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Google+ For Brands in 2013

In the 18 months since Google Plus launched Pages, brands have been tentatively exploring Google's fledgling and enigmatic social network. But, determining how Google+ fits into a brand's growing social ecosystem can be a challenge. In this Critical Mass POV, our social media team reviews the most interesting features and benefits to brands using Google+ Pages, outlines some great use-cases and offers some guidance on how your brand may want to approach Google+.

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Google+ For Brands in 2013

  1. 1. © 2013 Critical Mass, Inc. All Rights Reserved Google+ For Brands Where It Is Now. July 3, 2013 Thursday, 4 July, 13
  2. 2. © 2013 Critical Mass, Inc. All Rights Reserved 2 Where Google+ is Now Table of Contents © 2013 Critical Mass, Inc. All Rights Reserved http://expandedramblings.com/index.php/resource-how-many-people-use-the-top-social-media/ • Google+ overview, statistics and numbers • What makes Google+ unique • Exceptional case studies • Takeaways and recommendations Thursday, 4 July, 13
  3. 3. © 2013 Critical Mass, Inc. All Rights Reserved Where Google+ is Now What is Google+? 3© 2013 Critical Mass, Inc. All Rights Reserved Google+ is a social network. A place where individual users can build unique profiles, share unique content and selectively determine who will see that content. Users can view content in their news feeds, place friends in circles, video chat in Hangouts and follow the people and brands they find interesting. The network may appear to be a direct competitor to Facebook; in fact Google+ acts less as a relationship builder, and more as a personal content aggregator. Google+ is more akin to a social RSS feed, a comment-ready, common framework with a personalized news feed where your content is provided by friends, influencers and forums. What has changed since launch? Google+ has always aligned well with the other products in Google’s arsenal, but integration has gone further in the last few months. Local search, greater connectivity with YouTube user accounts and increased privacy settings compliment the on-going changes to design and interface. In terms of user base and growth, Google+ has moved into the second spot for size of social network, trailing only Facebook. This is in part due to Google including a Google+ account with every gmail address. The size is deceiving however, with most accounts lying inactive. Thursday, 4 July, 13
  4. 4. © 2013 Critical Mass, Inc. All Rights Reserved 4 Where Google+ is Now Who uses Google+? © 2013 Critical Mass, Inc. All Rights Reserved 0 1.5 3 4.5 6 GER CAN UK INDIA USA Top Countries Millions of Users Active 17% Inactive 83% 63% 37% 24% 24%18% 18%12% 12%6% 6%0% 0-17 18-24 25-34 35-44 45-54 55+ Distribution by age + sex Income < $30K $30K -$59 $60K -$99 $100K -$149K > $150K 18% 27% 28% 15% 12% source: http://blog.thenetimpact.com/2011/12/tni-trend-list-implications-of-twitters-redesign-google-plus-demographics/ Thursday, 4 July, 13
  5. 5. © 2013 Critical Mass, Inc. All Rights Reserved 5 Where Google+ is Now Platform Comparison © 2013 Critical Mass, Inc. All Rights Reserved 1.11 Billion 403 Multi 500 Million 21 Multi 48.7 Million 90 Image 1 Billion 180 Video 343 Million 3 Multi Total Audience Average Min/Month Content Delivery http://expandedramblings.com/index.php/resource-how-many-people-use-the-top-social-media/ Google+ suffers from a great deal of inactivity. They have constantly seen growth in their network, but the total audience is deceiving. Google has connected its gmail platform to Google+, making anyone who signs up for gmail an automatic Google+ member. As Google updates its other software programs, it integrates Google+ making it almost impossible to do anything Google related and not sign-up. Thursday, 4 July, 13
  6. 6. © 2013 Critical Mass, Inc. All Rights Reserved 6 © 2013 Critical Mass, Inc. All Rights Reserved Where Google+ is Now Major Content Differentiators Hangouts Google+ has one secret weapon: Hangouts. These video chat meets-ups operate differently then any other video service in their ability to do everything from private session to live feed. Link them to your website and YouTube channel and promote them with events to get noticed across the web. Communities Google+ Communities are lightweight, instantly created discussion forums. They act much as the Facebook wall does, housing conversation where both you and your audience can post content. Like mentioned before, communities can be wide ranging like or deeply targeted. Keeping communities highly targeted with relevant content creates greater in post- interaction then basic posts on your wall. Offers Offers are Google’s daily deal platform, similar to Groupon, and are now available directly within Google+. Offers give businesses the ability to offer point of purchase discounts and deals for local users who are following their Google+ account. Thursday, 4 July, 13
  7. 7. © 2013 Critical Mass, Inc. All Rights Reserved 7© 2013 Critical Mass, Inc. All Rights Reserved You are on Google+, now you’ve got to ask yourself “how will people know I am here?” Without an on-platform advertising ecosystem like Facebook & Twitter, or even a similar sponsored-search capability like Google-owned YouTube, there isn’t an obvious way to promote your existence to the rest of the 300-million+ strong Google+ community. Proactive Connections • Brand pages can proactively add individual users to Circles. Search for advocates by name and connect with category influencers. • Searching communities and pages can identify people that you want in your circles - add them directly. • Ripples is a function attached to content which shows the most influential people who have shared the content. Off-Platform • Having touchpoints across web and other social properties is a good way to direct off-platform traffic. • Integrating a Google+ badge on a brand’s website, other social networks, in emails, on product packaging, digital and traditional advertising and what ever else is at the its disposal will grow page visibility. YouTube • Brands with established YouTube channels have a distinct advantage on Google+, especially when it comes to Hangouts, as the video platform is completely integrated into the Google+ experience. • YouTube videos can be searched, played and added by users without leaving Google+, so it is crucial that your YouTube video titles, tags and descriptions include a call-to- action for viewers to follow your page on Google+. Exclusive Content • Given that many people may follow the brand on other platforms like Facebook and Twitter, providing unique content can set the Google+ page apart. • The most unique content experience on Google+ is the Hangout. Where Google+ is Now Recruitment Thursday, 4 July, 13
  8. 8. © 2013 Critical Mass, Inc. All Rights Reserved 8© 2013 Critical Mass, Inc. All Rights Reserved Like a brand page on Facebook, the Google+ brand page is designed to give business, brands, products and organizations a presence. The Google+ brand page offers a few extra perks that relate to Google’s dominance in search. Linking Connecting your page to your website via linking increases the relevancy of the content on your website to assist in search ranking. It also lets your site take advantage of Direct Connect - a service that automatically sends a user to your website when searching for your brand in the Google+ universe. In addition to organic search results, linking places prominence for your brand in the search window, highlighting your Google+ page where ads would frequently appear. Adwords Brand pages can take advantage of having social data like follower count appear within AdWords . Where Google+ is Now Brand Pages Thursday, 4 July, 13
  9. 9. © 2013 Critical Mass, Inc. All Rights Reserved 9© 2013 Critical Mass, Inc. All Rights Reserved Face to Face. Hangouts are public video chats that connect people, wherever they are, to each other. Hangouts are integrated with other Google platforms like gmail and drive, making greater collaboration possible with your audience in real time. For example, shared sketchpad during a Hangout would allow people to participate in designing a concept together. Hangouts can be linked to your YouTube channel, and embedded directly on your website, creating connectivity in places where people are already consuming your content. They are automatically recorded and added to YouTube for instant content sharing. Hangouts integrated seamlessly with Google+ events, creating a space to promote future live streams and can be promoted by Google and added to a global calendar of events. Use them for: Q&A Customer Service Product Launches Video Interviews Talent Shows Where Google+ is Now Hangouts & Events Thursday, 4 July, 13
  10. 10. © 2013 Critical Mass, Inc. All Rights Reserved 10© 2013 Critical Mass, Inc. All Rights Reserved A place for everyone Communities are Google+’s answer to the online forum or Facebook’s groups. Communities are built around topics of interest or need where all users can post freely, sharing comments and questions relating to the topic. This is a big differentiator from Facebook. As pages and profiles are places where the owner curates the content, communities are a place where everyone can post. Users can also upload their own media to communities, creating an area for open sharing. Like groups on Facebook, communities can be public or private, however their visibility in the platform makes them a good choice for reaching audiences who are currently sharing information relevant to your brand. Where Google+ is Now Communities Thursday, 4 July, 13
  11. 11. © 2013 Critical Mass, Inc. All Rights Reserved 11© 2013 Critical Mass, Inc. All Rights Reserved Daily deals for connected fans Google recently connected its daily deal offers with the Google+ platform, giving brands the ability to directly reward their followers. Offers are searchable, purchasable and stored in your Google+ profile where you can then redeem from the mobile app at point of purchase. Where Offers excels over other platforms like Groupon or Living Social is the ability to release offers in brand Google+ feeds, allowing fans to get in on the action and share the offer with their networks. The Offers platform on Google+ is currently limited to a few brands but will likely evolve over the coming months as it rolls out to additional brands. Where Google+ is Now Offers Thursday, 4 July, 13
  12. 12. © 2013 Critical Mass, Inc. All Rights Reserved 12© 2013 Critical Mass, Inc. All Rights Reserved Monitoring and Analytics Ripples is a data visualization tool used to show the reach, spread and impact of content on Google+. When someone shares your content, Ripples activates and circles appear indicating that they are connected to your content. As the post makes its way through the network, more circles appear. In addition to this visualization, Ripples contains more analytics tools like influencer identification, time spread for the post and more. Where Google+ is Now Ripples Thursday, 4 July, 13
  13. 13. © 2013 Critical Mass, Inc. All Rights Reserved Social search. Proper hashtag usage is an important part of every branded Google+ post. Hashtags ensure that every video, image, link or plain text post is connected to a search on the platform. Hashtags are filterable and live, so users can monitor them for the most current information. Hashtags can also end up on a trending list, where search and sharing push them to visible areas of the platform. New platform updates include auto-hashtagging, where Google will scan your posts (including images) and create hashtags for you automatically. When compared to untagged posts, hashtagged content correlates with higher engagement and transfer rates. These rates can be monitored directly, as hashtags are able to be tracked and analyzed using Google+ Ripples. How to use them: Make the hashtag relevant to the brand. Creating a brand hashtag can lead people to great campaign content, while generic tags that are being used organically by the community allow you to penetrate conversations. 13© 2013 Critical Mass, Inc. All Rights Reserved Where Google+ is Now One More Thing: Hashtags Thursday, 4 July, 13
  14. 14. © 2013 Critical Mass, Inc. All Rights Reserved 14 Should you consider using Google+ as one of your social platforms, it is important to think about how your brand lives within the various products and features of the social platform. At the centre is your Brand page - the identity and experience centre - where users expect to find relevant content and information relating to your brand. Users then engage in communities, relevant topic areas where they can share and interact with their own content and you as a brand can develop engagement and source user-generated content. Communities are relevant areas for content delivery that relate to, and drive traffic to your brand. The content delivery devices are Hangouts, video, posts and hashtags and connect to these community topics and share content across your social network. These content delivery systems also push outside of the network, driving traffic across the web to other platforms. communities video hashtags posts hangouts Your Brand Where Google+ is Now The Universe Thursday, 4 July, 13
  15. 15. © 2013 Critical Mass, Inc. All Rights Reserved 15© 2013 Critical Mass, Inc. All Rights Reserved The following Google+ brand pages stand out as exceptional in their respective spaces. Success criteria not only include the number of followers, but the conversations and shares their posts generated. Certain pages, such as Cadbury UK, successfully leveraged their communities as well as their brand page by encouraging sharing on both pages and achieving high engagement by doing so. These elements have been reflected in the study. Global Page Rank was also used as a benchmarking tool and is based solely on number of followers. Where Google+ is Now Case Studies: Evaluation Criteria Thursday, 4 July, 13
  16. 16. © 2013 Critical Mass, Inc. All Rights Reserved 16© 2013 Critical Mass, Inc. All Rights Reserved Delicious Posts Cadbury UK has captured an audience on Google+ that is focused on the uses of its chocolate in baking applications.While the content has some crossover with its Facebook profile with regards to promotional posting, it is tightly focused on this delivery and has the numbers to show how effective it has been. Cadbury also runs a branded community on Google+ called #CadburyKitchen. With 40,000 members they have created a forum where people share recipes focused on the uses of Cadbury chocolate in baking. Verdict: Unique content has led to one of the few big brands that has a significantly greater number of followers on Google+ than on Facebook. Stats (Page) Global Page Ranking Number of Followers Average Number of Comments Per Post Average Number of +1 Per Post 8 3 Million 23 218 posts + community Where Google+ is Now Case Studies - Cadbury UK Thursday, 4 July, 13
  17. 17. © 2013 Critical Mass, Inc. All Rights Reserved 17 Where Google+ is Now Case Studies - ESPN © 2013 Critical Mass, Inc. All Rights Reserved First Star for Hangouts ESPN has taken advantage of the Hangout better then most brands on the Google+ platform. Leveraging its on-air talent, ESPN holds frequent discussions and exclusive interviews with star athletes where the audience can participate by asking questions. Videos are then archived to its YouTube channel, which has more than 270 million views. Verdict: Google+ offers a few unique products and ESPN has taken advantage of them by seamlessly mixing them into their existing online presence. Stats Global Page Ranking Number of Followers Average Number of Comments Per Post Average Number of +1 Per Post 11 2.8 Million 60 412 hangouts Thursday, 4 July, 13
  18. 18. © 2013 Critical Mass, Inc. All Rights Reserved 18© 2013 Critical Mass, Inc. All Rights Reserved A Personal Brand Gone Viral Matthew Inman - The Oatmeal - runs a highly successful online comic blog. As one of the early adopters of Google+, Inman quickly grew an audience who wanted access to his work in a social environment. Inman posts his trademark comics simultaneously on Google+, Twitter and Facebook. But he takes the time to comment individually in each network. He is one of the only presences we’ve looked at that doesn’t make use of Hangouts. All the same, he’s racked up more than a million followers. Verdict: A large audience can be created on Google+ with the right content and by bringing followers from a web platform into the space. Stats Global Page Ranking Number of Followers Average Number of Comments Per Post Average Number of +1 Per Post 159 1.3 Million 113 1158 posts + hashtags Where Google+ is Now Case Studies - The Oatmeal Thursday, 4 July, 13
  19. 19. © 2013 Critical Mass, Inc. All Rights Reserved 19© 2013 Critical Mass, Inc. All Rights Reserved Cuteness Carries Over Hello Kitty has attracted more than two million followers by mixing original art with fashion photography, interspersing pulse points like Earth Day and Easter. Its Google+ presence is tremendously consistent in brand voice both in channel and across other properties. Hello Kitty really shines on Google+ by giving its followers the first look at new in-store items. Verdict: Exclusive content is needed to break barriers. Treat your followers to “firsts” to attract interest. Stats Global Page Ranking Number of Followers Average Number of Comments Per Post Average Number of +1 Per Post 23 2.6 Million 62 580 posts + video Where Google+ is Now Case Studies - Hello Kitty Thursday, 4 July, 13
  20. 20. © 2013 Critical Mass, Inc. All Rights Reserved 1Add it to your social footprint Google+ lite Wait and see 2 3 20© 2013 Critical Mass, Inc. All Rights Reserved Is Google+ for you? It depends. Google+ has some features that make it a valuable platform for aiding search and producing video content. It’s well integrated with the Google suite of products, and if you spend a lot of time producing on these channels you would benefit from the Authorship- and Hangout-linking platform functionality. However, if social engagement is the end goal, Google+ is not the best option and Facebook and Twitter should continue to be your platforms of choice With this in mind, consider the following options: If you have the resources, utilize the content differentiators to their fullest potential. • Build out a brand profile. Decide on a theme and populate that profile with content that is relevant to the theme and brand. Get your brand page verified. • Reach out to influencers and add them to your Circles. • Participate in our create communities and actively reach out to people talking about the same topics elsewhere. • Host Hangouts and publish content. If you desperately want to be on Google+ but do not have the resources to run it as its own platform, syndicate content across your social channels and take advantage of things like Hangouts to add dynamic content to your YouTube channel. Most likely you’ve landed at this conclusion. Good for you, it is the smart one. Where Google+ is Now Takeaways. Thursday, 4 July, 13
  21. 21. © 2013 Critical Mass, Inc. All Rights Reserved Where Google+ is Now Thank You 21© 2013 Critical Mass, Inc. All Rights Reserved About Critical Mass Critical Mass, an Omnicom digital marketing agency, helps the world's leading companies use digital media to create extraordinary experiences— experiences that bring together creative thinking, smart ideas and emerging technologies to drive our clients’ businesses. Consistently recognized as a leading interactive agency, Critical Mass operates globally from offices in Calgary, Toronto, Chicago, New York, Nashville, Los Angeles, London, Amsterdam and Costa Rica. www.criticalmass.com Follow Twitter.com/CriticalMass Facebook.com/CriticalMass.Agency YouTube.com/CriticalMassAgency Slideshare.net/CM1234 Social Media Team David Jones, VP Social Media @DoctorJones Scott King, Planning Director @ScottRKing Alison Fraker, Sr. Social Planner @AlisonFraker Daniel B. Honigman, Sr. Social Planner @DanielHonigman Kyle Bottoms, Social Planner @KyleBottoms Lindsay Renwick, Social Planner @LindsayRenwick Nikki Lloyd, Community Manager @Nikki_Lloyd Thursday, 4 July, 13
  22. 22. © 2013 Critical Mass, Inc. All Rights Reserved Thank You © 2013 Critical Mass, Inc. All Rights Reserved Calgary 1011 9th Avenue SE Suite 300 Calgary, Alberta, Canada T2G 0H7 +1 403 262 3006 Chicago 225 N. Michigan Avenue Suite 2050 Chicago, Illinois, USA 60601 +1 312 288 2500 London 52-58 Shorts Gardens London, United Kingdom WC2H 9AN +44 (0) 203 077 1350 Los Angeles 12555 West Jefferson Blvd. Los Angeles, CA, USA 90066 +1 310 305 5381 Nashville 209 10th Avenue South Suite 507 Nashville, Tennessee, USA 37203 +1 504 301 8385 New York 711 3rd Avenue, Floor 11 New York, New York, USA 10017-4043 +1 212 801 8318 Toronto 312 Adelaide St. West 6th Floor Toronto, Ontario, Canada M5V 1R2 +1 416 673 5275 Costa Rica 300 metros al oeste de CENADA Metro Park, zona franca metropolitana Edificio 5b-B, Barreal de Heredia, Costa Rica +1 855 242 6427 Thursday, 4 July, 13
  23. 23. © 2013 Critical Mass, Inc. All Rights Reserved Appendix © 2013 Critical Mass, Inc. All Rights Reserved Google+ Resources Hangouts: http://www.google.com/+/learnmore/hangouts/ Circles: http://www.google.com/+/learnmore/circles/ Communities: http://www.google.com/+/learnmore/communities/ Ripples: http://www.google.com/+/business/get-insights.html Offers: https://plus.google.com/+GoogleOffers Thursday, 4 July, 13