How To Create Google +Post Ads
The big news this week is that Google has opened up the +Post feature to the rest of the business community. What was initially available only to a select group of beta testers, is now an option for any business with a Google+ profile that has at least 1000 followers.
The +Post ad is, simply put, a way to further the reach of your Google+ activity beyond Google+.
These are NOT advertisements ON the Google+ social network.
Rather, using a Google AdWords account, you can choose to have one of your Google+ posts appear on other websites. These other websites are publishers who have opted into the Google AdSense program and designated areas of their websites to display Google ads.
In other words, you're putting your Google+ posts where there were already Google ads.
When creating a +Post ad, and we'll get into the specifics in a moment, you will see how Google converts your post into one of three different standard ad sizes:
- 300 x 250
- 728 x 90
- 160 x 600
Each ad is rendered using HTML5 and includes a button to "Expand" the ad as a kind of pop-out window. Once expanded, the full post is seen, along with comments (if you've allowed them). Website visitors who are logged into their Google+ account can even +1 the post and follow your account, right from the ad. Embedded video is viewable and if you opt to use a Hangout On Air as your ad, visitors can watch the video live or catch the replay.
Interestingly, while it was understood, or at least assumed, initially that the advertising technique would be tied to a business Page account, it actually works for both personal profiles and page profiles. So anyone with enough followers can use their account, personal or page, to create +Post ads.
Create Your First +Post Ad
So before we continue, you'll need to have the following in place:
1. A Google+ profile, personal or page, with at least 1000 followers.
2. A Google AdWords account.
3. A recent post that you want to promote.
For many businesses, the 1000 follower requirement is certainly a problem, so you'll need to spend some time being active on the platform and engaging others to get that follower count up. DO NOT attempt to buy more followers or do anything to artificially ramp up your follower count. It's not worth it.
When it comes to choosing or creating a post to promote, interestingly, only Image posts are eligible. Link Preview posts are not an option. So make sure that you have at least one recent post that is an image share that you're interested in promoting. If you don't, then you'll need to craft and post that first.
Once you've got those preliminary steps taken care of, it's time to get started. While this will not be an exhaustive tutorial on how to use Google AdWords, I will try to include every element that you need to understand in order to create your first +Post ad. More advanced and general PPC principles like targeting and bidding are out of scope, but please feel free to pose questions if you need help in those kinds of areas.
Setting Up A New Campaign
First, create a New Campaign. You likely will not be able to use an existing campaign because the campaign type must be: Display Network Only - Engagement.
So, click on the +Campaign button and choose Display Network Only.
Type in a name for your new campaign and then select Engagement as the Campaign Type.
Choose whether or not to limit what devices the campaign displays on, and choose whether you want to limit which countries or languages your ads can be seen.
Set a maximum daily budget for your campaign, and review the other setting options like delivery, and so on.
Click Save & Continue.
Setting Up A New Ad Group
Next is the Ad Group. Type in a name and put in a default bid amount.
Next, choose how to target your ads. This is how Google will determine which websites to display your ad on, so give it careful consideration. You can choose to target based on keywords or interests or other combinations, and can also limit by factors like the known age of the website viewer.
Setting Up A New +Post Ad
Once you have your Campaign and Ad Group in place, it's time to create your first +Post ad.
Within the template group, select the third option, "Post your Google+ content on the web."
Note, it's not clear yet how to promote an HOA, so this is just for regular posts. That info will be added here when it becomes available.
Type in a meaningful name for your ad.
Under the Select a Google+ Page drop down, click on "Other +page." That will change to a text field and simply begin typing the name of your profile.
For instance, I typed "Mike Allton" and it populated my account. You can go back and select Other +page again, and type in something different, like "The Social Media Hat" and Google will find the other account. Each time, the profile you've searched will remain in the drop down and you can go back to it later.
If you try to enter a profile that doesn't meet the requirements of 1000 followers, an error will come up stating that the profile doesn't exist or doesn't meet the requirements for promotion.
Since both my personal profile and my branded page have the requisite number of followers, either will work for me. I was also able to choose a profile that doesn't belong to me, but that I knew had more than 1000 followers. It will be interesting to see if Google allows you to create ads based on another account's activity, or if that's something they would try to catch and flag during review.
Once you've selected an eligible profile, Google will automatically display your most recent post as an ad preview in the preview area. Below your selected page name is a button to "select a different post" if you don't want to use your most recent. All of your most recent image shares will come up then from you to pick from, and you will be able to see the image that you shared along with the text you wrote.
Once you've chosen which post to use an ad, there are just a couple more options.
First, you can choose whether or not to display the comments your followers wrote on that particular post. Click on "Customize" to reveal that option.
Second, you can choose whether to use all three ad sizes or just a combination. You can click on each ad size in the Preview box to review them, and then click on Select ad sizes to pick and choose which ones to use.
Once you're ready, click on "Review and finish" to submit your ad. Google will automatically create one new ad for each ad size you selected and place it within your new Ad Group. Ads will be paused pending a review.
The ad review process can take as long as a day, so be patient. Once approved, your new ads will appear within your AdWords profile just like any other PPC ad. You will be able to see how many clicks and impressions your ad has received, and the budget that's been used. You can also make adjustments to ad targeting and budget as needed in order to get the right kind of exposure for your post.
Selecting A Post for +Post Ads
Aside from the "how to" of selecting a post to use as a +Post ad, there's the bigger question of what makes for a good +Post? It will take some time to determine exactly what kinds of posts make for great ads, but in the meantime, Ben Fisher from Steady Demand has written an excellent article that details the kinds of considerations businesses need to keep in mind. He says that, "using the Steady Demand Pro tool, you can hone in on the perfect posts to turn into +Post Ads." And in that article he explains exactly how to do that, so do check it out.
As I experiment with +Post ads myself, I will share my findings and recommendations. If you're interesting in taking advantage of this promotional activity immediately, or need help getting your business started on Google+ and up to that 1000 follower mark, contact me for a free initial consultation and we'll see if what else I can do to help you promote your business.
By Mike Allton, Content Marketing Practitioner
Mike is a Content Marketing Practitioner, Blogger and Author in St. Louis, and the Chief Marketing Officer at SiteSell. He has been working with websites and the Internet since the early '90's, and is active on all of the major social networks. Mike teaches a holistic approach to content marketing that leverages blog content, social media and SEO to drive traffic, generate leads, and convert those leads into sales.
Mike is the author of, "The Unofficial Book On HootSuite: The #1 Tool for Social Media Management", "The Ultimate Guide to the Perfect LinkedIn Profile.", and "Blog Promotionology, The Art & Science of Blog Promotion."