Why we should pay attention to Google+

Posted by | January 13, 2012 | Catalyst, Media | No Comments

We wouldn’t blame you if you were sceptical about the need for Google+. Just what the world needs, another social network.

As it happens, however, Google+ has rather more strategic importance than you might think. Here’s what Google CEO Larry Page had to say about this latest venture into the social sphere, according to Computerworld UK:

Forget about building a popular social network. Google CEO Larry Page wants to use Google+ to transform the entire Google experience.

That’s the plan Page touted during Google’s third-quarter earnings call with analysts in October [2011]. Page [noted] that the social network has passed the 40 million user mark [since its launch at the end of June], its users have uploaded 3.4 billion photos and its designers have added 100 features in the network’s first three months.

“Our ultimate ambition is to transform the overall Google experience, making it beautifully simple, almost automagical, because we understand what you want and can deliver it instantly,” Page said. “This means baking identity and sharing into all of our products so that we build a real relationship with our users. Sharing on the Web will be like sharing in real life across all your stuff.”

In other words, Google is planning to integrate elements of Google+ across all its properties, adding a SOCIAL LAYER to virtually everything Google does (oh, little things like Search, YouTube, Picasa, Adwords, that kind of thing).

Here’s why Google thinks Google+ is important. According to Google+ product manager Christian Oestlien (in a presentation he gave to AdTech New York in November 2011 — you’ll find the full video here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tH0JQKNHdCQ), five key challenges impact on social media marketing today:

  1. Fragmented marketing
    Imagine if you could take the power of search and have that influence social  – and vice versa.
  2. Recommendations that lack staying power
    90% of people rely on personal recommendations from their friends. What if they could find those recommendations easily on Google when they need them (through Google+ and +1 tags)?
  3. Comments instead of conversations
    How many times have you posted something to a brand and really not gotten a response? That’s going to impact loyalty to that brand.
  4. Impersonal messages
    In the real world, I change what I’m talking about depending on who I’m talking to. I don’t have one message for everybody. The internet is the same. You can’t just post one thing and expect everybody to react to it, everybody to like it. That’s why Google created Circles.
  5. A real lack of insight
    You want to get some insight into how people are interacting with your content. You want to know what content’s popular, who’s sharing it and how it’s getting consumed. How are people reacting to it? That matters to you as advertisers because 77% of all the content around brands that’s being shared on the internet is being shared by the user not by the brand.

Google+ may not deliver on all its creators’ dreams and promises, but that’s beside the point. What’s important is that Google is integrating the social layer across all its properties. That’s why Google+ matters.

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