Monthly Archives: July 2011

Fanscape Thinks: Google Plus

Written by: Digitally Approved
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Questions, questions!

“Is the new Google+1 button a success?”

We don’t know yet. But we do know that it recently surpassed the tweet button in about a month since its release. That’s an impressive, and somewhat unexpected, outcome. However, the other new social products, or “projects” as Google would like to call them, will likely determine the long term success of this new social feature from Google.

“Then, will Google’s newest social media platform, Google+, be the one to change it all and finally bring success to Google’s tireless efforts to become something more than a search engine?”

For anyone to even attempt to answer such question right now, he or she would need access to Google+ to experience it themselves or rely on some of the lucky users who have already experienced it only to give a third person point of view answer to the question. But sure enough, Fanscapers happen to be on top it all, again – we already got access to Google+ and personally tested it all out to give you more of a personalized answer to your question. More specifically, we will discuss here our first impression and user experience with Google+; the probability of its success against Facebook; and what brands need to prepare for.

Get ready, set, go.

Eric Fransen – Senior Manager, Social Media Marketing.

It’s not clear whether Google+ is going to be a true contender to Facebook because the product is currently in very limited beta. At a glance, the interface seems very clean and intuitive, which bodes well for Google. The HTML 5 integration is also a plus, making the user experience seamless and speedy. I think the implementation of Circles from the get-go puts them ahead of Facebook lists, as that feature was added too late for people to be expected to go back and organize thousands of contacts.

I’m not banking on brands having a big presence on Google+ yet. Perhaps once the adoption rate is higher it could make more sense, but right now as a pure broadcasting and conversational tool, it does not offer anything above and beyond.

Something I’d like to see with their product is for a company to set up circles for audience segments, and people could opt in to specific buckets of messaging (e.g. FPS, Sports, Puzzle for types of gaming). This could be a powerful tool that would certainly make it more relevant to brands.

So the Circles feature has great potential – curious to see how it develops.

Allie Wester – Manager, Social Media Marketing

I am loving Google+ thus far! I especially love the Android app – it’s gorgeous.  Google+ was a pleasant surprise. I was excited for it, but wasn’t expecting much after the letdown of Buzz. Google+ turned out to be great and I can’t wait to see what else they do with it.

Google+ is a worthy opponent to Facebook and I think the competition is a good thing for both Google+ and Facebook to continue to innovate. Facebook has the upper hand when it comes to user base, but Google has so many existing platforms that people use day in and day out – Blogger, Gmail, Maps, etc. Building a social layer on top of all of that makes total sense. I’m anxious to see how the Google+ vs. Facebook battle pans out. Only time will tell!

Being that Google+ is a completely new platform, brands need to be adventurous and willing to test out what works and what doesn’t work at first. If a brand is very conservative and plays it safe – then Google+ isn’t the place for them yet.

Mike Fein – Director, Research and Analytics

Google + adds another layer of connection between Social Media engagement and SEO.  Google has placed increasing weight on a strong social presence in calculating their search results.  Any brand that is serious about social media, SEO, or SEM should consider how to best use Google +.  Brands also need to be flexible on a tactical level as it is still unknown how consumers will use Google +.

Christy Wise – Social Media Strategist

My first impression of Google + is that it is easy to use and has captured the basic necessities of a social network. Google has found a solution to Facebook’s biggest problem – which is not being able to effectively separate your network into segments of people, which is how most operate in real life. The ability to create circles using Google+ taps into many users’ desire to cater their individual messaging to a group of their choice. I don’t necessarily want my coworkers to see the same messages as my friends or my family. This will also prove great for brands that may have multiple segments within their target audience that they want to cater messages to. Google pages for brands is said to be on its way.

I think Google is a worthy opponent, but I am doubtful it will overtake Facebook any time soon. Many people still do not see Google as anything more than a search engine or a collection of functional, handy tools and applications. Getting people to see it as a true social environment is going to be a challenge.  Also the inability to use Google+ with Facebook is a problem. Though there are solutions around this block, the average user may not recognize them. And if their friends aren’t using it, they won’t either.

To prepare for possible new dominant social network platforms, Fanscape is first doing our research. We are closely monitoring property launches, listening to the buzz surrounding them, and staying on top of news about new changes or updates to existing properties that may be a benefit or hindrance to our clients. Once that information is compiled and collected and we feel we have the best possible working knowledge of a new property or change to an existing one, we will begin implementing this property into our strategic recommendations. As for Google +, we are still waiting for an ETA on when brand pages will launch and in the mean time we are all getting familiar with the product and listening to what others are saying about it before we make the recommendations to our clients to move forward with using it.

According to some of Fanscape’s brightest minds in social media marketing, although everything is still very unclear, Google+ seems to have taken its first step right.

While we are asking brands to remain flexible for possible major changes in their social media marketing strategy, with all of its potentials still up in the air, we are keeping our close eye on Google+ waiting for the perfect moment to integrate it into our marketing mix to create the best possible social synergy for our clients.