As part of SMX Advanced Seattle, I attended a session entitled What Every Paid Search Marketer Needs to Know about Google +1. In the session, Daniel Dulitz from Google walked attendees through an overview of Google +1 and how it will impact PPC ads and organic listings.
What is +1?
Google introduced the +1 button on organic and paid listings in limited release earlier this year. And this month, it rolled out the +1 button for websites. This button allows people to recommend PPC ads, organic listings and websites – the latest attempt by Google to make the largest search engine more social. Similar to Bing’s integration of Facebook Likes, +1 allows you, when signed in to your Google account, to see when your friends and colleagues have recommended a particular website.
A few stats from Google -
90% of consumers online trust recommendations from people they know.
71% say reviews from family members or friends influence purchase decisions.
The PPC Details from Google
- All ads will be getting these buttons
- There’s no way for advertisers to turn them off
- Clicks on the +1 button next to ads do NOT count as a paid ad click
- Advertisers will be able to see stats about which ads are getting the most +1s – this should be available soon on the Dimensions tab in the AdWords UI, once ads have accrued +1s.
Impact on PPC
Google has designed the +1s so that they add up across channels. So, if your friend +1’s a website, you +1 their organic listing and your brother +1’s one of their PPC ads, all three +1s will be listed on the organic listing, with one caveat – Daniel said that +1s will be associated with the organic listing or ad’s final landing URL, so if you are using the same landing URL across multiple channels, you can accrue +1’s faster – meaning all the +1’s that happen, either on the page, the ad or the organic listing, would be aggregated. If you are not using the same pages, the numbers will not aggregate. This could be a problem for advertisers that use multiple marketing landers for their PPC ads, since many times this would not be the same page as a site’s organic listing. Adding the +1 button to all marketing landing pages and including the rel=canonical code to roll up your +1s to the page you want to rank organically for that particular term or bucket of keywords will help solve this problem.
Impact on Quality Score
Daniel also mentioned that +1s will not affect Quality Score directly at this point, though other speakers mentioned the probability is that +1s may increase an ad’s CTR, which, in turn, increases QS.
Impact on Advertisers
“The +1 button will help your fans spread their support of your business and its offerings to people who know and trust them.”
If, as expected, +1 adoption increases, the +1 recommendation could become a valuable barometer of an advertiser’s quality and popularity. Advertisers are now adding the +1 button to their site, hoping to tip the balance in their favor. Although the primary purpose of +1s is to show which of your friends and family have recommended a site, Google has indicated that occasionally they will also show the full number of +1s an ad or website has received. My guess is we will begin to see more of these overall +1 numbers as more websites add the +1 button.
All of this, of course, means nothing if no one decides to use +1. As with other Google ventures into the Social space, there is always the risk that, coming into the game so late, they can’t compete with the history and popularity of the established Social Networking sites. We’ll just have to wait and see.