Google+ adoption is increasing, especially now with the recent release of Search plus Your World, a new feature in Google.com that combines personal content shared with you and public web content in the search engine results pages.
With this major change in the way search results are presented, it will be even more important to consider Google+ as part of your strategic PPC plan.
Google currently allows searchers to +1 PPC ads in Google.com and the Google Display Network, creating socially-enabled ad campaigns. When someone +1's an ad, they are recommending that ad's landing page to their friends and contacts.
That's not all - +1's on PPC ads integrate with Google+ Pages and SEO results, making search engine marketing efforts more comprehensive. Since +1's are connected to a web page, when a searcher +1's an AdWords ad, they are actually recommending a landing page/web page. This recommendation will carry over to that same web page in the organic results.
Google has integrated this into AdWords campaign management by offering social extensions as an ad extension option. Setting up social extensions connects the +1's in the AdWords campaigns to the correct Google+ Page.
How to use social extensions in AdWords:
Since all ads will have the +1 button as a default, you may wonder if advertisers can opt out. Advertisers can't opt out of the search ads, but can opt out of the +1 button in the Google Display Network. You can do this in the campaign settings tab under "social settings."
Once the ads are connected, advertisers can access limited reporting in AdWords. In the campaigns tab, the +1 Annotations section is located in the segment dropdown. This will show how +1 Annotations are impacting overall ad performance. Results are shown for Personal and Basic +1 Annotations. The difference between the two being that personal annotations will display people in your circles and basic will show that general "people" recommended the ads.
What are the expected results? In terms of campaign performance, it's predicted that click-through rates (CTR) will increase for individual campaigns and increase user engagement. This has the potential to increase the overall CTR and quality of the AdWords account.
From a social perspective, incorporating social recommendations into PPC advertising has the potential to change the way people perceive advertising. An ad can capture more attention and may make a longer impression when people can see their friends and contacts have chosen to endorse it.
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Lisa Raehsler is the founder and principal strategist at Big Click Co., an online advertising company and Google AdWords Certified Partner, specializing in strategy and management of SEM and PPC for search engines, display, retargeting, and social media ad campaigns. Lisa has led strategy on dozens of PPC accounts and puts her experience into practice every day as a thought leader in integrating clients' search campaigns with ecommerce websites, behavioral targeting strategies, and web analytics. She has participated extensively in the local interactive community, as well as at national search engine marketing conferences. Lisa's recent speaking engagements include SES, OMS, MIMA, HeroConf, and SMX conferences, as well as numerous private and public training engagements. As a columnist for ClickZ and Search Engine Watch, she writes on the topic of paid search. Follow her on Twitter @LisaRocksSEM.
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