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The Beginner’s Guide to Google Plus Advertising Options

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In April, Google quietly launched +Post ads, a new Google Plus advertising service for marketers. +Post ads enables advertisers to promote Google+ posts on Google’s Display Network in exactly the same way as they publish regular ads.

This type of Google Plus advertising feature has huge potential, since it facilitates direct user engagement right where they see the ad. Users don’t have to be redirected to another site for them to do what you want them to do.

For example, if you want to promote a Hangout event to people with specific interests, you can simply use Google Plus advertising and create a +Post ad and select a specific target audience as you would any regular AdWords ad page on the Google AdWords Display Network. Users who see your ad and engage it by hovering for three seconds will be able to RSVP to the Hangout immediately and directly from the ad that expands within the Lightbox.

Google’s new +Post ads service is the latest addition to its engagement advertising options that are intended primarily to promote direct interaction with users.

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First Steps with Google Plus Advertising

First, in order to set up a +Post ad, you must have at least 1,000 followers on your Google+ page.

Then, you can begin utilizing Google Plus advertising by creating an engagement campaign:

Google Plus Advertising Create Engagement Adwords Campaign Ads


Select New Ad and choose the Post your Google+ Content option:

Google Plus Advertising Create Engagement Ads

You will be directed to the Create an Ad page. Here, your first step at No. 1 is to choose the Google+ page from which you want to draw your posts (For example, I entered the name “Mashable.”). The system will then automatically be directed to your most recent post.If you want to promote another post, simply click on Select a Different Post, the No. 2 option, and choose from the list that pops up.

Next, you’ll see on the right a preview of the ad in the three size advertising options available today. If you want only one size, simply click on Select Ad Sizes and unclick the sizes you don’t want:

Google Plus Advertising Create Adwords Ads

Then click Preview and Save, and voila! You have a Google+ campaign ready to go.

Eventually your ads will look like this:

Of course, if you haven’t already defined your targeted audience, you should do so at this point so Google Plus advertising system will know to whom to display the ad. For a full explanation of targeting on Google AdWords Display Network, click here.

How does billing work?

As with all of Google’s engagement ads, you are billed when a user engages the ad by hovering over it for three seconds, even if no real interaction took place.

This means that the data appearing in the Clicks column in your AdWords report represent not actual clicks on the Google Plus advertising system but the number of times an ad was engaged. This represents the number of times you were billed.

You may then ask how you can measure the effect of +Post ads if not all engagement results in interaction?

For this exact purpose, Google Plus advertising system added a new series of columns to the AdWords interface called Social Metrics. This feature displays:


  • +1’s: How many +1’s a post received through the Google Plus advertising system;
  • Shares: How many shares the post received through the ad;
  • Comments: How many comments the post received in the ad. (It would be interesting to figure out how to count the number of comments that originated from the original click. Should it be based on “how many per click” or “one per click”?);
  • Followers: How many followers joined as a result of the ad.


Even more interesting are other data displayed on Social Metrics:

Google Plus Advertising Create Social Metrics

  • Earned Impressions: How much exposure did your post receive as a result of shares the ​ad received. This enables you to examine the impact of the campaign while it runs and its continuing impact after the campaign has ended.
  • Earned Social Actions: How many actions (+1, Comment or Share) the post received as a result of exposure from the ad. For example:

If a user saw your ad and shared it, resulting in ten of the user’s friends seeing the ad, you will see a “10” in the Earned Impressions column.

If three of the user’s ten friends shared the post and it received an additional two +1s, you will see a “5” in the Earned Social Actions column.


It would be interesting to test whether indirect exposures that the post received from the original user’s friends in the Google Plus advertising system could be counted as earned impressions. For example, if user A shared the post and A’s friend, user B, then viewed it and shared it with user C, is user C’s exposure still credited to user A’s share or not, since they two have an indirect connection?



That wraps up my short guide to Google Plus Advertising.

Undoubtedly, this kind of ad, while relatively unsophisticated, has incredible potential.

If you’ve had a chance to use Google Plus Advertising or if you have any interesting ideas on using engagement ads through Google AdWords Display Network, please tell us more in the comments!


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