Meanwhile, Google+ itself will still be ad-free. Up until now,
brands with a presence on the network have only had their organic
followings to distribute content to. (Toyota USA, for example, has
247,000 followers.) But the positioning of Google+ as a mechanism
to promote content more widely could be a hook for marketers to
invest more in their presence there.
If the function of Google+ is in part to be a place for
marketers to create content for their paid ads, it also makes the
lack of user engagement less relevant. Google reports that there
are 300 million monthly users accessing the Google+ content stream,
but it hasn't divulged daily usage.
While only public Google+ posts are eligible to be promoted on
the web, it will now be possible for users to see their likenesses
and comments packaged into social ads, which was
presaged in a disclosure by the search giant in October. The
setting that determines whether users' names and profile photos may
appear in the new ads is carried over from whether they had
previously authorized Google to personalize content and ads based
on their +1s.
For the vast majority who presumably have never gone that deeply
into their settings, the default is for their names and pictures to
appear in ads, though they can opt out in
their account settings.