context of the user’s experience.” Mashable had a cool infographic explaining what native advertising actually is. Check it out if you haven’t wrapped your head around this tactic. If you pay for social media advertising, you’re using native advertising and more of your fans and friends of your fans, (and so on), will see your content.
Google +Post Ads
Google+ doesn’t offer brands and SMBs any type of native advertising opportunities, until now. Google plus now offers social ads, called Google +Post Ads, and have flipped the script on the native advertising concept. These new +Post ads don’t show up on Google+! Instead the ads will run anywhere on the web across Google’s humungous ad network.
“The new +Post Ads format will allow an advertiser to take a piece of content it has published on the Google Plus social network and turn it into a display ad that can easily be distributed across millions of sites via the Google ad network. Users that hover over or tap one of the banners will be offered the chance to comment, share and otherwise interact with the content without leaving the webpage they’re on. It’s a rich-media banner ad for the social age.
“Digital display was once dominated by rich-media advertising; that’s how marketers got ‘engagement.’ But social media is rapidly becoming Google’s rich-media product,” said Ian Schafer, CEO of Deep Focus. “This is a way for Google to recapture some of those ad dollars that once were spent on its rich-media products.”
The ads themselves aren’t dissimilar to sponsored posts on other social networks such as Facebook or Twitter, but the difference is they can live on virtually any site on the Internet, including some of the world’s largest publisher properties. The hope is that, even though Google Plus is a ghost town from a user perspective, marketers will happily invest in the ads.”
The last sentence rang through my head loudly after I read it. It seems Google wants to offer social advertising, but since Google+ doesn’t have as many users engaging with the network as Facebook does, they need to think outside the box.
This out of the box thinking has led them to create a product, that is an ad unit they can sell, that doesn’t exist on Google+, but will be see by users all over the internet. What’s more is that these users can interact and engage with the +Post Ad without having to leave the website they are on.
Once users hover over the +Post Ad, they can comment, share, or +1 within the ad unit. That’s pretty cool and clearly something that could be amazing for Google and anyone Google advertiser. Can you imagine users interacting with one of your Google+ posts on some other website. Awesome!
Eran Arkin, ads product manager at Google, wrote a post announcing these +post Ads and said that these ads will allow “brands think of the entire Web as their social stream.” He goes on to say:
“Brand advertisers want to create visually rich, compelling experiences online, which is why we’ve seen growing interest from advertisers in formats designed around engagement, like TrueView and Engagement Ads. We’ve recently started testing a new, brand-friendly format: +Post ads. +Post ads allow a brand to take a piece of their public Google+ content, like a photo, video or even a Hangout, and with a few clicks, turn it into a display ad that can run across the more than 2 million sites in the Google Display Network. This let’s brands think of the entire web as their social stream.
Bringing together the sharing capabilities of Google+ and the reach of our ad products has already allowed advertisers to better connect with customers, and customers to better discover what others are thinking. For example, showing social annotations on search ads has helped increase click through rates, and advertisers that ran Hangouts on Air in the YouTube masthead have seen strong participation. Similarly, +Post ads will allow advertisers to start conversations right from the ad – consumers can reshare a video, leave a comment or a question for the brand, or even join a live Hangout. These conversations create a valuable community around a brand where people can talk with each other and with the brand itself.”
So, as usual, a few large brands are helping Google test the +Post Ads. Toyota USA, RITZ Crackers, and Cadbury UK are on board as willing guinea pigs and are apparently seeing expansion rates as high as 50% higher than the industry average for rich media ads.
This video gives you a clear idea of how these Google +Post Ads work.
I’m looking forward to seeing the Google +Post Ads rollout all to all. They look cool, but will people take the tie to interact with them? Wasn’t it Google in teh firstplace who helped to eliminate the display ad concept? If the ads aren’t on teh G+ social network, but they look like Google+ posts, on other websites, will users engage?
Time will tell. For now Google tells us:
- +Post Ads Amplify Great Content
- +Post Ads Make Brands More Human
- +Post Ads Make The Web More Interesting
I’d love to hear what you think of Google +Post Ads, social ads, or the death of display ads. Please share in the comments below.
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