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Google +Post Ads: three (+1) reasons why it could be a success

This guest post was written by Tomas Sweertvaegher(@tmss), Head of Reputation Ogilvy Brussels. 

Ogilvy Brussels has been selected by the European Parliament to help run its institutional election campaign, aimed at encouraging European citizens to cast their votes in the upcoming European elections.



What better way to get started than by testing Google’s new +Post Ads? The team will trial +Post Ads to reach out and engage with voters who don’t use social media on a daily basis. While online users are nowadays rather easy to reach on social networks, tools for an awareness message to users outside these networks are more limited. With +Post ads, Google offers a promising format to complete an all-encompassing online communication across social networks and the wider web.

Between February 5 – 10, the European Parliament will run +Post Ads across the Google Display Network in 10 European countries: Belgium, Bulgaria, Croatia, Czech Republic, Greece, Ireland, Italy, Lithuania, Portugal and Sweden. This is the first time a +Post Ad campaign has been run across more than one country!

Even though Google+ is becoming the central hub for all of Google’s different services, it is ad-free. Google+ users may assume it’s just a matter of time before ads start popping up in their stream, but they’re likely to be proved wrong: Google is about to launch something different… and possibly better.

Google +Post Ads only appear outside the social network and with two million partner websites in Google’s Display Network, plenty of options exist.

What did we think of +Post Ads after the trial campaign?

1: It’s as easy to set up as a Facebook Page Post Ad

Page Post Ads on Facebook are easy to set up: you just publish and start promoting – that’s it.

Google +Post ads are just as easy, as they are based on Google+ posts. Ads can contain links, pictures and even videos or Hangouts, and campaign programming and optimising go through the Google AdWords platform.

2: Impressive reach and targeting via the Google Display Network

As the ads are featured across within the Google Display Network, advertisers can make use of the impressive reach and targeting possibilities that Google AdWords already offers. This means advertisers aren’t limited to active followers on Google+, but their social content has the potential to also benefit from the reach and targeting of the Google Display Network.

3: Powerful ad format


The ads can appear on partner websites in different formats. When a user hovers over the ad for more than 2 seconds, it opens in the centre of the browser, and advertisers you only pay when this happens. As the ad is based on a Google+ post, social interactions (+1, comment, share and follow) only take a single click. To close the ad, users then need to click it again. Marketeers will love this powerful ad format. The question is if users too will love these more intrusive ads…

(+1: Advertisers pay for the growth of Google+)

(This new step offers Google+ another opportunity to draw new users to its social media platform. Thanks to investments from advertisers, Google+ gets to expand its user base and create more interactions. Where reports state that Facebook ads push users away, the opposite seems to be true for Google+. In addition, Google+ users can continue to enjoy an ad-free network and news stream.)


What do the numbers say?

This test showed great results in terms of engagement, with rates between 30% and 100% higher (depending on the country) and at a lower cost-per-engagement when compared to regular AdWords campaigns. Secondly, as a side effect of the awareness test, the number of page followers increased, albeit not spectacularly.

The beta test still showed some hiccups. Amongst them, the issue that Google+ doesn’t offer ‘dark posting’. This means that the 11 posts in different languages appeared in the stream of all existing followers (sorry about that!).


This guest post was written by Tomas Sweertvaegher (@tmss), Head of Reputation Ogilvy Brussels. 

Tomas Sweertvaegher