Google has taken the first steps toward monetising its social media arm, with the launch of +Post ads. But what are they, and why should your business care?
Rather than run ads directly on the Google+ platform, the search giant has created a new ad unit which can be used to turn Google+ content into an expandable display ad. Importantly, these ads can also run across the Google Display Network.
The introduction of +Post ads means that companies can repurpose their existing pictures, videos and Google+ hangouts to turn them into display ads. When a user clicks the ad they expand the content and can browse user comments or leave a comment themselves.
Naturally, as this is a social platform, users can also share the ad content or join live hangouts.
But the conversational aspect of the ad space, complete with social annotations, could make ads more successful in engaging their audience.
Household brands in the US and UK, including Cadbury, are currently among those to run +Post ads. Many more are expected to follow suit.
According to David Cobourne at Hit Search Limited, +post ads make sense for the advertiser and the platform, as both will benefit from the publicity.
He said: "As a social network Google+ has yet to really challenge Facebook and Twitter, but Google is promoting their platform strongly right now.
"The introduction of +post ads is a very good move for Google, as brands get to include social media interaction within adverts, which is a step forward. Meanwhile, Google gets to promote its social platform while getting paid to do so by big brands."