It's no secret that there's little love lost between Google and Facebook, even to those outside the Valley. Google proved this once again today by announcing it has expanded access to +Post ads to all advertisers and that these ads will support Google Hangouts on Air.
What Are Google +Post Ads?
Google first announced +Post ads in December, billing them as a new format of ad that brands can use to drive engagement across multiple platforms. Simply put, +Post ads are pieces of content from brands' Google Plus profiles, such as videos and photos, which are repurposed into ads to be served across the Google Display Network.
What's the Big Deal?
In the official blog post announcing the rollout, Google highlighted some examples of how advertisers have used +Post ads to drive user engagement.
One of the more interesting examples was Toyota USA, which used +Post ads to promote the 2014 Corolla to a younger audience - a demographic that can be tough for car manufacturers to crack. By incorporating video into the +Post ad, Toyota USA reported 50% more engagement with the +Post ad than traditional advertisements.
How Do +Post Ads Drive Engagement?
In another example, Google illustrated how British fashion retailer ASOS incorporated a Hangout on Air into its +Post ad to promote a sale. Users could shop for items before, during and after the Hangout, and since the event was promoted live in a +Post ad, 71% of viewers who attended the Hangout came from the +Post ad.
Another cool feature of +Post ads' integration with Hangouts on Air is that users can RSVP to a Hangout and view recordings of them if they miss the live event - all from the +Post ad itself.
How Do You Create +Post Ads?
To create +Post ads, you have to meet a few requirements:
- Your Google+ profile has to have a minimum of 1,000 followers
- You have to opt-in to shared endorsements for Google+ pages
- The content you want to turn into a +Post ad must be relevant to your audience
If you meet these requirements, you can make a +Post ad. I went through the process just now.
First, in AdWords, create a new Display Network Only campaign:
Set your device targeting options and daily budget and continue. Next you just choose Google+ Ad Template as shown here:
The final step is to choose which Google+ page to display, once you've done that, it will ask you to pick a recent post to promote. By default it loads your most recent post as shown here:
Alternatively, you can also choose a different post to promote, like this:
(It appears that I ought to be posting more updates to the WordStream Google+ account...)
For more information, check out the official +Post ad creation page.
What Does This Have to Do with Facebook?
With Facebook slowly turning the thumbscrews on brands that have enjoyed relatively inexpensive access to the social networks' vast user base until very recently, Facebook ads are going to be The Next Big Thing in social - and Google knows it.
Rather than take a backseat to the enormous potential of social advertising, Google is attempting to capitalize on its own social platform in a way that makes sense to brands advertising across the GDN. Whether this will make Google Plus more attractive to users is another matter entirely, but the announcement demonstrates that Google is taking social advertising very seriously.