Media Planning & Buying Social Media

Google Brings Social-Infused +Post Ads to Display Network

December 10, 2013

By Tiffany Fettig, Media Manager, and Sarah Sikowitz, VP, Group Media Director at 360i

Google announced this week that it has begun testing a social ad format called +Post ads. The new offering allows marketers to promote public Google+ content (such as photos, videos or Hangouts) across the Google Display Network (GDN).

With its roughly 300 million active users, Google+ is a social network that has yet to realize its full potential in terms of interaction, engagement and sharing. By giving marketers the opportunity to amplify Google+ content with paid media, Google+ stands to become a stronger platform for content discovery and creating brand advocates.

The power of +Post ads comes from combining the reach of the GDN with the sharing capabilities of Google+. As Google’s Eran Arkin notes in the announcement (which was posted on Google+), the new product allows marketers to “think of the entire web as their social stream.”

Below is an example from test partner Toyota USA, via TechCrunch.

Marketer Implications

A new player in social advertising: Brands are already investing in media strategies that amplify earned and owned content to a targeted audience on social platforms, such as Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and Tumblr, as well as through Native Ads with a variety of networks and publishers. +Post ads bring Google+ into this mix with its own paid social offering that offers expanded reach and targeting capabilities.

Targeted volume – at scale: Tapping into the reach of the GDN (which reaches 95 percent of the online audience), +Post ads will help advertisers reach more of the right people. Marketers can target posts to custom audiences using the vast array of targeting options available from Google and seamlessly integrate the content into a traditional banner space.

Making display more conversational: Moreover, since users can +1, share or comment on the content within the ad unit itself, +Post ads will make display ads more interactive and engaging. Incremental Google+ page follows from the ad unit can also help further build the advertiser’s Google+ page following.

Deeper social integration with the Google paid ecosystem: +Post ads create a stronger link between Google+ and its vast network of media offerings. This latest update is a big step in the right direction and could be a game-changer for brands investing in content strategy and using media to increase reach and drive engagement from a targetable audience.

This could increase the response rates for display advertising because the content will be more authentic and engaging – especially if the advertiser promotes content that has already shown promise through high engagement with their Google + community. Additionally, advertisers can set up a remarketing list of those who have clicked on a Google+ post ad to retarget them later with different ads across the GDN or on YouTube.

Next Steps

Google’s +Post ads are currently only available to beta partners, which include Toyota and Mondelēz Brands RITZ and Cadbury UK.

Once out of beta and open to the public, the brands that stand to benefit most are those that maintain an active Google+ presence (regularly posting compelling content) and those that focus on engagement/brand goals. Furthermore, we also suggest that marketers proactively link their Google+ page to their brand’s website so viewers of the +post ads realize that the content is from an official community.

Looking ahead, if Google+ becomes a stronger social network, marketers should consider adding more resources to continuously update Google+ specific content. Additionally, since Google will likely add more advertising opportunities to Google+ in the future, building a lively Google+ following now will serve as a strong foundation when that happens.

Read more about the update in Digiday.