Google+ was the name of the internet marketing game this week, as consumers and marketing experts alike couldn’t get enough information about the search giant’s burgeoning social platform. The email, social, mobile and content marketing implications of the fledgling Google+ network generated headlines across the web.
Brafton reported that the site had already attracted 10 million users at the end of last week, with analysts predicting it would hit 20 million users last weekend. The Wall Street Journal confirmed today that comScore data indicates the site has 20 million users after just three weeks on the market. At the same time, the amount of time users are spending on Google+ is making steady gains. As Brafton reported, consumers are now spending nearly six minutes on Google+ per visit. The site still lags far behind Facebook (which averaged more than 20 minutes of users’ time last week), but Google+’s rapid rise suggests it will be a viable competitor to the social site.
These figures certainly caught marketers’ attention as they indicate the possible reach of the platform. Then, Google held brands’ attention with more insight on the upcoming Google+ business pages. As Brafton reported, Google+’s product manager Christian Oestlien announced that the overwhelming interest in Google+ business pages has inspired Google to make the site available to more companies instead of its planned limited test phase. Additionally, Oestlien said the pages will roll out soon.
For marketers, Google+ not only means building a new branded page for social engagement and content marketing distribution, it also opens the way for social advocacy on Google SERPs (which Brafton has reported may be getting a continuous scroll facelift in addition to its anticipated +1-heavy update in the near future). When content is +1ed, this data can appear on search results as well as on users’ walls, and +1s may eventually serve as SEO ranking signals
The integrated marketing advantages of Google+, and the newness of the channel, speak to a report covered by Brafton earlier this week. Marketing experts agree that there are still new trails to blaze in social media. Plus, Google+ offers engagement opportunities that make it valuable beyond sales. As Brafton reported, 80 percent of marketers say social media is about more than financial gains, with many alluding to brand exposure as a core benefit.
As Google+ connects people’s social, search and gmail experience, it facilitates cross-channel content distribution and may encourage consumers to share content they discover in company’s email outreach. This should be good news to a number of marketers. Ninety-five percent say they struggle to produce relevant email content and social feedback is becoming increasingly important to email newsletter planning.
The buzz about Google+ coincided with a number of reports suggesting that marketers are poised to increase investment in the social realm. Brafton has reported that 78 percent of business execs say social marketing is vital to their companies’ futures. Additionally, more than one-third of chief marketing officers plan to increase their social spending this year. Marketers trying to decide where to devote their social dollars might have another reason to consider Google +: Facebook users are increasingly dissatisfied, reports ForeSee. The site received the lowest satisfaction score of the social networks included in the study.
Facebook managed to make it into the online marketing conversation beyond comparisons to Google+ and its low satisfaction scores. The company has unveiled a new feature that previews content in comments. When users add a link to a content page or website, a relevant thumbnail or site overview will be visible to other Facebook users.
Twitter was not completely left out of the social conversation this week either. As Brafton reported, the company celebrated its fifth birthday, and it now delivers 350 billion daily tweets. (Delivery is defined as the appearance of a Tweet in a user’s timeline.) This suggests the microblogging site is still a vital channel for content distribution.
Social content, in particular, seems to be something many are focusing on – social and content marketing budgets are simultaneously rising, according to data from Focus Research. Of course, the same study found blog marketing is the most effective content approach when it comes to acquiring new customers.
The value of content marketing continued to make headlines this week. When planning campaigns, marketers must remember that valuable information is key. Consumers say that useful info makes them accepting of the fact that content sponsors are ultimately trying to sell things, reports the Custom Content Council. In fact, the same survey from the CCC suggests content is the best way to engage audiences, with nearly three-quarters of Americans saying they prefer to get business information in the form of articles over ads.
Businesses say that finding the right content to appeal to their audiences is a challenge. As Brafton reported, a survey from Forrester indicates that just 3 percent of B2B marketers think they are able to generate content that “wows” prospects.