Google's frequently maligned social network has flipped the switch on advertising in the form of promoted posts that can be displayed across Mountain View's vast internet real estate.

Announced in a Google+ post by product manager Eran Arkin, Google has begun testing a new program cleverly converts content from branded pages into full-fledged display ads with only a few clicks.

+Post ads can include Google+ photos, videos or even a Hangout, allowing brand advertisers to "think of the entire web as their social stream," including more than two million sites in the Google Display Network.

The initiative is launching with a select group of retailers including Toyota, Ritz crackers and Cadbury UK, which are reportedly already seeing results 50% higher than the industry average for rich media adverts.

Here's how Toyota is using the +Post ads:

Conversation starters

One benefit over traditional advertising is that +Post ads allow consumers to engage in conversations with advertisers, leave comments or questions and even reshare videos with friends.

As always, it's still up to the advertisers to create an effective message consumers will be willing to help share - all Google is doing is providing the framework to make that happen.

Google plans to collect feedback from users and brands over the next few months, during which time Google+ will also open up +Post ads to additional advertisers - like it or not.

Via TechCrunch