Internet users rarely click on banner ads, let alone interact with them. That’s a behavior Google wants to change with a new social ad product it announced yesterday, and according to agencies, it might just work.
The new +Post Ads format will allow an advertiser to take a piece of content it has published on the Google Plus social network and turn it into a display ad that can easily be distributed across millions of sites via the Google ad network. Users that hover over or tap one of the banners will be offered the chance to comment, share and otherwise interact with the content without leaving the webpage they’re on. It’s a rich-media banner ad for the social age.
“Digital display was once dominated by rich-media advertising; that’s how marketers got ‘engagement.’ But social media is rapidly becoming Google’s rich-media product,” said Ian Schafer, CEO of Deep Focus. “This is a way for Google to recapture some of those ad dollars that once were spent on its rich-media products.”
The ads themselves aren’t dissimilar to sponsored posts on other social networks such as Facebook or Twitter, but the difference is they can live on virtually any site on the Internet, including some of the world’s largest publisher properties. The hope is that, even though Google Plus is a ghost town from a user perspective, marketers will happily invest in the ads.
“This lets brands think of the entire Web as their social stream,” wrote Eran Arkin, ads product manager at Google, in a blog post announcing the ads.
The idea, Arkin said, is to bring together the sharing capabilities of Google Plus (with the sheer scale of its ad products) and its granular ad targeting capabilities. That’s a combination agencies say could prove powerful.
“Advertisers have been waiting for Google to create better connections between Google Plus and their vast network of media offerings. This is a big step in the right direction,” said Sarah Sikowitz, group media director at 360i. “This product allows them expand the reach of their owned content, using Google’s display targeting capabilities to ensure their message gets in front of the right people, including many who might not be aware of their Google Plus page or have a habit of visiting it.”
Indeed, the fact that users don’t need to leave the page to interact with the ad will probably appeal to both advertisers and publishers, said Matt DeSimone, a senior producer at Click 3X. Expanding ads aren’t a new technology, but display ads with social functionality often require users to click away to another site or page.
“Google +Post ads are a unique opportunity, as they bring the social conversation about the brand or campaign directly into the ad unit, without driving to a separate site. Essentially, they are removing the need for a click-through, encouraging interaction without ever leaving the primary experience,” DeSimone said.
To Sikowitz’s point, the new ads might also help stoke some activity on Google Plus, which has struggled to gain the attention of consumers since it launched in 2011. As users see and interact with the +Post ads, that activity will be pushed to their Google Plus accounts, and they might even stumble across the network in the process. That would be good news for both Google and its advertisers. What’s more, the ability to turn their posts into display ads with massive potential reach might make marketers take the platform a little more seriously.
“It’s exciting for our clients given our appreciation and focus on earned media. Having sharing baked into ads is massive,” added Jeff Melton, chief distribution officer at MRY.
The ads could also have an impact on other areas of the Google ecosystem, including search results. Increasingly, the content Google users see on their results pages is dictated by their activity and connections on social networks such as Google Plus itself. If advertisers can insert themselves into that activity, the ripple effect will most likely be positive. Arkin himself nodded to this fact in yesterday’s product announcement, writing, “Showing social annotations on search ads has helped increase click-through rates.”
Google says so far the ads have seen expansion rates 50 percent higher than the industry average for rich media. Launch partners for the new formats include Toyota USA, RITZ crackers and Cadbury UK.
But as Schafer points out, it’s somewhat ironic that Google is attempting “fix” banner ads, considering it arguably played a large part in breaking them in the first place. At one time, it commanded a large portion of rich-media ad budgets.
“In some ways, it’s a solution to a problem it helped create,” he concluded. “It’s bizarre.”
Image via Shutterstock
With podcast advertising maturing, more mainstream brands want in on growth
Podcasts, once a go-to marketing channel for direct-to-consumer brands, have become a mainstay for more seasoned advertisers, agency executives say.
Marketing Briefing: Coca-Cola and other major marketers enter ‘test and learn’ phase with generative AI
Many major marketers like Coca-Cola are asking agencies how they can use generative AI technology. But most are not creating consumer-facing work with generative AI just yet.
As its future hangs in the balance, TikTok tries to keep advertisers on its side
The whole idea that TikTok is really spyware is nothing more than a myth, according to the app. And it wants marketers to know it.
SponsoredHow advertisers are fostering more effective publisher partnerships
Michael Weaver, senior vice president, business development and growth, Al Jazeera Media Network An everyday conversation between publishers and advertisers goes like this: The publisher invites the advertiser to a meal to talk about their business, attempts to delve into specifics on what the media buyer is looking to achieve, their audience breakdown and how […]
How gaming organization OTK strikes a balance between creator-ownership and more traditional executive experience
Since its formation in October 2020, creator ownership has been a core part of One True King’s DNA. The group is constantly adding new talent to its list of creator–owners, fueling a rapid rise and accolades such as “Best Content Organization” at last year’s Streamer Awards.
When it comes to TikTok, some marketers proceed with caution
For some marketers, the bloom is coming off TikTok.