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G5 Checks Out Google's User Endorsements

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Google continues to places emphasis on the social voiceWant to be the new spokesperson for that coffee shop down the street you lovingly stop by every morning? If you’ve reviewed, commented on, rated or “+1’d” your regular java stop on Google+, your "social information" can soon be used to promote their business.

Previously, Google allowed advertisers to include a count of the “+1s” that their content or brand received alongside their Search network ads. Google further expanded this program last year to include the same information on Display network ads. However, earlier this month Google announced an expansion to “Shared Endorsement” ads. Actions that constitute an endorsement now include reviews, comments, brand follows, “+1s”, and other social actions on Google+. Google will display endorsers’ profile names, actions, and photos within ads, but only to users the endorser has chosen to share content with. This change is slated to go into effect November 11.

For advertisers, this represents an opportunity to better harness digital “word of mouth.” By displaying a recommendation from a searcher’s friend about a service or product, Google removes a major barrier to purchase (trusting product reviews of complete strangers online). Addressing potential privacy concerns in a notice to users posted on its site, Google said, “When it comes to shared endorsements in ads, you can control the use of your Profile name and photo.”

A strong Google+ presence is key to best utilizing Shared Endorsements. Brands should establish a Google+ page if they haven’t already, and create an ongoing social strategy to generate relevant content, gather followers, promote engagement, and monitor and respond to any positive or negative feedback.  Brands may also find it effective to engage with brands or spokespeople associated with complimentary brands or products to spark crossover interaction between the two groups and their fans.

This latest announcement is yet another indicator from Google of social media’s growing importance to a customer’s digital experience. It’s important that your brand cultivates high quality interactions and social actions on your Google+ page. The better your Google+ fan engagement, the better your brand will be able to utilize Shared Endorsements in ads and across Google Search properties as well (including Google Maps, Google Play, and more).

Google has yet to announce when this feature will be available to Adwords advertisers. However, G5 recommends:

  • Preparing now by optimizing the content on your Google+ pages
  • Reviewing Google’s policy on how Google+ pages interact with ads
  • Learning more about Social SEO and how it can help you leverage social signals to optimize search traffic

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