The CMO's Guide to Google+

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If you are a CMO, you might consider the launch of Google+ Pages as just another issue for your community manager to worry about. And you might be right when it comes to the mechanics of setting up your company's Google+ Page. But we urge you to take a look at the big picture: by developing a social layer that consists of content-rich platforms such as Google Plus and YouTube Premium channels, Google is giving brands an opportunity to reach people across bought, earned, and owned media in ways never before possible.

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The CMO's Guide to Google+

  1. 1. ICROSSING POV: THE CMO’S GUIDE TO GOOGLE+ Written by: Alisa Leonard, Vice President, Strategy & Planning, iCrossing Tarah Feinberg, Head of Live Media Studio, iCrossing Sabeen Ahmad, Audience Manager, iCrossing If you are a CMO, you might consider the launch of Google+ Pages as just another issue for your community manager to worry about. And you might be right when it comes to the mechanics of setting up your companys Google+ Page. But we urge you to take a look at the big picture: by developing a social layer that consists of content-rich platforms such as Google Plus and YouTube Premium channels, Google is giving brands an opportunity to reach people across bought, earned, and owned media in ways never before possible. We believe that Google seeks to embed the Google+ social graph into almost every Google product (such as YouTube). As Nick Bilton of The New York Times has pointedly stated, “Google does not see Google+ as a separate product; to the company, Google+ is the product.” Google is facilitating a more fluid, personalized, user-centric web experience. Brands that participate within this ecosystem will likewise be able to create more personalized experiences for your audiences with your search marketing, the content you develop for platforms like YouTube, and the social interactions you have. Let’s dive a little deeper into what this means for marketers. KEY FEATURES OF GOOGLE+: SIMPLE, FOCUSED ENGAGEMENT For brands, Google+ Pages allow for greater interaction and integration with the 40 million plus already on the site, as well as the ability to connect that page with other touchpoints through the +1 Button. Some Key features: + Circles: people can now follow their favorite brands by placing them in the Circles of their choice. Likewise, brands can now customize their Page posts for specific audiences, using Circles to easily distribute content to the most appropriate subsets of their total followers. + Hangouts: video chats with up to 10 people (likely expanding to larger groups soon), providing a uniquely intimate and effective forum for community engagement and focus-group style learnings.© ICROSSING. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED. 1
  2. 2. ICROSSING POV: THE CMO’S GUIDE TO GOOGLE+ NOVEMBER 2011 + Huddle: text-based chats that allow brands to engage directly with their customers, in real-time, offering a valuable customer service and eCRM tool. + Direct Connect: people can easily find brands on Google+ by just adding a ‘+’ to the brand name in the Google+ search. Being led to a branded Google+ Page with curated content and a visible community following could be far more effective than being sent to a brand’s landing page when audience members are on the platform. OUTSIDE OF THE +PAGE: THE VALUE OF THE +1 BUTTON The relationship between Google+ and the +1 Button indicates that a consumers social graph could be connected with actions across natural search, paid media, Google’s other services (namely YouTube) and web content. At its core, as a search engine provider, Google’s search engine share hovers in the 65 percent range, easily surpassing Yahoo, Bing and others. Google has also quickly become a powerful player in other major arenas as well. Gmail seamlessly integrates with Google Calendar, Google Documents, Google Maps, YouTube and Picasa, blogs, and websites. Google’s Mobile platform Android continues to grow and overtake iPhone sales (43 percent to Apple’s 28 percent). Add the functionality of Google Analytics, with its traffic and behavioral measurement tools, and we have a company with more informative marketing data than any other in the world. As Google+ opens its doors to brands, each of these separate, but increasingly connected, platforms will each be informed by the information it derives from social mapping. This connectedness is made possible by the highly portable +1 Button, which will be able to collect the actions and social graph data across Google products and beyond, wherever a logged-in Google+ user interacts with that Button. This wide reach will be useful to marketers by allowing them to ascertain demographic data and micro- behaviors with pinpoint accuracy across bought, earned and owned media. Key factors: + As people enter their search queries in Google, the number of their friends following certain brands, or +1’ing specific content, will appear in their results. The inclination of people to join members of their social graph in following and engaging with brands has already largely been proven by Facebook; there’s no reason to believe that this will fail to transfer to Google+. + The +1 Button has been incorporated in display ads, which could greatly increase the chances of engagement by displaying members of a person’s social graph that have +1’d the ad. + YouTube has become the second largest search engine in the world, second only to Google itself. With the launch of YouTube premium content channels and Google+, brands have the opportunity to create highly compelling brand content, develop audiences, and drive incremental brand reach through community networks. It is likely that premium content channels on YouTube with high levels of social engagement will yield greater rank and visibility in both YouTube and Google search results. Imagine: + Bought and earned: a paid media program using +1 extends its reach by targeting the social graph of a person who +1’d an ad — and capture audiences in a social database (the +Page) for ongoing messaging and engagement beyond the paid campaign. + Amplified earned (search and social): all of the brand content and engagement shared through the +Page in turn creates visibility in natural search, “flooding the zone” of a search engine results page with all brand touch points — from site to social. + Earned and owned: a customer that +1s content (or a product) broadcasts a recommendation to friends, generating earned media impressions and word-of-mouth. Additionally, that customer may be asked to join the brand’s +Page circles (capture for CRM). Brand’s site content benefits from improved search visibility from social signals.© ICROSSING. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED. 2
  3. 3. ICROSSING POV: THE CMO’S GUIDE TO GOOGLE+ NOVEMBER 2011 Increasingly, Google will accumulate rich data on what content is published, and then shared, commented on, and engaged with. This accumulation of rich data creates concrete social data points to inform what information consumers see when they search for the topics or brands about which they care. KEY TAKEAWAYS + Search: Google is already indexing Google+ Pages. Thus content on the site influences search results for brands and their competitors. In addition, as searchers click on "+1" for content they see as a result of natural search results (including content found on brand websites), such content is elevated in the search results of their social graph. + Content: It is extremely likely that YouTube and other Google products’ content will be integrated with +Pages and the Google social graph, creating greater intimacy between brand content and engaged audiences. + Analytics: Google’s best-in-class Google Analytics will far surpass that of Facebook, in its depth and metrics across search, paid, social, and other popular services. Add to this wealth of information projects such as Google Wallet and Google TV. The integration of Google+ with all of Google’s other products is one that brands cannot afford to ignore. To effectively use Google+, marketers should remember the 3Cs: + Content: Frequently publish quality content on key Google platforms that is valuable to and desirable by your audience. + Community: Build real relationships with your audience – doing so affects brand engagement and how content spreads across the web, including how visible content becomes in search. + Customization: +Pages allow a great deal more creative expression of the brand identity than other platforms, like Facebook and Twitter, as well as deeply focused brand engagement with specific audiences, due to Circles. GETTING STARTED Marketers can get started on Google+ by doing the following: + Assess your current social media programs. Are your current efforts centered on content and proper engagement techniques? Are your current social programs considering search and paid media implications? + Test and learn. + Develop Google+ best practices and governance for your marketing organization. + To enhance digital marketing performance and ROI, develop a comprehensive content strategy focused on the integration of content, social connectivity and search visibility. iCrossing launched our own Google+ Page here. We look forward to learning more about you and sharing more about iCrossing. Additional Resources: What Google+ Means for Marketers (Presentation) Brands-as-Publishers White Paper iCrossing Real-Time Insights Video Series STAY CONNECTED Find out more at www.icrossing.com Call us toll-free at 866.620.3780 Follow us on twitter @icrossing and @thecontentlab Become a fan at facebook.com/icrossing© ICROSSING. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED. 3

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