Talking tech since 2003

When Google announced that their AdSense service, the ad platform used by thousands of advertisers and implemented on countless websites throughout the Internet, was going to add the +1 button for social recommendations on advertisements, I was initially very critical of the move.  Sure, Jeff had previously made a very good point when writing about the need to build social features into modern advertising on the Internet, but I myself was still very skeptical about the whole concept.  I mean, while I realize that online advertising is an important component that allows the Internet as we know it to exist, but I simply could not see how “social” advertising would take off and why any user would waste their time with socially built ads knowing that all they were doing was helping Google and its advertisers.

But after thinking about it a bit more, I have personally come to the conclusion that the +1 button in advertisements is going to be a killer feature.  Not only do I think that this new feature is going to pay off for Google, but in the long run I think that everyone will be able to benefit from this new feature, including Google’s advertisers and even end-users like you and me.

Now, first and foremost we have to realize that this move is going to mean great things for advertisers.  In advertising one of the most important things that needs to be considered for an advertising campaign to be successful is who exactly is meant to see an ad.  By making sure that the people who see an ad are the people who are actually likely to buy whatever the ad is selling, targeted advertising allows for the right people to see the right ad, and ultimately makes sure that a given company gets the type of customer that they’re looking for.  For example, it would make little sense for an ad for a skateboard store to show up on an article on wedding dresses, because the chances of a bride-to-be wanting to buy a skateboard are minimal at best.

And while Google already does a great job in terms of targeting ads to the appropriate consumer groups, the +1 implementation will bring aboard a whole new level of social elements that will give Google so much more insight into the people viewing the advertisements.  That said, because Google will have more insight their customers, advertisers will likely see a greater return on investment with their ad campaigns because of the technology and insight that Google’s advertising system will be able to harness.

Needless to say, Google stands to win big from this too, as their income from advertising is usually based on how many people click a given ad.  So if Google positions themselves to better the relevance of online ads shown to users, the chances of any given user clicking on an ad goes up substantially and so does Google’s ad-related revenue.

Of course, this also can mean good things for webmaster as well, because they too are based on clicks.

Last but not least, I think that +1 on ads will really mean good things for consumers like you and me.  As I said in the beginning of this article I was somewhat skeptical about how +1 buttons on advertisements would work with consumers.  If anything, it really just seemed like another button to clutter up webpages.

But that’s just it.  We as consumers tend to look at ads as clutter, and while it’s true that there are people who make money off of our seeing and clicking on advertisements, I think that we’ve stopped looking at the fact that ads are there to help consumers too. When it comes down to it, though, ads do have a purpose.

Just this week I saw an ad from a bank offering me a lower credit card interest rate than what I’m paying now.  So when I clicked that ad, I did indeed put money into the pockets of Google and the website the ad was shown on.  But in reality, I was introduced to a company that now stands to save me money.  So really, if better targeting advertising stands to introduce me to new deals based on my and my friends’ interests, I really am in favor of the socially based implementations that Google is rolling out.

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