With all the hype about Facebook’s F8 conference dominating social media news this week, Google+, the search giant’s social network, has quietly been rolling out new features designed to appeal to advertisers and publishers. Starting next month, the “+1 button” will appear on display ads within the Google (NSDQ: GOOG) Display Network. Still, given that Google has only just opened its social network to the wider public, there’s a chance that it may be starting the integration of its advertising side and its social media side too soon.
Given that most of the beta testers of Google+ have tended to appreciate the ability of carefully compartmentalizing what they see and who sees them, the angst of being inundated with advertising might not be as great.
Plus, Facebook has already gotten most social network denizens used to advertising. But it’s remained pretty cautious. As Carolyn Everson, Facebook’s global VP of marketing solutions, told our Staci D. Kramer at last week’s paidContent Advertising conference, regarding the work its doing with marketers, “we haven’t really scratched the surface with them at Facebook.” The expectation is, with all the new media services Facebook will be unveiling today, that advertising will be much more prominent.
One area where Facebook has avoided advertising with its mobile offerings, which is used by some 300 million Facebook members.
As Google rolls out its social ads for AdSense, mobile will be a major part of the program. The +1 button will begin to appear on AdSense for content and AdSense for mobile content display ad formats automatically, though marketers will be able to opt out if they’re worried about ticking consumers off. (More details about the AdSense for Google+ in this Google blog post.)
In any case, AdSense for Google+’s proposition is this: with a click, users will be able to endorse specific ads and make them more likely to appear to their social connections.
Of course, that depends on how relevant the ads are; many Facebook users continue to complain about poorly targeted ads. In the meantime, Twitter is now testing users’ interest for seeing ads in their feed with new political campaign ads as part of its “Promoted Tweets” suite of products.
Overall, social media advertising is still problematic, but spending is rising significantly. Facebook and Google are taking a more dominant position in driving display spending, as portals’ growth has retreated.
Facebook’s advertising revenues are projected to rise 104 percent to $3.8 billion worldwide, eMarketer said this week. Meanwhile, the overall display marketplace in the U.S. is expected to be $12.33 billion this year and $14.82 billion in 2012. Facebook will have a 16.3 percent share of the U.S. display market in 2011, according to eMarketer, which noted that behind it are Yahoo (NSDQ: YHOO) at 13.1 percent, Google at 9.3 percent, MSN at 4.9 percent, and AOL (NYSE: AOL) at 4.2 percent.