Blog Archives

Google + – brand pages have arrived

Penetrations at 40 million (worldwide) and with Google+ still being pushed at us with a pretty hefty PR campaign and an assault from some celebs (Britney Spears and Will.i.am), and now from brands, it appears that this social network from Google is here for at least the short term when consumers will ultimately decide who survives.

The brand pages posed an opportunity for Google to give a superior offering to Facebook. At first glance they’ve failed to deliver with no unique functionality that a brand couldn’t be leveraging in another social channel.

So what can a brand do. …

The same as the rest of us. They can upload photos, videos, status updates, start a hangout (The muppets launched one at 4:30PST today) but the issue still is the lack of consumer penetration which means the numbers just aren’t there. All of this is evident from the small followings that brands are picking up, with even Kermit the frog failing to achieve big numbers!

There is also the key issue that any brand needs to consider ” How does a consumer truly see me”.

The whole premise of Google is based on circles. You HAVE to place anyone you want to follow into a circle.  Consider this…

Your mum joins – you add her to your family circle. Your Best mate joins – you add her to friends. A one night stand joins – you create and add them to a circle called “Ex-boyfs”. You see Toyota and create a circle called…. “Brands”.

In no way will brands be able to connect in the same emotive way because consumers will simply put you in a sales / marketing / product / brand bucket. It’s auto-pilot and that’s the whole point of circles. You don’t have to think to use it, it’s intuitive. And intuitive isn’t great when you’re trying to be disruptive or get under the skin of the consumer who’s given you a “marketing shit” label. Yes – until people have organised their feeds you will show up in their central thread but, after then, you are unlikely even to get exposed to your consumers updates and, be honest, how interesting is that? (I’m sure Toyota isn’t interested that I’m drinking a cuppa and eating a hobnob? Nor can glean any insight from it) Where as Facebook clearly got consumer penetration and it then took a while for brands to get on board, brands and consumers are adopting + in tandem and, as yet, the benefit (or opportunity) for brands seems to be limited.

So what should brands consider as useful for Google+ right now….

– Inexpensive market research. The ability to recruit individuals for online, Live streamed, focus groups using hangouts – despite only 9 people being able to interact at any one time, this free service definately has value for quick and fast research.

– Advocacy programmes: Being able to classify, and then market to consumers, based on actions you want them to perform and even talk directly to them – truly being able to differentiate your brand fans from brand consumers. Only snag is you have to know who they are and then create the relevent circles!

– YouTube: It’s massive and it’s inevitably going to have to be THE channel for Google getting this to all work. Video content (and capabilities) are far superior to Facebook’s offering and, as Google+ continues to evolve, and becomes integrated into YouTube’s service, it will become critical to how consumers adopt and use the service.

– Watch and learn: Yes, it’s going to get press but, at the moment it hasn’t got the numbers or reach. A bit of “watch and learn” and a slice of budget pushed aside for if it does hit mass in 2012 is the cautious marketers option….

Google Street View

A short but sweet post on the coolness that is GoogleStreet View – after spending the last 30 minutes looking up pointless address’ I’m hooked and awaiting them to come to the countryside and feature Hungerford so I too can see a photo of my house (why I need that I dont know but it seems exciting!)

Currently limited to Aberdeen, Belfast, Birmingham, Bristol, Cambridge, Cardiff, Coventry, Derby, Dundee, Edinburgh, Glasgow, Leeds, Liverpool, London, Manchester, Newcastle, Norwich, Nottingham, Oxford, Scunthorpe, Sheffield, Southampton, Swansea and York.  It lets you see a 360′ panaromaic view of your street address and is very very cool! Check out their instructions and give it a play – The San Francisco one is particularly cool.

More sights spotted by the Google Street View crew HERE

*Update* Just found the latest stats on its traffic since the launch showing a 41% increase:

 

 

 

 

 

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Team that with the stats

The average visit time for Google Maps yesterday was 7 minutes 6 seconds, up from 5 minutes 28 seconds the day before.

and its appeal as a tool is evident.

That said these stats only show the immediate increase after a week of press releases, tech coverage, blogging, tweeting, privacy issues and WOM that have given Google Maps street view rapid adoption / awareness. As such a big brand (or as some would argue the biggest brand) to provide web tools its obvious that many users will test this out, have a look and spend 5 – 10 minutes checking out address’. The more interesting stats for this will be how users use this novelty feature over time in the online space and how (not if!)they evolve this into their sat-nav features on both the phone and in car.

Mumbai, Masters and my Mum

I’m due to go on holiday in 8 days time – judging by the news, the foreign office and my Mum I wont be going.

I was due to head off to Mumbai for 3 weeks of travelling, spending some time in the city before heading to the beaches of the South, the plantations in the middle and then heading out through Chennai. It’s now back to the drawing board and with a travel claim for cancellation in progress, 1 eye on the news, and the other on the laptop I start to formulate Plan B.

With the disruption in Thailand (2nd choice), Strength of the $$ (Hawaii and US) and a previous 3 month trip to Mexico – Sri Lanka came up next in line. From here, being internet saavy, relatively good at searching and narrowing down prospects I suddenly realised how much power Google and it’s algorhythm suddenly has. Typing in for accomodation the normal suspects come out – Opodo, Expedia, Trip Adviser… All great sites but none of which help me get off the beaten path. Repeated variants and getting to page 3 and 4 of Google I start to see some sites and immediately the power of the affiliate travel sites become apparent after the 20th travel content syndicate pops up with the same descriptions, same prices and same content…

It makes you wonder if the internet was stripped of Google (and business parallell attempts to stay top of the pack) would the internets landscape be better or worse… Likewise if all the duplicate content was removed would the web be an easier place to navigate for consumers? If the collective is so powerful why do we continue to happily browse the same pages time and time again, just in different colours. You wouldn’t wander into 20 travel agents so why do we happily browse 20 online stores? Is fun browsing actually compilcated navigation, duplicated content and “stuff thats hard to find” in disguise?

That I cannot solve (but for my next project could have fun investigating) – meanwhile Sri Lanka accomodation ideas on a postcard….

beach_sri_lanka