Google today took the wraps off +Post ads, a new ad format that lets brands take content from their public Google+ pages and run them on any site using Google’s ad network.
Unlike typical display ads, Google’s new ads are built to be social, meaning that people can click and comment on them like native Google+ content.
Google says the idea behind the ads, which won’t run on Google+ itself, is to display content to people when it’s most relevant. So Google isn’t breaking new ground there.
Still, for early partners like Toyota and Ritz Crackers, the +Post ads check all the boxes: Not only do they give content greater reach, but Google says they also make said content feel more conversational and human.
They’re also particularly great advertisements for Google+ itself.
Think about it like this: By putting brands’ Google+ content in front of more eyeballs, Google is also putting Google+ in front of more eyeballs. It’s a win for both sides, at least in theory. And it’s the sort of thing that Google+ sorely needs.
Since introducing Google+ two years ago, Google has struggled to get its users to adopt the social network in any significant way. Google said in October that more than 540 million users engage with Google+ across all of Google’s properties each month, though the company has been vague about what it means by “engagement.”
For a company that tends to dominate just about every vertical it tries its hand at, Google’s Google+ struggles are tough to ignore.
This, in the end, is why the new +Post ads feel premature. If Google really wants to make Google+ a useful platform for brands, it first has to give people a reason to use Google+.