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Social Extensions: Give Your Google AdWords Ads A Touch Of Social!

Have you been in Google+ lately?  Maybe, maybe not, but you probably have seen +1 buttons popping up everywhere as Google attempts to expand its social network branding beyond just its Google+ pages.  So how does this affect you as a merchant, you ask?

Mid-2011, Google released AdWords Social Extensions – a new way for Google users to promote the products and businesses that they like to their friends and everyone in the Googlesphere. Think of this extension as a social media button for your AdWords ads. When Social Extensions are activated in your AdWords campaigns, Google displays a +1 button next to your ad along with the total number of +1s you’ve received across its network. To merchants with AdWords campaigns, these +1s can be the difference between getting the click and being just another text ad on the fringes of Google SERPs.

Though Google+ is not as widely used as other social networking sites (say, Facebook), it’s still a large avenue for traffic and should not be overlooked. Plus, Google makes it easy to get started and even offers boosts to businesses involved in the Google network. So what are you waiting for?

Where & How Google AdWords Social Extensions Display

Social Extensions are shown across both the Display and Search Network and attach three new elements to your AdWords Ads. In the upper right hand corner, Google adds a +1 button so that users can easily recommend your website. At the bottom of your ads, Google displays a link to your G+ page and the total number of the +1s you’ve collected across its network, including those you’ve received from Google+ itself, your website, and Search and Display ads.

An example of a Google AdWords Social Extension

The Cost of Social Extensions

Google AdWords Social Extensions (like its other nifty brethren) can be added to your AdWords campaign at no additional cost. Clicks that lead to your website are charged a standard CPC, and clicks on the +1 notation, or anywhere on your ad that leads to your G+ page, are freebies- courtesy of Google.

The Benefits of Social Extensions

Like Google’s Seller Ratings Extensions, Social Extensions can pack a huge punch on search engine results pages.

From the Google search engine perspective, Social Extensions signal relevance. Integrating your different accounts shows Google that your business exists, you’re legitimate, and that you’re in it to win it. In addition, getting involved in Google’s social network increases your visibility in its engines, which, in turn, boosts the strength of your AdWords campaigns and Google+ business page.

From a human perspective, Social Extensions make your ads pop in all sorts of ways. They make your standard three lines of text visually appealing, and create new layers of interactivity and user engagement – all within your little box of real estate on Google SERPs.

From a social media perspective, positive social signals can mean a world of difference in your advertising campaigns. An experiment by Google shows that ads with the +1 annotation yielded 5-10% higher CTRs than those without. Plus-Ones show that users are fans your business or product, and if a +1 by a friend isn’t the most influential and powerful signal of endorsement on Google, I don’t know what is.

How to Set Up Social Extensions in Google AdWords

Before you can activate Social Extensions in your AdWords campaign, you must link your Google+ page to your website. To do this:

  1. Enter your homepage’s URL in the “About” section of your Google+ business page
  2. Follow the instructions to either
    • Request permission from your webmaster to link your website to Google+
    • Add a G+ link/button and a snippet of code to your homepage
  3. Hit “Test Website” to make sure the two are linked correctly
  4. For additional support regarding linking your two pages, see Google’s G+ tutorial
A screenshot of the second step in setting up Google AdWords Social Extensions

After your Google+ account and website are linked,

1. Navigate to the Ad Extensions tab in your AdWords campaign
2. Expand the Extensions menu and select Social Extensions
3. Click the +New Extension button
4. Input your Google+ page’s URL
5. Hit Save

A screenshot of the first step in setting up Google AdWords Social Extensions

And that’s that! Check back soon to learn how you can use Product Extensions to highlight products in your AdWords ads!

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This entry is part of a series on Google AdWords Ad Extensions. Be sure to check out the rest!
Google Location Extensions: Become a Local Search Powerhouse
Capture More Conversions with Google Call Extensions
Sitelinks Extensions – Get More Bang for your Advertising Buck!
Google AdWords Seller Ratings Extensions: Get Endorsed by your Customers!

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