Your friends may be the most effective pitchmen. In the last sign that technology firm are increasesingly deploying users’ data to boost ads, Google announced that it was changing its terms of service to allow the company to combine user’ posts, reviews and profile photos in advertisements beginning next month.
Here’s how it works a user searching Google for, say, a date night restaurant might see text ads promoting a local eatery along with a friend’s face and review on the firm’s social network, Google+. A whopping 87% of the search giant’s $50 billion in annual revenue comes from advertising, and Google is betting this information will make ads clickers
Rival face book has already found that pitching products with a friend’s endorsement a Like or positive post makes for more power full ads, which accounted for most of social network’s $5 million in revenue last year.
Research firm eMarketer estimates that the so called social-ad business will be worth $9.5 billion in U.S. sales this year.
But it can be a risky business. In August, a judge approved Face book’s settlement of a class action suit over employing users in ads, and the company agreed to give them control over when they’re drafted to promote a product. “They’re still walking a tightrope, explains consultant Jake Wenggroff of firms trying such ads. The practice, he says can alienate users and open companies to privacy suits. Still, given the potential profits be a risk worth taking. Here’s a look at what companies are trying.