April 30, 2014
Last week, on April 16, Google announced that Google+’s ad program, +Post Ads, would be available to all brands utilizing the Google+ platform that have over 1,000 followers. While the program had been in existence for a limited number of big name advertisers, the program’s requirements and capabilities have changed. Promoted as an easy way to start conversations, to get noticed online and to target specific demographics in a fast, streamlined manner, this announcement has brand marketers buzzing, with good reason.
What are +Post Ads and Why Are They Different?
+Post Ads work in conjunction with Google AdSense by allowing brands to promote any content posts on Google+ in a non-traditional advertising format. To put it simply, any content shared or posted on a brand page on Google+ can be promoted inside the network and on sites across the Internet through a 3rd party network – different than Google Adwords.
Because actual posts are being shared across the web through the new program, the limits of traditional advertising formats are non-existent. In fact, because of the interactivity that exists with the program, all content marketed through +Post Ads, regardless of where they appear on the web can be reshared, commented on and liked on that site, without leaving or redirecting visitors at all. This feature is new and is considered to be groundbreaking technology.
Is the Program Worth Your Time and Money?
As a marketer, it all comes down to two things: time and money. If something takes too much time, or cannot prove a solid return on investment, it’s not something that’s worth it, something better will come along. Based on current feedback, this may be one of those technologies that should be adopted sooner rather than later.
Instead of being viewed as a full-fledged advertising scheme – which it can – Google’s +Post Ads can also serve as a supplemental piece of an already existing content marketing or digital media strategy. In fact, if you’ve considered using any form of social media or social media advertising to increase your digital footprint and brand presence, this may be a key to success.
Social media, in the traditional sense, requires brands to set up accounts inside of specific platforms and networks and to build followings accordingly. For example, if a company is looking to use Facebook as part of their marketing strategy, a brand page is created and followers found from within the network. Someone using Twitter cannot “like” a branded Facebook page unless they switch over to that network. It’s inherently limited.
It’s important to note right here that this does not mean traditional social media marketing strategies should be eliminated; they still matter. But, +Post Ads take it to a new level. Content shared inside of the network can be shared on other sites – even some social media networks – and can engage the audience where they are, no extra time, energy or steps required. A single post can go further than traditional advertising allows.
Control is also an important factor in +Post Ads. The tools in the traditional AdSense box are transferrable for +Post Ads. This means that marketers and brand managers are able to control which demographics sponsored content reaches, how frequently ads are displayed and other important pieces of information. The relevancy and interactivity make +Post Ads a must for any brand looking to make a bigger impact and to build a following online.
Important Features of +Post Ads
Promoting Existing Content
As a brand marketer, you likely already have a digital content strategy in place. You’re creating content and sharing it across the web – if not, it’s time to reconsider that strategy. Your goal for that content is to drive website visits, to encourage engagement and to increase exposure. +Post Ads take this idea to the next level, by allowing existing content to be shared exponentially.
Creating Air Hangouts All Over the Internet
Unlike traditional Google+ Hangouts which take place inside the network, in a traditional social networking capacity, +Post Ads take hangouts – just like any other content shared – to the masses. Hangouts can be advertised through +Post Ads and interested parties can RSVP on whatever site they’re viewing the invitation. This eliminates the need to reach people inside of the network and increases the potential participant pool.
Because of the aforementioned interactivity, +Post Ads take engagement to the next level. Brands are not required to interact within a specific social network; engagement can rise by interacting with users where they already are. It doesn’t get much simpler than that.
Requirements and +Post Ad Creation
According to Google, brands interested in creating +Post Ads must meet the following criteria:
- Brand pages must have a minimum of 1,000 followers on Google+.
- Posts should be relevant to the target audience.
- Brands must opt in to shared endorsements for Google+ pages.
If these criteria are met, it’s time to give it a try.
First, consider your goals for your marketing plan. Who are you looking to reach out to? Where are they spending their time? What appeals to them? This determines the format of the content to be shared. Think outside of the box that has been created by traditional online advertising – video, hangouts and text are all viable formats that can and should be explored.
From there, make sure your posts are optimized according to Google’s best practices. Ad text should be organic and filled with action words “Jump in,” “Join us” and so on. Preview your ad to be sure the text appears how you envisioned it. From there, monitor your user activity to be sure engagement is moving in the right direction.
If you’re looking for a new way to engage online, Google +Post Ads should be a serious consideration. With last week’s announcement that the program has been opened, you may be a good candidate for using the system. Take the time to do some research, to formulate a plan and to move forward accordingly.
Oh, and if you’re wondering about how Vic Gundotra, the name behind Google+, leaving the company will impact the network, Google is assuring us that Google+ will be the same as ever. For now, the ad units look promising.
Adrienne Erin writes twice weekly for SiteProNews about online marketing strategies that help businesses like Ruby Vapor succeed. Follow @adrienneerin on Twitter to see more of her work or get in touch.