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Google has announced a further move towards social graph search. The internet giant revealed its latest “shared endorsement” feature, which will utilise user names and profile pictures of Google+ users in adverts, thus being very similar to Facebook’s Sponsored Stories (TheDrum) .

The tech veteran said the endorsements would range from Google Play store recommendations to adverts for restaurants,.

Facebook scraps sponsored stories

The announcement came as a surprise, especially against the background that Facebook has just announced it will shut down its controversial ad format – Sponsored Stories – on 9 April. The reason behind Facebook axing the feature were privacy concerns and compensation claims by its users.

Social context

However, despite the concerns by Facebook about sponsored stories, the usage of social is a accepted by marketers. Especially in a tourism context social endorsements can ad a unique value to the promotion of a product. Given the intangible and experience driven nature of travel services, as well as the high involvement with which consumers choose travel products, personalised endorsements provide an addition that might push customers towards the tipping point of conversion.

Privacy

Nevertheless, privacy concerns by consumers must not be ignored. Not only that it reflects badly on the platform provider (e.g. Google, Facebook), but it also runs the risk of compromising the brand carrying out the advertising.

Having learned form Facebook’s mistakes, Google stated that users did have an opt-out option in their account settings. Following the company users should not “worry, your account’s privacy settings are not affected,” the statement continued. “You get to decide whether you want your name and photo included in shared endorsements that appear in ads through the Shared Endorsements setting. And for users under 18, their actions won’t appear in Shared Endorsements in ads and certain other contexts.”

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