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Google+ recently added communities, matching Facebook groups as a feature.
And in September we learned that Google+ now has 100 million monthly active users (MAU). That likely puts it ahead of LinkedIn (only estimates available). Twitter recently crossed the 200 million MAU mark and Facebook is over 1 billion MAU.
All signs point to Google+ putting more and more of the pieces in place that they need to become a respectable social network. Meaning, they are now competing with the largest social networks in the world with both features and user numbers.
And soon, another important feature will be added, Google+ ads.
Digital agency Virante shared the above screen shot from the Google Adwords website. In the image, Google is promoting ads for your Google+ Page “Get customers to your Google+ Page.”
You can currently create ads to promote your Twitter account or your Facebook page. You can even put ads on LinkedIn. And it looks like soon, you will be able to use Google Adwords Express to promote your local business on Google+.
Adwords Express is an easier to use version of Google’s search ads targeted for small businesses.
How Google+ Page Ads Are Different
One important difference when compared Facebook ads is that these new Google+ ads look like they will only live outside of Google+.
These ads will exist where Google search ads already exist, in Google search and Google maps. And the key here is they will be shown to people looking for your business. Google search ads are effective because there is intent, we search when we are looking to answer a question. When your business is the answer to a question, revenue follows.
In marketing speak, Facebook ads are better at middle of the funnel efforts, while Google ads are better at bottom of the funnel efforts.
These new ads are targeted for small businesses, advertising locally. That is what the Adwords Express product is for. So this may be a bigger deal for Yelp, as a Google Local competitor, than Facebook. Either way, it is a new way for businesses to think about advertising their business, and social networking profiles.
Update Dec. 20, 2012: This little widget which says “Advertise your Google+ page” showed up on on the Social Fresh G+ page today in the sidebar. Unfortunately when you click through, you get a broken ad options screen still.
Broken ad options page: