Google +1 Recommendation Feature: What Effect Will It Have on Advertiser Results?

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This week, Google launched the +1 Recommendation feature to its AdWords advertising platform. The feature allows users to “like” ads or products that appear in the search results. Is this the future of online advertising or an attempt to snub competitors? It is possible Google is attempting to create a genuine way to connect advertisers to the consumer in a more personal manner. Customer testimonials in marketing are huge these days, spurred by social media marketing strategies.

Here’s Google’s official statement:

”Now, fans of your business can recommend what you offer, for all their friends and contacts to see. By helping searchers see more personal, relevant ads, We believes you’ll see more qualified traffic.  The +1 button will automatically be added to your ads over the next few weeks for English searches on Google.com.  Soon you’ll also be able to add +1 buttons to your web pages to make it even easier for customers to +1 your content (making this Google’s answer to the Facebook Like button – author).”

What does this mean for paid search advertisers and the future of AdWords?

Kenneth Hurta,  a member of the Leverage Strategy & Development Team, had this to say: “This is a very interesting new feature, and the first tangible evidence of social relevancy merging into search results. Google says these will not affect how ad relevance and quality scores are determined, but how long until it considers ads with more +1s to be more useful for searchers?”  Whether or not this feature becomes a successful or relevant feature of AdWords remains to be seen. At this time no reporting is available yet, but Google assures us it’s coming soon.

How The Google +1 Button Works

Here are some of the most common questions that advertisers are having, along with the official answers as provided to Google Partner Agencies and some advertisers from Google:

Will the +1 button affect my clickthrough or conversion rates?

Each campaign performs differently, so we can’t predict how your clickthrough rate (CTR) will change for individual campaigns. However, we believe that including the +1 button on ads will increase the overall CTR of campaigns as personalized annotations increase user engagement.

Will the +1 button impact how you determine quality score?

No, this does not change how we determine your ad’s relevance of quality. As always, we look at your ad’s performance relative to that of other ads for the same query, position, and UI treatment.

Should I change my ads or landing pages?

No, there is no need to change the copy or landing pages of your campaigns. We’re adding +1 buttons to ads and search results on Google.com in English. Simple, compelling ads directing to a relevant landing page will continue to perform best.

Where can I see how many +1s my ads are receiving?

Currently reporting is not available. However, soon you will be able to see how many +1s your search campaigns are getting on the Dimensions tab in AdWords.

Why can I not see +1 buttons on my ads?

Only signed-in Google users will see +1 buttons on ads and organic search results on Google.com in English. Also, +1 buttons are not available on Internet Explorer 7 and earlier versions of Internet Explorer.

The +1 Recommendation feature may be a play pegged on recent efforts by Bing to integrate social sharing in it search results. You can now roll over Bing search results and share web pages via Facebook, Twitter & Email. Social & Web 2.0 has fragmented the way we reach consumers and with the addition of mobile, this fragmentation will only increase in time.

More than ever the consumer is in control, how long before they will be deciding which Ads they are shown?