UPDATE 20 December 2012: The advertising option previewed in this post is now active and available to selected US Google+ brand pages in the US, according to this post by Google staffer Christen Oestlien.

Google+ user Michelle Marie noticed the following tiny “ad” in the right column of her Google+ Page’s profile:

advertise-google-plus

Which led to the following page on the Google AdWords site:

google plus ads

The feature is not yet active; clicking the “Start now” button takes her to a 404 page. But it looks like Google is intending to offer the opportunity?This feature is now rolling out for Google+ Page owners to advertise their pages via AdWords Express (and one might assume eventually through regular AdWords as well, for those who have managed AdWords accounts).

If this becomes active, it will be?This is the first time Google+ Page owners have been able to pay to promote their Pages. Facebook Page owners have had several options to pay for Page promotion for some time now.

Google+ Has the Better Page Promotion Model

I think this is a brilliant model for page promotion, and I believe that it will ultimately succeed better than Facebook‘s model. Here’s why.

In all of Facebook’s “pay to promote” schemes, the promos are placed inside the social network itself. So they are interruptive advertising. They interrupt the flow of what the user is reading their News Feed for. Social network users are not on those networks looking for new opportunities or brands. They are there to share with friends and family and be entertained. The least innocuous of Facebook’s paid promotions is the Promoted Post, which allows Page owners to pay to have a post seen by more of their followers. But the fail there is you’re paying not to find new fans, but to simply get your message to people who already opted in to saying they wanted to get your messages.

The plan that Google seems poised to launch ?has now launched is very different from Facebook’s.

Google won’t be placing the promotions within Google+ itself, but in its already existing ad networks. These ads will appear with other AdWords ads in Google search, maps, and other Google properties. Best of all, they will?only appear to people who are already intentionally searching for what the page has to offer.

That’s the way AdWords ads work. Advertisers bid on keywords that describe the types of searches that people would make who might be looking for their product or service. So Google ads reach people at their?moment of intent, when they?want to buy what you’re selling.

So Google’s ads for Google+ pages will be both less intrusive?and at the same time more effective.

I’ve said from the beginning that one of the things people will slowly wake up to that will make Google+ stand out from other social networks is the absence of ads. And I could say that with confidence, and believe it will continue for the foreseeable future, because of the way Google+ has been built. Because of its tight integration into all things Google, Google doesn’t need to show ads on Google+.

And now they’ll be giving Page owners a way to expand the reach of their Pages without annoying their existing fans. I call that a real Plus.

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