Google+ pages summary


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November 2011

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Google+ pages summary

  1. 1. 11/11/11GOOGLE / A REVIEW OF GOOGLE+ PAGES INTRODUCING GOOGLE+ PAGES Following a false start with Google Buzz, Google re-entered the social media scene five months ago introducing Google+ and receiving acclaim from early adopters within the social media and marketing industries. The platform was robust, enabled fluid social interactions and gave a long-form presence to individuals (not just „friends‟ but alsocelebrities, industry peers, politicians et cetera) that Facebook did not offer at the time. HoweverGoogle did not provide a service for businesses and was not willing to accommodate their presenceon Google+ till the platform was ready.Last Tuesday, Google introduced Pages for Google+. Like Facebook Pages, Google+ Pages aredesigned to provide a habitat for brands, businesses and smaller companies.Google has a clear a strong vision for Google+: “to transform the overall Google experience— weaving identity and sharing into all of our products”1Bradley Horowitz, VP of Product at Google, states that “Google+ is Google itself. We’re extending itacross all that we do – search, ads, Chrome, Android, Maps, YouTube – so that each of thoseservices contributes to our understanding of who you are.” This vision, alongside more than 40 millionreported users, makes Google+ a fine prospect for a secondary or tertiary domain for brands. Whatcan Google+ offer brands? And is the platform mature enough to handle brands? Burberry‟s Google+ Page WHY GOOGLE+ PAGES CAN BE GREAT FOR BRANDS1 Google Adwords Official Blog AnalogFolk LLP • 2nd Floor • 10-18 Vestry St • London N1 7RE • tel: +44 (0) 20 7684 8444 • 1
  2. 2. 11/11/11GOOGLE / A REVIEW OF GOOGLE+ PAGES Search: Not surprisingly for Google, Search provides the biggest advantage to brands. As a platform Google+ goes far beyond the traditional realms of a social network. Users signed into Google+ experience an augmented Google experience – Google Plus – that“weaves identity into” the search engine. A user‟s results will be informed by theirsocial graph with social recommendations (+1‟s) from friends appearing in results. Despite being live for only a few days searching for Toyota returns the Google+ page in the top ten hits. The Facebook page appears at the base of Page two.By adding a „+‟ character before a search term, Google‟s instant search results will immediately showthe Google+ brand page meaning users can click directly through to the page and bypass searchresults altogether. Power of Recommendations: Before Facebook seeded Like buttons beyond its domain, consumers paid little to no attention to the popularity of a site they were visiting. Branded websites rarely featured hit counts. As far as consumers were concerned the Toyota site was where you found information about the brand. But the web has evolved to becomesocial. Toyota‟s site may offer information, but does what if not as many people have recommended itas Ford‟s site? The social web is ruled by recommendation - „Likes‟ and „+1s‟. Understanding thepower of social recommendations, Google will be following Facebook by adding a quantitativemeasure to each Page by accumulating +1‟s created on a brand‟s site, search results, ads or Page. “Consumers will be able to see all the recommendations your business has received, whether they are looking at an ad, a search result or your page, meaning your +1’s will reach not only the 40 million users of Google+, but all the people who come to Google every day.“ Google Adwords Official Blog AnalogFolk LLP • 2nd Floor • 10-18 Vestry St • London N1 7RE • tel: +44 (0) 20 7684 8444 • 2
  3. 3. 11/11/11GOOGLE / A REVIEW OF GOOGLE+ PAGES Hangouts: Google+ Hangouts allows 10 users to have a group video chat and this functionality has been ported into Pages too. This means a community manager can holdcourt for 9 customers. Whilst this is not going to be apractical sharing platform for a brand with thousands ormillions of followers it provides an excellent tool forcustomer interaction. For example a brand could host ahangout to share a new advert or unveil a product to ahandful of key influencers, or hold a Q&A session with aDesign Director or CEO. The 9 slots available to public arefirst come first served, but if someone leaves, someoneelse can join. Kermit and Ms. Piggy recently hosted a live hangout on the Muppets‟ Google+ page Advertising: Alongside search, another great strength of Google‟s is advertising. Google has stated that Google+ will recognise topics within conversations on Google+. This means a conversation about winter coats may lead to an advert for 10% off the Burberry winter collection. Whether that advert drives clicks through to or Burberry‟sGoogle+ Page is flexible. AnalogFolk LLP • 2nd Floor • 10-18 Vestry St • London N1 7RE • tel: +44 (0) 20 7684 8444 • 3
  4. 4. 11/11/11GOOGLE / A REVIEW OF GOOGLE+ PAGES WHY GOOGLE+ PAGES ARE NOT READY FOR BRANDS Excitement is palpable around the launch of Google+ Pages, and social media heavy hitting brands such as Cadbury, Burberry and Toyota have already launched Google+ pages. Google was very clear on asking brands to wait for Pages rather than creating personal profiles for brands, but now that Pages are live is it right to create one? Can theGoogle+ platform support the practicalities and the everyday running of the account that brandmanagers and community managers need? Pages have a number of shortfalls that suggest they maynot be ready yet: 1. Single party ownership. A Page can only be managed by one Google+ user. Unlike Facebook Pages which can support innumerable „admins‟, Google+ Pages can only be posted on, moderated and wholly managed by one Google+ user. Many social media products pricing plans force brands and agencies to share a login, but Google+ is free, and do marketers and community managers really want to share their Google password with others? And if a team or agency does decide to set up a new Google account purely to create and manage the page, you won‟t know who has written a post, only that it was written by said Google login. 2. Long URL‟s. “Visit us on” is not very media friendly. 3. Users cannot post onto a Page (whether they follow the page or not). This means fans, advocates, product owners cannot express the satisfaction or dissatisfaction on the page. In short, consumers cannot start a conversation. Even if a user mentions the Page using the correct syntax (eg: “The new +Burberry Winter Storms collection is stunning!”) the post won‟t appear on Burberry‟s Page. 4. There is no bespoke tab functionality allowing brands to create a customised brand experience on the Page. 5. This is a man‟s world. Two third party sites that gather data on Google+ recently published reports stating Google+ is 68% male. This may make female skewed brands wonder about the interaction they will encounter on their Page. 6. Analytics. Google Analytics is a data rich, easy to use tool. However there are currently no Page analytics. Google makes mention of Social analytics and Page analytics arriving in the coming weeks but in the meanwhile, any activity on a Page cannot be tracked therefore any spend is unmeasurable and unaccountable. AnalogFolk LLP • 2nd Floor • 10-18 Vestry St • London N1 7RE • tel: +44 (0) 20 7684 8444 • 4
  5. 5. 11/11/11GOOGLE / A REVIEW OF GOOGLE+ PAGES THE BIGGER QUESTION: IS GOOGLE+ READY FOR BRANDS? Google+ was launched in a limited beta in late June 2011. comScore reported that the network had hit 25 million users in just a month. In September 2011 the platform was opened to the wider public and now boasts more than 40 million users. But informationabout active users is not available and following an initial surge in traffic during the public betarelease, traffic fell by 60% to pre-public release levels. Perhaps curiosities had been piqued, satisfiedand users returned to their native social network. So whilst 40 million users sounds healthy, we‟drather know how many active users there are – traffic suggests the platform doesn‟t support anythingnear 40 million active users.The platform also seems to have been modelled on Facebook but with additional features (see Moreon Google+ below). However this offers little incentive to Facebookers. And Facebook has evenmade changes to match the richer features Google+ introduced, whilst adapting imitated features tooutdate Google+ even in its infancy. (See our report on Facebook‟s F8 conference for moreinformation on recent Facebook changes.) Either social networks really are a zero sum game or newplatforms must differentiate themselves sufficiently from the market leader to attract users to spendtime on more than one site. By imitating Facebook‟s personal profile many users will see little reasonto join a new network with marginal functional benefit. But more importantly, Facebook has more thanhalf a billion users. Chances are, Facebook is where your consumers‟ friends are. No number offeatures will make up for an absence of friends. Friends and social interaction are what keep users ona social platform and this is why users will visit brand environments within a platform they spend somuch time on.Despite the lack of certainty and data around the platform, brands with available resource shouldconsider engaging with consumers on the platform. Whilst the user base is small in comparison to theleading social network, active users on the platform are early adopters, and, as such, are ofteninfluencers. Furthermore the lack of brands on the platform does mean that those present can shine.Finally, the shortfalls of Pages previously mentioned may actually be provide an incentive for brandsto join. The lack of functionality makes Google+ Pages more manageable. Creating a Facebook Pagenow requires significant investment in not just community management but designing, building andmanaging bespoke tabs that can compete with competitors. The simplicity of Google+ Pageseliminates that call for investment meaning smaller brands with fewer resources or brands whochoose not to invest heavily can test the potential of the platform in the short-term. MORE ON GOOGLE+ PAGES Watch the introductory video by Google / A guide to Google+ Pages MORE ON GOOGLE+ Google+ is a social network introduced in late June 2011. By creating a personal profile on Google, users can opt into Google+ to activate their social profile. In many ways, Google+ is similar to its biggest competitor, Facebook. Profile pages features photographs, videos and information about the user. Users can post updates including links, photos, videos andcheck in to Google Places.Google+ makes it easier to solve “the biggest problem in social media” - segmenting groups of friends/ acquaintances / colleagues / celebrities / politicians – by allowing users to add their friends tocustomisable „Circles‟. Photography is better on Google+, Sparks offers recommendations on contentto read, the mobile application is slick, Hangouts supercedes Skype video calls with group video callswithin the platform. The platform has grown surprisingly fast with now more than 40 million Google+registered users. AnalogFolk LLP • 2nd Floor • 10-18 Vestry St • London N1 7RE • tel: +44 (0) 20 7684 8444 • 5