The Google +1 Button and What It Means for Marketers

  |  April 11, 2011   |  Comments

Will advertisers get more qualified traffic coming into their website based on the addition of +1? Will the +1 button help Google provide more relevant results to its users?

Recently I wrote about how social ratings such as online customer reviews may begin to affect search engine rankings. I ended that particular column by stating: "My guess is that Google…will continue to work to uncover a potential solution to begin truly integrating social reviews into the core algorithm."

I would never call myself a prophet of course, but given Google's recent launch, I would venture to say that I hit the nail smack-dab on the proverbial head.

Similar to "Like," "Digg," and "Fan" buttons, which enable users within social networks to give "props" to the content they like, Google has recently launched the "+1 button" within its search engine. This +1 button enables users to click to recommend your ad to others.

Google provided our agency with a "one-sheeter" overview of this function, using a fictional example to illustrate how it works. The story goes like this: Brian went to Madrid last summer and had a splendid time at a certain hotel. He likes it so much that he clicks the +1 button to recommend it to his network (example below).

google-grand-hotel-1

When Brian's friend Ann starts planning her own vacation in Spain, she performs a search for accommodation and comes across an ad for the same hotel Brian stayed at. Except this ad looks slightly different as it now shows that her friend Brian recommended this page (he "+1'd" it). Ann then thinks to herself, "Well, if Brian recommends this, I should check it out," and promptly clicks on the ad.

google-grand-hotel-2

+1ing is a user-initiated process and will only show to users who are already signed into their Google account. This change will affect all advertisers, but will not affect the ad text as the button appears adjacent to the advertiser-controlled copy (as shown above).

It is important to note that these +1 buttons will not just show up in the search results. Google is currently working on a version of the +1 button that can be placed on websites/web pages, facilitating the ability for users to recommend content without having to go back to the ad itself. Advertisers can sign up to receive information when +1 for websites will be available.

What Does This Mean for Advertisers?

Google is confident that advertisers should get more qualified traffic coming into their website based on this addition (e.g., if you saw a friend recommend the ad, you may be more likely to convert). Google suggests advertisers will likely also see an overall increase in click-through rate (CTR) as these +1 annotations increase over time. Google is very clear about the fact that the +1 button will not affect quality scores or sponsored ad rankings; the same elements (user experience and relevancy) will be used to determine quality scores.

What Does This Mean for Organic Rankings?

The +1 button is meant to help Google provide more relevant results to its users. It is no surprise, therefore, that it plans on leveraging this information to help optimize its organic rankings. In fact, Google asserts that since the beginning of 2010, data from social networks have been used as "signals" to inform organic positioning: "Since January 2010, we've been using data from social services, such as Twitter and Flickr, as signals in organic search rankings. Now we'll use +1s as an additional signal in organic search to help users find recommendations from their friends and contacts." Clearly, the amount that your site is "+1'd" could potentially have a significant impact on your search rankings.

So What Should You Do to Get "+1'd"?

Make sure that your sponsored search user experience is as optimized as possible – be sure to deliver on the query that someone searches for both within your ad copy and the landing page you drive to. Above all, make sure that your site offers relevant, compelling content that users will want to recommend to their contacts. Revisit your offerings to determine if there are additional opportunities to stand out from the competition and maximize positive customer experiences.

How Will I Know How Many +1s I'm Getting?

Unfortunately, reporting is not currently available. However, Google said that reporting will soon be available within your Google AdWords account under the Dimensions tab.

It is currently unclear on how detailed (or not) this reporting will be, but ideally we'll be able to see some granular breakdowns of which ads and keywords are resulting in +1s, which could potentially help guide optimizations.

In the meantime, I'm looking forward to seeing the impact of this new addition!

Tags:

ClickZ Live Chicago Join the Industry's Leading eCommerce & Direct Marketing Experts in Chicago
ClickZ Live Chicago (Nov 3-6) will deliver over 50 sessions across 4 days and 10 individual tracks, including Data-Driven Marketing, Social, Mobile, Display, Search and Email. Check out the full agenda and register by Friday, Oct 3 to take advantage of Early Bird Rates!

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Julie Batten

Julie is a member of the senior strategy team at Klick Health, focused on online media and digital. Julie initially established and led the media practice at Klick for several years, relinquishing leadership to expand beyond media into additional digital tactics. She brings a wealth of experience in search marketing, digital media, and all facets of digital strategy to bear, helping Klick's clients develop innovative digital solutions. As her role has evolved, so have her contributions to ClickZ, which she has been writing for since 2007.

COMMENTSCommenting policy

comments powered by Disqus

Get the ClickZ Search newsletter delivered to you. Subscribe today!

COMMENTS

UPCOMING EVENTS

Featured White Papers

IBM: Social Analytics - The Science Behind Social Media Marketing

IBM Social Analytics: The Science Behind Social Media Marketing
80% of internet users say they prefer to connect with brands via Facebook. 65% of social media users say they use it to learn more about brands, products and services. Learn about how to find more about customers' attitudes, preferences and buying habits from what they say on social media channels.

An Introduction to Marketing Attribution: Selecting the Right Model for Search, Display & Social Advertising

An Introduction to Marketing Attribution: Selecting the Right Model for Search, Display & Social Advertising
If you're considering implementing a marketing attribution model to measure and optimize your programs, this paper is a great introduction. It also includes real-life tips from marketers who have successfully implemented attribution in their organizations.

WEBINARS

Jobs

    • Web Writer
      Web Writer (Money Map Press) - BaltimoreDo you have a passion for the markets and investing, and writing? Do you want to spend your days providing...
    • Web Production Specialist
      Web Production Specialist (Money Map Press) - BaltimoreMoney Map Press is looking for a self-starter to perform and oversee the production of daily...
    • Internet Marketing Campaign Manager
      Internet Marketing Campaign Manager (Straight North, LLC) - Downers GroveWe are looking for a talented Internet Marketing Campaign Manager...