Digital News Category
- Digital News ( 215 )
Popular Digital News
Popular Daily Fresh News
|The meanings of Google+|
|Tuesday, 17 January 2012 17:19|
Google+ is like a party where guests have arrived, but are not really talking to each other. There are over 20 million users now at Google+, all arriving via personal invitations from other users, in a matter of weeks, but the level of interaction is still low. What's more, while the immediate rise is creditable, it pales into insignificance when one measures it against 750 million Facebook users.
So will Google+ grow into a credible threat to Facebook? And what does it mean for the future of online advertising? The success of Google+ is believed to rest on its features. There are 5 basic features, with Circles being the most talked about. Google's PR machinery is making a big deal about the feature that offers users ability to segregate their associates into different groups: friends, family, etc. As a regular Facebook user I find that kind of distinction useful and facilitates sharing things only with some groups, but it doesn't create an automatic reason for me to switch to Google+. Plus, a similar feature exists within Facebook, called Cliques and there's also Groups, launched a year ago.
Apart from Circles, Google+ offers Huddle (Group messaging), Sparks (RSS reader), HangOut (multi-user video conferencing for up to 10 people) and Instant Uploads (for sharing of content from mobile). The direction seems to be towards including features into social networking, beyond just connecting people together. Facebook has recognised the threat, and a few weeks after Google+'s "field trial" soft launch, Facebook unveiled video chat, which is currently being rolled out globally.
As Zuckerberg acknowledges, social networking is now about providing people with more ways to share: currently over 4 billion things are shared on Facebook everyday. Google+ also has a sharing facility via +You button, to rival Facebook's game-changing "Like" button.
What's the message for advertisers?
Social is growing
The launch of Google+ also indicates the growing importance of social media. Companies must put their strategies in place and continuously refine them. Today, Facebook is king, tomorrow it may be some other site. Remember Friendster, and My Space? Once they were kings, now they lie in ruins. What's clear is that while players come and go, social media is here to stay. Even a behemoth like Google can't afford to ignore it. And neither can advertisers. But it is also important for advertisers to not wed themselves to Facebook or Twitter; use these networks, but remain agile and ready to focus on the next big thing.
Combining search and social will be important in the future
While Google+ doesn't seem to have much to offer in terms of advertising opportunities, it is clear that Google's search prowess can be linked with social networking via this site. When you type in a search term, you get Facebook and Twitter comments in the results. You are far more likely to click on a link that quotes your friend or peer or even a stranger, than a link posted by a company. Google executives are worried about losing search volumes to Facebook (where users visit sites based on recommendations and "likes" from their friends and peers) but social networking metrics are still weak compared to industry standards like Click-throughs, CPCs and CPM which prevail in the sphere of display and search ads. As more social networks spring up, metrics will improve and advertising can be measured.
Platforms need open-ness to co-creation
Facebook has been around for 8 years, and keeps innovating. It has built up walls to protect itself from competitors like Google, and paradoxically, some of these walls have been built by becoming more open, such as opening technology platforms to allow game-makers and application companies to come on board. Google will need to create similar flexibility. Brands looking to grow in an age of rapid change would do well to heed this example.
|Last Updated on Thursday, 19 January 2012 00:49|