Google +1Google took another step into social media with the launch of +1, a new feature that allows users to share & view opinions of webpages. Google previously tested the social media waters with Orkut, Buzz and other initiatives, but with little success. However, this concept is very similar to Facebook’s Like button which has been wildly successful. There are many topics that can be explored based on this new feature, but I am going to focus on some potential pay-per-click (PPC) advertising implications.

Per Google’s blog on +1, “to recommend something, all you have to do is click +1 on a webpage or ad you find useful. These +1’s will then start appearing in Google’s search results… Say, for example, you’re planning a winter trip to Tahoe, Calif. When you do a search, you may now see a +1 from your slalom-skiing aunt next to the result for a lodge in the area. Or if you’re looking for a new pasta recipe, we’ll show you +1’s from your culinary genius college roommate. And even if none of your friends are baristas or caffeine addicts, we may still show you how many people across the web have +1’d your local coffee shop.”

From an advertiser’s perspective, it certainly appears that it would be a benefit to have people recommend their website and have the +1 displayed next to their ads.  A light +1 actually appears next to all ads and results, but the ones that have been +1’d appear in a dark blue, drawing more attention. It will be interesting to see how this social media experiment evolves. This foray into social media has my attention because of its potential impact on PPC. Below are some Google AdWords related questions, and the answers we received directly from Google.

Will the +1 button affect my clickthrough rate (CTR) or conversion rates?

Each campaign performs differently, so we can’t predict how your clickthrough rate will change for individual campaigns. However, we believe that including the +1 button on ads will increase the overall CTR of campaigns as personalized annotations increase user engagement.

Will the +1 button impact how you determine quality score?

No, this does not change how we determine your ad’s relevance of quality. As always, we look at your ad’s performance relative to that of other ads for the same query, position, and UI treatment.

Should I change my ads or landing pages?

No, there is no need to change the copy or landing pages of your campaigns. We’re adding +1 buttons to ads and search results on Google.com in English. Simple, compelling ads directing to a relevant landing page will continue to perform best.

Where can I see how many +1s my ads are receiving?

Currently reporting is not available. However, soon you will be able to see how many +1s your search campaigns are getting on the Dimensions tab in AdWords.

Why can I not see +1 buttons on my ads?

Only signed-in Google users will see +1 buttons on ads and organic search results on Google.com in English. Also, +1 buttons are not available on Internet Explorer 7 and earlier versions of Internet Explorer.

While Google has been increasingly incorporating social media elements into search over the years, +1 integration appears to be a giant step closer towards achieving meaningful social media/ search integration. Google continues to evolve and social media is proving to have an important role in its development. The +1 feature is rolling out slowly, but keep your eyes posted as you will likely see it soon. If you can’t wait to start seeing +1’s,  you can opt-in to the launch by visiting their experimental search site.