+Post ads, pronounced “plus post ads,” are the latest offering from Google on their AdWords platform, and they are unlike any other ad currently on the Internet. Basically, a +Post ad is an interactive Google+ post that can be used to spread brand recognition beyond the boundaries of the Google+ social network.
+Post ads fit under the category of Google AdWords Display advertising, meaning that this type of ad is capable of being shown across the millions of websites in Google’s Display Advertising network. We recently covered Google Display advertising here. Essentially, Display ads show up on partner websites when a person enters the website from a Google search.
What makes +Post ads different than other online advertising?
A Google +Post ad is actually a Google+ post that can be targeted to specific people, using all the demographic and geographic targeting available in AdWords. Not only do people see your ad, but with +Post ads they can actually interact with your Google+ post without ever leaving the website they’re on.
Basically, the +Post ad comes up in a lightbox overlay so people don’t have to leave the site they’re on to interact with your brand.
Because +Post ads are socially interactive at their core, they provide amazing opportunity for brands to grow their social presence far beyond the walls of their Google+ social network. This functionality allows companies to make the Internet their social stream, and significantly broadens their ability to reach potential customers through social media.
Can I use +Post ads on Google now, or are they still only in beta?
Google released +Post ads in limited beta back in December of 2013, meaning that only a few companies like Toyota USA, Cadbury UK and RITZ crackers had access. The initial +Post ad test campaigns that these companies ran were very successful, and Google has since released them more publicly. I say more publicly, because there are still some barriers to entry.
To use +Post ads you’ll have to have a Google+ business page or, technically speaking, a personal profile. You can use +Post ads as a person from a profile, and there may be some cases of people being the brand, but generally +Post ads are intended for businesses. However, that page or profile must have at least 1,000 followers to qualify for +Post ads.
The intention behind this 1,000 follower minimum is to restrict +Post ads to those who are more experienced with Google+. This experience is needed because +Post ads are very new, and cases of effective use are still few in number. Converting the new brand recognition and social interaction you’ll get from +Post ads into real dollars and cents may prove difficult if you’re not already experienced at using Google+ for your business.
How valuable are +Post ads on Google to brands?
For those who are experienced with using Google+ for business, +Post ads present an unprecedented opportunity for growth and expansion. For example, Toyota USA saw very positive results, “with 50% higher expansion rates than the industry average on rich media ads.” according to Google Plus Daily.
The value in these higher expansion rates is realized when considering that companies like Toyota see a direct relationship between the interaction on the content they produce and their bottom line, meaning that the more Toyota is able to engage its audience with social content, the more cars it is able to sell.
+Post ads are a way for companies to leverage their valuable social content, and reach a much larger audience. For example, Toyota USA has about 300,000 followers on Google+. This means that its reach is limited by the number of people it has following it and further limited by the number of people who happen to see its posts.
These limitations are lifted with +Post ads, because not only is the Google Display Advertising network over two million websites strong, the number of people who visit these sites per day is staggering. According to a 2012 Business 2 Community article citing a Google statistics research report, the Google Display Network has over 24 billion ad impressions per day.
What new +Post ad features may be coming?
In addition to sharing Google+ posts containing images and video (these are the posts that perform best as +Post ads), Google now has some cool new features in the pipeline. These features are currently still in beta, but we may see them soon. For example, beta users are able to not only promote video, they are actually able to promote live Hangout on Air video content. This means that companies are able to promote live events as they are happening, and greatly expand their reach live.
Another beta feature to +Post ads on Google is shoppable Hangouts. Shoppable Hangouts are a way for people to actually make purchases directly from a live Hangout on Air event, and +Post ad beta users are now able to promote their shoppable events as they happen. For example, you could be watching a live interview with the cast of an upcoming movie, and be able to buy tickets to the show as you watch.
With all the interactive social features and content reach expansion capabilities of +Post ads, they represent an evolutionary leap forward in online advertising. Although +Post ads are still in their infancy, they will be a trend to watch in the months ahead.
If you’d like to join the +Post ad revolution, remember you’ll want to be experienced with Google+ for business. If you’re not experienced, but would like to try +Post ads, you’ll want to find someone who is experienced in the Google+ for business community.
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