In January, we looked closely at what Google +Post Ads are and how you can create your own. Designed to amplify your existing Google+ content, the ad unit uses posts that have already been published and are living on your Google+ Page. For this reason, it’s important that the posts you’re creating are notable and noticeable.
Here are several ways you can optimize your content for +Post Ads and get the most out of your Google+ posts.
1. Make Text Stand Out
Visual content is taking over social streams, but that doesn’t mean you’ll never publish a text-based update again, especially on Google+ where long-form updates are welcome. Even if you’re attaching a piece of media to your Google+ post, adding some variety to your text will help certain parts of your message stand out.
Use traditional formatting techniques to differentiate and break up text.
In the example below I used all three formatting options to draw more attention to specific parts of my post. This is noteworthy for two reasons:
- Unlike Twitter and Facebook, embedded media appears below associated text rather than above it. Your written message on Google+ gets the prime real estate.
- When sharing a link, previews don’t always include a summary, forcing you to add some context around the URL you’re sharing. Use formatting techniques to break up blocks of text so viewers don’t gloss over your content.
Calls-to-Action and Ledes
In addition to formatting, you’ll want to pay extra attention to the first sentence of your post. Space is limited and only some text will be displayed in your ad. The full copy in your post will show in the expanded lightbox once someone engages with the ad. Because of this, try to hook viewers immediately so they’ll want to engage further. Make the first few words of your post actionable with phrases like “Watch now,” “Join us,” or “Check out.”
Another reason you’ll want to pay close attention to this sentence is because it will appear as the post’s title in Google Search results. While this won’t impact your +Post Ad, it’s worth being mindful of since the original post will continue to drive people back to your Google+ Page. The ideal character count for Google+ posts is 60. Carefully craft your headline and try to include a keyword you’d like to rank for.
2. Include Media Whenever Possible
Visual content is processed faster by the human brain, making it an effective way to communicate your message.
+Post Ads are displayed across Google’s network and a compelling photo can directly impact your click-through rate. Command attention with high-resolution, vibrant images that are relevant to your message. It’s recommended that you avoid stock photography and focus rather on images with bright, eye-catching colors.
You can also use Auto Awesome to add fun special effects, like falling snow or GIF animations to your photos. GIF files are supported in +Post Ads and will run for 30 seconds in a static banner. You can use animations to add some creativity to data sets:
Or animations can help build suspense and encourage conversations around something specific:
+Post Ad formats are available in a variety of sizes, but you can upload any image and Google will automatically resize and crop it to fit. For the 300×250 unit specifically, it’s recommended that you use an image with an aspect ratio of 16:9. You’ll also want to limit text overlays and make sure that no text is along the top and bottom 5 percent of the image because it might get truncated in some of the formats.
In addition to photos, any YouTube video you post on Google+ can be turned into a +Post Ad. It’s recommended that you use a custom thumbnail image during the YouTube video upload process to make the static banner ad more compelling. Adding a video to your post not only adds variety, but it opens up more opportunity for engagement outside of YouTube and Google+.
3. Add Extras to Promote Engagement
A quick and easy way to engage viewers is with a question. Last October, Google+ gave Pages the ability to create and share polls on the social network. Polls are a visually engaging way to gauge opinions around topics that interest your brand. Not only that, but they incite conversations and provide insight into your customers.
Now you can extend the reach of your polls to your target audience on the Google Display Network inside a +Post Ad. Just publish your Google+ post as you normally would, then go to AdWords, create a new engagement campaign, and select the poll you’ve added to turn it into an ad.
Another way to prolong engagement is by showcasing more of your content within +Post Ads. According to Google, you’ll soon be able to add your brand’s related posts to the ad unit when the lightbox is expanded — as seen in the screenshot below. You’ll also be able to filter the related posts by hashtag, so there’s potential here to promote an entire content series. In testing, the company found that related posts increased ad engagement rates by 6.47 percent.
Posts that you choose to highlight as a +Post Ad should align with your editorial calendar and overall business goals. By applying these optimization techniques early on, any post that you publish is ad-ready. Keep in mind that even if you aren’t planning on turning each of your posts into ads, these tips can still help your content stand out on Google+.
Jennifer Beese: Jennifer Beese has worked as a community manager and social media strategist. When she’s not writing, you can find her studying anatomy and physiology—she literally has a skeleton in her closet—or under the stars with her telescope.