I know what you are thinking, this is nothing new. While it is true that Facebook has given users the capability to “like” ads for some time this has only been an on-site feature. Google+ changed that when it was announced that Google would now been adding +1 buttons to display advertising. This is a really interesting idea as it flips the idea of social media advertising from sites hosting ads to ads that host social media capabilities. The real question, however, is how this will affect search engine marketing and PPC?
Since these ads don’t premiere until October it is as of right now impossible to answer that question. But as with all forms of online advertising it really depends on the user. People will be able to opt-out of this service which means that Google won’t need to waste time on consumers who won’t +1 an ad under any circumstances. Making this feature optional also goes towards these ads feeling less intrusive (pictures of people’s connections will be placed on the ad if they have +1’d it) unlike LinkedIn’s unsuccessful foray into personalized advertising (https://www.insegment.com/blog/2011/08/linkedin-gets-a-little-too-personal/) which had members crying foul.
Google+ also became public today and this only adds to the argument that +1s on display advertising will be successful. Up until this point Google+ has been invitation only meaning that conceivably not everyone who wanted to be a part of this community could. This means that Google+ could potentially explode in popularity and, as Facebook has proven, the more people you have the more money you can make through advertising.
As long as Google remains transparent about the +1 integration into display ads I think that this could prove a profitable venture. The current number of Google+ users is still dwarfed by Facebook’s 750 million users. This is still a new site so it seems that people are waiting to make a full transition over from Facebook or their other social networks. If Google wants this +1 display advertising function to be successful they first need to attract more people.