Facebook May Have the Numbers but Google+ May Get the Ads

Consumers are clearly intrigued by Google+. Following closely on their heels are companies, eager to tap what looks to be the next big trend in social media.

Indeed, companies are waiting with bated breath for more details about what Google+ means for them — that is, what advertising vehicles will be available.

With Google’s ad-targeting capabilities married to a new and successful social network, the potential for well-targeted ads is huge, said Steve Minichini, president of interactive at Target Cast advertising.

“Google has the ability to look at the user’s cookie as he or she sign up, look at the search, look at the consumer’s preferences on the profile, and then tell a pretty incredible story about that person to a marketer,” he told the E-Commerce Times.

Heavenly Prospects

The result could be something akin to advertising bliss, Aaron Shapiro, CEO of Huge, told the E-Commerce Times.

“When Google+ combines with Google search advertising, Google can offer advertising nirvana: ads based on both user intent — that is, search — and user segmentation, or social,” he explained.

Google, for its part, is clearly already thinking along these lines, said Minichini, although the company has not issued any formal announcements about its plans.

Consumers who join Google+ are greeted with a sign-in page that informs them that Google may use their information to personalize content and ads on non-Google websites, Minichini noted.

What this means is that Google can serve up even better-targeted digital ads not only in Google+, but throughout the Google Content Network.

Social + Google

Even though it has been feeling the sting of being so late to social, it’s clear that Google has been the beneficiary of Facebook’s experience.

Google has a huge history in advertising, and with the advantage of learning from what Facebook has done with its advertising platform, Google+ could bring Google to a whole new level, said Addie Conner, Social Code’s vice president of advertising.

“Over the years, Facebook has amassed an amazing database of over 750 million user profiles — containing both demographic, behavioral and interest- based data,” Conner told the E-Commerce Times. “This data has been exposed to advertisers to not only serve ads to relevant to user profiles, but also to understand their user base in a way that parallels a focus group or market research project.”

Google is great at aggregating user behaviors as they relate to websites and search, observed Conner, but what it has been lacking is the ability to really understand who those users are in order to target them based on their attributes.

In short, Google has been able to fulfill search-and-browsing user demand, but it has lacked the ability to create demand for brands, she said.

Now It’s Facebook’s Turn

With Google+ and its large display network, Google has an opportunity to effectively fulfill user demand as it relates to search, contextual browsing, behaviors and demographics, said Conner.

It also may have the chance to finally turn the tables on Facebook, she suggested. Facebook has struggled to solve how to move users down a funnel toward an end goal and attribute the action back.

“Google can have visibility all the way through,” Conner said. “This could be huge in terms of giving a fully transparent view that allows full value attribution on a user level and for realizing the full value of a user by serving them the right ads all the way down the funnel.”

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