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+Post Ads Will Change Google Forever
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Google+ has officially rolled out +Post Ads to all Pages and Profiles with over 1000 Followers ( +Post Ads are a new Google display ad format, which is really nothing more than a re-purposed Google+ post

 In Facebook terminology, a +Post Ad is a Promoted Post, but with one key difference: +Post Ads don’t get promoted on the Google+ social network, instead they appear as Google Display Network ads. The Google Display Ad Network is the largest display ad provider on the internet reaching over two million websites, followed by Facebook which previously led the category.

This move could mark a major turning point in the balance of the social media playing field in a few important ways that strongly favor Google.

The Onboarding Problem

+Post Ads may help Google+ overcome the problem of inactive profiles (people who signed up for a Google account but don’t use the Google+ social network itself, leaving their social accounts essentially abandoned). As long as you browse websites or read blogs, you will now potentially be shown a fully interactive Google+ Post sooner or later, and if you are one of the more than half billion active account users across Google properties, it will be easy to engage with these ads. Twitter has the same inactive account problem (even more so) but has no such mechanism to reach their users wherever they are on the web.

Eyeballs and Calls-To-Action

All else being equal, ads with more exposure (i.e. more eyeballs), and which are designed to make it as easy (preferably impulsive) to take action perform better. Even if someone isn’t using Google+ right now, a certain number out of every targeted audience that sees the ad is likely to do so if only that one time. Multiply this by a large enough audience, with a well crafted ad that calls the user to action, and you’ve got reach to rival Facebook, with a social element to engage the user directly in the ad.

The challenge here is that people are on Facebook to engage socially, whereas casual web browsers may not be, so it remains to be seen how well this idea scales. Facebook has the opposite problem: people aren't on Facebook to buy stuff, read news, or any of those things Google outperforms them for.

Even if +Post Ads don’t ultimately match Promoted Posts for engagement, they may become a preferred social advertising medium on the web because they’re literally the only game in town. You simply can’t embed a Facebook Status Update or an interactive Tweet in a Google Display Ad.

The Search Wildcard

The power of a Google+ Follower who uses Personalized Search (which is on by default for logged-in users) is potentially nothing less than the theoretical ability to dominate that user’s Search results in perpetuity ( Scale this by millions and millions of users and any SEO worth their salt will be forced to think about baseball to calm their libido.

Google+ may become the new standard of Google Search Engine Optimization, and unless Google tweaks the algorithms down-the-line to make a social Follower less valuable for Search, the race right now is to the quick and dead. Those who get in early will reap the greatest benefits for the longest time.

Integration between Google+ and Google Search, already deep enough to mistake them for conjoined twins, will almost certainly accelerate geometrically until it has become the internet equivalent of a force of nature. Only an utter failure of the project seems likely to prevent this. That or a sudden cataclysmic implosion of the Google brand.

It Solves The Ad-Free Problem

Being Ad-Free is a selling point for Google+. This is an odd departure for a company that prides itself on being able to monetize almost any consumer internet product successfully. Certainly on-site social ads can be and are a rich source of revenue for some companies, yet Google+ dares not do it, since it isn’t what their users want. They may also feel that current approaches to social advertising are not good enough to meet their standards yet.

The problem with this, however, is that a significant investment of talent and resources goes towards maintaining Google’s advertising platforms and monetized properties like Search, Gmail, and YouTube. Google hires tens of thousands of the brightest minds, but many of them are involved in maintaining the core business. Not everyone is building driverless cars and wifi balloons. Social may be Google’s Next Big Thing, but will have to prove it to earn the same allocation of resources.

The Google+ team could easily claim +Post Ads as a victory for social advertising and gain the additional investments of talent and resources this brings with it, perhaps even setting the stage for a true “Big Push” that ties all the components of Google and Google+ together and drives their users deeper and more tightly into the ecosystem.

What’s At Stake

+Post Ads are a Hail Mary pass. They will either collapse spectacularly, possibly taking Google+ with them, or arise triumphant, coming to redefine the next generation of Google as a whole. Either way, +Post Ads will change Google forever. Assuming they can tie the value of Google+ to their entire brand, while delivering a satisfying experience for end users that engages and retains them, there is nothing that can stop them now but a failure to execute (which is always a possibility).

Google+ may never “kill” Facebook or Twitter, or even Foursquare for that matter, but it also doesn’t need to as long as it contributes significantly to the value of the company, brand, and ecosystem, and +Post Ads are a critical test of that goal.

#SocialMedia   #SocialMediaMarketing   #PlusPostAds
Mark Traphagen's profile photoAaron Wood's profile photoAlex Schleber's profile photoEli Fennell's profile photo
Personally, I'm pretty excited to see +Post ads in the wild. I think it'll be great for both viewers and marketers to have a comment stream attached to an ad. How many ads have I seen that left me asking some question about the product... Wait, so does it do x or just y? Being able to ask that right there on the ad would be great, and there's just no way to do something equivalent yet.

Of course, the onus is on the company to handle that correctly. Having someone just copy-paste a piece of marketing material which was already in the ad back at me is a sure-fire way to lose my interest. How many times have I emailed a company asking about something and the response comes back answering a question I didn't ask?...
OK, I'll be honest and say I am not quite sure what these +post ads are. Do you mean they will take random but worthwhile posts from random G+ users, turn them into ads but with a comment section just like on G+?
+Charles Cortes It's an AdWords format. You designate a Post, budget it and target it like any other Google ad, and it surfaces when appropriate on the Google Display Ads Network (in short, the display ads from Google you see on many websites). Presumably you would craft your post with this in mind. It's basically a promoted post except it appears on external websites that use Google display ads.
Didn't realize they were for individuals too. So it you want to promote your business/ service/ product off your personal page this is an option? Do you pay for it boom, you got it?
 I have some homework to do!
+Renata Sherwin You need to follow +Ben Fisher, +Mark Traphagen, and +Eric Enge right now if you need to know all about the details of how it works. I can see no reason you couldn't use your personal profile to promote your business. Also works for Community posts.
+Renata Sherwin there are two options. You can either select a specific post to promote and promote it for as long as you care to. Or you can choose an auto mode that pulls in whatever your most recent eligible post is.

By the way, only posts with a large image are eligible. Posts that are reshares of other posts, or have no image, cannot be pulled in as ads.

I also want to express some caution as AdWords is not for the faint of heart. It's interface is confusing, and bidding and targeting can be tricky unless you're experienced. I strongly recommend you at least narrow by topics to start out with. If you leave the settings at default, your ad could be shown on any website in Google's 2 million site network, and most of those impressions would be wasted. You can burn through a lot of budget without much to show for it that way.
Thanks for the mention buddy. The caveat on community posts, is that the user who submitted the post must have 1000 followers at this time +Eli Fennell.

+Mark Traphagen is absolutely correct, narrow down your ads exposure to topics of interest and even site targeting.
+Mark Traphagen On reflection, your points also apply to Facebook advertising. Advertising requires knowing the target audience, reaching them, and converting them, and I'm sure you'll agree anything that promises otherwise is lying.
For sure +Eli Fennell, it's  just that Facebook's targeting is a little easier to navigate, provided the advertiser bothers.
+Aaron Wood Pretty much what I expected... another not-fully-baked Public Beta with promise.  Par for the course for El Goog, but it works for them an awful lot so maybe this will, too.
We've been testing and think these could still be worthwhile, but I agree with both of +SEER Interactive's criticisms: inability to customize the appearance of the pre-hover ad, and lack of crucial metrics.
+Mark Traphagen I think we're dealing with a platform designed in close collaboration with big brands with the tools and cooperation to optimize. Now that it's rolling out more broadly it will have to be a bit closer to intuitive, at least.
I recalled a post I did before regarding Toyota and the Plus Post campaign they ran along side the hangout app. I have not taken the time to analyze the data, but a brief look at it shows that while plusses were up during the time the app was live, the signal to post ratio on the event posts was lower.

This correlates to the experience I am having so far, that even with the ads running, engagement on those posts is not going up.

So far I am not thrilled with Plus Post ads, BUT our clients are biting at the bit to get them running.

I agree they are still worth investing in as +Mark Traphagen is stating, but also agree with +Eli Fennell that the testing was done with tools like Simply Measured ( at least in Toyota's case ) -- which starts at $500 a month.
So far +Ben Fisher it looks more like a branding ploy than an engagement ploy. I also have a gut feeling that CTR may be as high as it is because of novelty. People see the "hover to expand" button and have to try it out because they've never seen that before. So we may be getting a lot of looky-lous at this point.

I'm awaiting approval of a new ad where I'll test if we can get traffic to a web site from these. The ad post prominently features the web post link with a strong call to action, and I've tagged the link URL so I can track any click thrus in analytics.
+Mark Traphagen What about the Personalized Search SEO value of new Followers?  Are these ads/can they be used to bring in a significant number of new Followers, even if those Followers don't immediately convert and are one-off (i.e. will Follow you but never see anything you post to G+ again)?  I hate to say it, but that Personalized Search boost is like a new gray hat SEO strategy in the making, not really black hat because Google is deliberately rewarding people for getting Followers, but not exactly white hat because it takes a one-off interaction than leads to a Follow to see, in many cases, immediate and significant Search benefits for logged-in Searchers.
+Eli Fennell the problem is those of us testing in this thread have yet to see much of any interaction from the post ads, including new followers, although admittedly that is hard to measure as there are no direct metrics on it.
+Mark Traphagen Lack of metrics would be a problem, especially if you had an account growing a good clip and couldn't tell the difference between a bump up and normal variation.
I had a normal variation once.
+Eli Fennell late to this quite interesting thread, thanks +Mark Traphagen for revealing initial results.

My number one issue would be: First you'd need enough "general purpose" active G+ users or Web users willing to sign up to drive Page following from Post Ads. The reality still is that the vast majority of people are already on FB, and can be expected to engage with a brand there with about 1 click.

The same is true for G+ only in a few relatively narrow niches, e.g. for Android, smartphones, ChromeOS, Google-related products, Makers, etc. it could work. Basically you need somebody who is either already signed up and using, signed-up but dormant, or willing to sign up from scratch. For the latter two, the perceived "treasure trove" of info for that brand Page/etc. would have to be such that they override the (re-)activation hurdle.

Or am I missing something given that I have not seen these in the wild yet?
+Alex Schleber No, those are good points about the challenges involved.  Along the lines of what I said about "opposite problems".  One has social but almost no search, one has search but less popular social.  The audiences haven't merged yet, if they ever can.  That is the race now.
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