Display ads served through the Google Display Network will soon have little +1 buttons next to them.
That means that users will be able to recommend these ads to their friends on Google+, just like they can recommend search results and Web sites today.
Google is also taking recommendations into account when it serves ads. Whenever a user recommends an ad, it will have a greater chance of showing up when their friends visit a Web page served by the Google Display Network. (As Google puts it, “the Google Display Network gives ads that have been recommended an extra boost by including them in the auction for any page a friend visits.”)
Adding the +1 button to ads could be a great tool for advertisers — users are much less likely to ignore ads if their friends have recommended them.
It’s also a feature that that most other ad networks won’t easily be able to match, since they don’t have the kind of social networking product that Google now has with Google+.
However, Google spokesperson says that Google wants to extend the +1 buttons as broadly as possible, and will explore making it available to advertisers even if they don’t advertise through the Google Display Network.
That makes sense for Google: even if Google isn’t collecting money from these advertisers, at least it can collect data about how effective their ads are. That could help Google improve the relevance — and increase clickthroughs — for the ads it does sell.
Google will roll out the new product in early October, but announced it now to give users, advertisers, and publishers a chance to opt out before it launches.
Google surpassed Yahoo as the number-one display ad network earlier this year, with almost 15% market share, according to IDC. The company views display advertising as a huge opportunity, and reportedly has more than 1,000 employees working on it.
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