Following the advertising innovation seen on social networks like Facebook and Twitter over the past several months, Google has announced that it will debut a new series of ad units for its own social network, Google+.
These ads, titled “+Post ads,” will debut with advertisements for Toyota, the French telecommunications company Orange, and brands such as Cadbury. They will feature the same social engagement functions as all other Google+ posts, allowing users to “+1” a post or comment on it. Advertisers will be charged when a user hovers over the ad for more than two seconds, causing it to expand. This is slightly different than Facebook’s model, which charges advertisers, depending on their preferences, by impressions, clicks or by running out a lifetime or daily budget.
One unique feature of the ads is that they will enable internal social interaction. This means that Google will allow brands to promote media content, conversations and Google Hangouts from within the ads. This will theoretically allow brands to increase user engagement and interest in the ads by making them significantly more interactive.
This user engagement will be especially critical, given the low usage numbers of Google+. In comparison with Facebook, which has over 1 billion monthly users, Google+ has only 300 million. While this number is higher than Twitter’s 230 million monthly users, Twitter benefits from a much higher level of publicity than Google’s social network.
The development of this new method of advertising is extremely significant to the future of social media. As ad content is rolled out across all social platforms, the manner in which this occurs has become critical. It’s no longer realistic to expect social media to be entirely free of advertising. Like many corners of modern society, it has become commercialized. As such, this new, interactive and relatively non-invasive method of social advertising could prove to be the way forward for all online brands and not just Google+.