19th September 2011
Google's head of social advertising Christian Oestlian told a conference in New York that Google will soon allow celebrities to register their endorsement of products associated with them.
Oestlian said: "Some advertisers use celebrity endorsement in their ads. This test extends the option of celebrity endorsement to online campaigns. We are always testing new ways to make our advertising more compelling to our users and advertisers."
Oestlian suggested for example that if users searched for the Kardashians family's Kollection then they would find out that Khloe Kardashians endorsed the department store Sears.
The move is just one part of Google's strategy to move into social networking with its Google + service to ward off the threat of sites such as Facebook and Twitter which have been taking an increasing share of time spent on the internet.
Here trade website New Media Age consider the wisdom of the move.
Will Cooper says: "The cynic in me thinks it's a move that could de-value a good ad. I know how hard agencies work at creating the perfect copy for AdWords – something that tells the story succinctly and draws the consumer in. How would they feel if that's then polluted by a big "yeah!" from a divisive personality such as Kerry Katona directly below?It's therefore the execution that matters, ensuring that the right celebrities are pledging their support in front of the right eyeballs."
Cooper then goes on to argue that Google+ should make the celebrity function, whatever form it takes. an opt in.
PC Magazine is similarly sceptical.
David Murphy writes that "before everyone gets all worked up over Lady Gaga liking this, or Conan O'Brien endorsing that, we should note that the program only appears to affect the paid advertising that appears on Google's results page.
"According to Search Engine Land's Matt McGee, these sponsored links can have a celebrity specifically tagged as endorsing a particular piece of advertising."
PC Magazine also notes that details are sketchy and that only a small number of celebrities are taking part so far.
But it is the Daily Mail's headline that will be the sort Google doesn't want to see.
"The Kardashianss invade your Google searches."
The Mail's report focuses on who is going to be making the money. It continues: "The idea is that stars will ensure they are linked to with the products that pay their bills, Google earns money – and internet users are steered clear of 'fake' products. The new service is part of Google's new Google Plus social network, where users can add a '+1' to pages they like – similar to Facebook's 'Like' button. Here, though, it will be used for stars to '+1' the pages that pay their wages."
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