Timing is everything. At any given moment, there is someone interested in your brand, but one of the biggest challenges you face is reaching those people at the right moment. Last December, Google introduced +Post ads to a limited number of advertisers as a way to amplify content. The ad unit turns your Google+ content — such as photos or videos — into display ads that can run across the Google Display Network.

+Post ads were previously only available to a select group of advertisers, but yesterday Google announced that the ad unit is now available to all Google+ Pages with at least 1,000 followers. What sets +Post Ads apart from ad options on other social platforms is that they reach the entire web, not just your network. Before you dive in, let’s take a closer look at Google’s social ads.

What Are +Post Ads?

With +Post ads, you can turn your Google+ content into ads through Google’s AdSense program. Any post you promote from your Google+ Page can receive additional traffic from other places on the web, as well as engagement. People can leave comments, follow your brand, give a +1, or join a Hangout right from the ad, which expands in a lightbox to full screen.

That engagement can continue even after your campaign ends, as people are able to discover your posts on Search and Google+. But before you can create a +Post Ad, you must first make sure you meet the following requirements: your Google+ Page has at least 1,000 followers, your post should contain content that’s relevant to your audience, and you’ve opted in to shared endorsements for Google+ Pages.

+Post Ads in Action

For the launch of the 2014 Corolla, Toyota USA wanted to target a younger audience by promoting its Google+ content with +Post ads. For this campaign, the brand saw a 50 percent higher engagement rate than the industry average for rich media ads.

Similarly the European Parliament worked with Ogilvy Brussels to run a campaign in 11 countries encouraging Europeans to cast their votes in the upcoming EU elections. Using easy-to-create +Post ads, the brand saw engagement rates that were 50 to 100 percent higher, and at a lower cost-per-engagement, than previous campaigns.

Getting Started With +Post Ads

As you create your +Post ads, here are a few best practices to keep in mind. First, remember that space is limited, so make the first few words of the organic post actionable — for example, “watch now,” “join us,” and so on. You should also preview your ads to ensure that the text appears as you’ve planned. Regardless of which ad format you choose, you can use any image and Google will resize and crop it automatically.

Make sure that you use high-resolution images that are relevant to your company, product, or service. This will help to create a visually interesting experience once your ad is expanded in a lightbox. Although there aren’t any strict rules to enforce, Google recommends that you keep text overlays on images at a minimum. And finally, be sure to monitor your posts and comments to avoid improper comment from appearing in your ad.

In addition to the expansion of +Post ads, Google also introduced two additional features to help you create compelling experiences and extend the reach of your social content. First up is promoted Hangouts on Air, which lets people take specific actions before, during, and after the broadcast. Additionally, you can now automatically promote your most recent Google+ post and pay only when people engage with your content. You can learn more about these features and +Post ads by visiting the Google+ for brands site.

[Image credit: Eric Skiff, CollegeDegrees360]