Seeing ads pop up on our favorite social networks is nothing new, though up until now, we haven't seen any real monetization efforts with Google Plus. That's all about to change, as Google has announced a new feature called +Posts. These differ from traditional social ads in that they aren't necessarily displayed within Google Plus. Instead, +Posts are integrated into the Google Display Network, which means they have a much larger reach.
+Posts still come with Google Plus features, though. Brands can use pictures and videos from their Plus pages in their +Posts, and users who are signed into Google Plus can use their accounts to comment on the ads or even join hangouts the brands are hosting. Of course, users can also share +Posts to their own Google Plus pages, so even though these ads won't be appearing directly on Google Plus, they still sport many features offered by the social network.
These +Posts have been rolling out slowly, as Google has been beta testing them with a small number of companies. The companies listed by Google include Toyota, Cadbury UK, and Ritz Crackers. We should begin seeing more companies using +Posts soon, with Google saying it will add more brands to the beta test once it collects feedback from these launch companies. Google's Eran Arkin reports that these three companies have been enjoying "expansion rates 50% higher than the industry average for rich media ads," so they must be working in some respects.
He also claims that using social annotations in ads has increased click-through rates, and that companies which ran hangouts have experienced "strong participation." We can certainly see the benefit to +Posts, considering there are about 2 million websites in the Google Display Network. That means these ads could potentially reach more users than they would if they were only displayed on Google Plus, so there's certainly an incentive for brands to consider using them. We'll have to see how +Posts fare moving forward, but in the mean time, head down to the comments section and let us know if you think this is a good idea. Should Google also be running these within Google Plus, or do you think keeping it to the Google Display Network for the time being is a smart move?