Modern marketers face a slew of problems: a fractured media environment, a need to target and segment messaging across platforms, a noisy marketplace. Social media was supposed to help address many of these issues. But many marketers might argue it’s made the job that much harder.
Enter Christian Oestlien, who is heading up the Google+ project. We’ve written in detail about Google’s launch of brand pages this week. But on Wednesday Oestlien took the stage at ad:tech with the purpose of convincing digital marketers that the search company’s new social network will solve their headaches.
He outlined five specific challenges Google+ will help solve.
1. A Fragmented Media Environment
Obviously, we understand how fragmented the marketing landscape is. Buyers attention is spread across a plethora of devices, websites and social media platforms. Rather than adding to that mess, Oestlien said, Google+ is helping gather it together with the help of +1 button.
The +1 button is the fastest growing social widget ever, Oestlien said, delivering more than 5 billion impressions per day. They have been spread out to more than 1 million online properties, embedded in web sites, mobile sites, pages and in search. Now, these various impressions will come together, leading ultimately to a brand’s Google+ page.
2. Recommendations Without Staying Power
90% of people trust recommendations from people they know, Oestlien noted. But people struggle to recall where, when and who offered a particular recommendation online.
The +1 button will help address this issue, Oestlien claims. “ The idea of +1 button is to make it easy to recommend you in a really lightweight gesture that leads back to your (Google+) page,” he said. How the +1 button recommendations will be more discoverable than other forms of social recommendations wasn’t made clear, but I suspect Google will bring its search prowess to bear on this front.
3. Comments Instead of Conversations
Most social platforms allow for comments, but those don’t mimic the flow of natural conversation well, Oestlien said. “95% of posts go unanswered,” he pointed out.
Oestlien attempted to position Google+ Hangouts feature as the anecdote to this deafening silence. Hangouts, which allow people and brands to connect via live video, make it possible to connect with fans directly. As an example, Oestlien spoke about how Macy’s hosted a Hangout hosted by fashion bloggers, tying directly to consumers interests.
4. Impersonal Messaging
Much of social media marketing comes across as impersonal, Oestlien argued, because it lacks elements of targeting and segmentation. “ In the real world I change what I’m talking about, depending on who I’m talking to,” he added.
This is the reason Google created Circles, Oestlien said. In the same way that people can segment who they follow by putting them into self-selected categories, called Circles, brands can target their messaging based on fans’ interests. Intel did this in a smart way by allowing followers to see the brand’s Circles and select which ones they wanted to be added to by clicking the +1 button.
5. Limited Insights
Social media channels offer limited insights into how content is shared, Oestlien said. Google’s latest product, Google Ripples, will help marketers get a better look at the life cycle of the posts they share on Google+. Shown in an easy to manipulate graphic interface, brands can see how individual posts were shared and re-shared, and when the content peaked.
It still doesn’t get deep into the question of social conversions (i.e. what content prompted purchase decisions, how social can be optimized to drive revenue, etc.), but Oestlien said “Ripples is just the beginning.”
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