October 12, 2011, 1:27 PM

Google’s +1 button appears on display ads

The button enables consumers to recommend an ad’s landing page to his friends and contacts.

Zak Stambor

Managing Editor

Lead Photo

Google Inc.’s +1 button has begun appearing on some ads in the Google Display Network.

The button, regardless of whether it appears on an ad, search results or a web site, lets a consumer influence the search results her friends see on Google, including promoting products she likes. The button has appeared in AdWords ads since May.

Expanding the button to more ads aims to encourage consumers to share what they like or to recommend a particularly relevant ad to friends. “Incorporating personal recommendations into display ads has the potential to change the way people view advertising,” Dan Friedman, AdWords product marketing manager, wrote in a blog post. “A display ad becomes much more powerful when people can see which of their friends and contacts have chosen to endorse it.”

In a separate blog post Google highlighted the utility of the +1 button on ads by focusing on a consumer it refers to as Elaine, who sees an ad for discount flights. She +1’s the ad because she thinks her friends might like to see similar offers. When Elaine’s friends and contacts are logged into Google and see the discount flight ad on any of the millions of Google Display Network web sites, they’ll see Elaine’s picture across the bottom of the ad with a note saying she +1’d it. “Elaine’s friends and contacts will also be more likely to see the ad,” wrote Eider Oliveira, senior software engineer. “Because a recommendation from a friend is such a strong signal of relevance, the Google Display Network gives ads that have been recommended an extra boost by including them in the auction for any page a friend visits.”

Since the button’s launch earlier this year Google has been trying to bolster the prominence of +1 by working with consumer reviews platform vendors Bazaarvoice Inc. and PowerReviews Inc. to make it easy for e-retailers to add the Google +1 buttons to their product pages and integrating the button into its Google+ social network.

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