June 13, 2012, 3:45 PM — Google may soon bring business-to-business "social ads" to its Google+ social networking platform, according to a recent job listing for a product marketing manager for social ads launch marketing.
Google+ does not currently include any advertising. The company does deliver personalized advertising to users across its properties. Social advertising, however, generally refers to ads that are served to users based on their social contacts' activities on Google+.
Google will apparently first look to introduce the B2B "social features to businesses worldwide," according to the posted job description. The marketing manager will also help determine how Google will talk about the advertising at launch, focusing on "core features," "social ads" and "analytics and platforms," the job listing indicates.
Daina Middleton, global CEO of the digital marketing firm Performics, said that even B2B businesses are struggling with their conventional sales models and are increasingly turning to "social tools."
It's not clear exactly how B2B social advertising would work, and Google did not immediately respond to a request for comment. But industry insiders suggested it would be similar to business-to-consumer marketing. Martine Hunter, creative director at MLT Creative, suggested it might consist of having people who do purchasing professionally give a "plus one" to particular brands on Google+, essentially recommending them.
Greg Sterling, principal analyst at Sterling Market Intelligence and a blogger on Search Engine Land, suggested that the ads would likely look much like the consumer-facing social ads on Facebook. For example, they might highlight brands that have a certain number of followers, he said. But they would target users who make business purchasing decisions.
It remains unclear whether the social advertising would be served exclusively to users on the Google+ platform or whether users might see them on other Google properties or even across the Web. Google describes its social network as a "social spine" for all of its products, rather than a destination website like competitor Facebook.
Last month, changes to Facebook's data use policy triggered speculation that the company will begin delivering targeted social ads beyond the limits of its own platform.
Cameron Scott covers search, web services and privacy for The IDG News Service. Follow Cameron on Twitter at CScott_IDG.