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If you haven’t been keeping up-to-date on recent developments from Google+, you may be excited to learn there have been a handful of interesting updates from the Google+ team of late.

In spite of Google’s recent changes and management shakeups — Vic Gundotra has left and Google will stop considering G+ as a product, but rather a platform — the social network has new photo sharing and advertising features that should not be ignored by brand marketers.

G+IconHere’s why:

First, you can now send Google+ photos to Gmail with one click, which is incredibly useful — especially if you are already using Google+  to store photos in the cloud. The Google+ photo albums received a huge overhaul last year and with the inclusion of this new feature, it is definitely worth vetting the option of storing your photos here rather than in iCloud or Facebook, for instance, as the functionality of Google+ photo storage trumps its competitors easily.

This can potentially be a boon for marketers who are already shifting their social media focus to include the brand’s Google+ account, especially if they are sharing a lot of images as part of that strategy.

The photo functionality also includes what’s called an “Auto Awesome” feature which can detect photos taken in quick succession and create animated gifs accordingly. This is a great way to generate visual content without much legwork. The “Auto Awesome” feature can also remove blurriness or add additional effects like twinkling lights. Finally, Google+ categorizes photos better than other platforms and applies no limits on the number or size of photos you store, making this a legitimate, scalable option.

The real exciting development for marketers is that google recently expanded its test of +Post ads, which allows brands to turn Google+ content into display ads. The social network is piloting two new features: promoted Hangouts on Air and automatic post promotion. This is potentially a huge opportunity for marketers as the importance of Google+ continues to grow and marketers search for best practices in leveraging this platform.

So what does this mean for your brand?

If you’ve been ignoring the litany of articles stating that 2014 is the year of Google+, change your mind. It is time to start building your presence on this network and if you already have one, it’s time to start leveraging that presence in more creative ways. In order to take advantage of +Post ads, Google has three requirements:

  • You have a Google+ page with at least 1,000 followers.
  • You are using a post that contains content relevant to your audience.
  • You have opted in to shared endorsements for Google+ pages.

The automatic post promotion feature means brands can promote their most recent Google+ post, while only paying when users engage with their content. Promoting a “Hangout on Air” to a +Post ad gives users the option to RSVP prior, watch the Hangout live or watch a recording after the event.

The posts that are converted into ads can be status updates, photos, videos, Hangouts or Hangouts on Air, giving brands new avenues to advertise themselves. Meanwhile, the users do not need to see ads on the social network the way they do on Facebook, for instance.

Ultimately, this is an opportunity for brands to pay only for effective advertising and reach a targeted audience with specific, great content. Start saving and sharing photos through Google+, build your base of followers and start leveraging the advertising opportunities afforded by +Post ads. If you’ve been waiting for a signal that it’s time to focus on Google+, this is it.

By Fernando Cuscuela, CEO & Co-Founder of Everypost

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