Ad Networks Ad Serving Social Media

OK, Google…#WTH?

Posted by Samantha DeVita on March 12th, 2012 at 1:08 pm

google-plus-ghosttown

OK, Google...I am trying. Really I am. So #WTH- Why This Hard?

I don’t know about you, but I am finding it difficult to adopt and adapt to Google’s social platform. The main reason? To me, it’s still just another social tool and not yet an intuitive behavior. I’m not running to upload pictures of my recent afternoon with the girls, or post the location and a picture of the amazing burger I’m enjoying. With G+, I am still trying to figure out where my friends are, and apparently, I didn’t get the invite to the cool kids “hangout.”

Last night in a Facebook exchange with an industry peer, my friend echoed what the vast majority of users are saying about Google Plus: “It’s like going to a playground, where no one is playing.”

“Yeah,” I responded, “...and hopping on the seesaw by yourself.”

Last week during a chat at #SXSW, Guy Kawasaki pressed Vic Gundotra (Google’s VP for Engineering), on the perception that, right now; G+ is a virtual ghost town. Gundotra, in his now famous response, defended the giant.

“Make sure you’re using it correctly,” he responded with a laugh. I’m not sure how many laughed.

While I found his statement amusing, I think it gets to the heart of the problem. I don’t want to have to learn how to use it correctly. If was intuitive, it would become an ingrained social behavior for me and countless others. Like with Facebook, everyone would be on the playground, and playing, not just hanging by the fence.

Gundotra was also quoted in a recent New York Times interview. “Not only is Google Plus not a ghost town,” he said, “…we have never seen anything grow this fast. Ever.”

The company recently shared its Google Plus user numbers, citing that nearly 50 million people have created a Google Plus account and use Google+ optimized services daily, totaling about 100 million active users in a 30-day period.

Hmm...let’s break this down. “Google+ optimized services” include Google.com, the Android Marketplace, and YouTube, so in reality the hard numbers can’t be attributed strictly to Google+. In a view from outside the company, a report released last month by ComScore, says Google Plus users spend about three minutes a month on the social network. By comparison, ComScore says that people spend an average 405 minutes a month on Facebook, the service Google Plus is trying to displace.

So to what does Gundotra attribute to Google Plus's success? Advertising. He says that Google ads, where someone has clicked the +1 button, currently yield a 5 to 10 percent click-through-rate uplift on any ad for a company that has the “social annotation” on their websites.

Ok, how many of you are actually clicking on that fun little +1 button? Rarely? Yeah, me either.

What I do find compelling is that Gundotra went on to explain in that NYT interview that G+ ads differ from other social competitors ads, (such as Facebook and LinkedIn), as the Google+ ads serve up a “socially enhanced ad at the time of intent” rather than a randomly placed ad that pops up in your social feed after you mention a particular topic. If I am searching for a new #iPad case and people in my Google Plus Circles have +1’ed a particular one, Google will serve me the ad for that case. The current flaw with that theory? I’m not utilizing my Google Plus Circles, and no one I know is sitting around clicking +1 buttons. #FAIL.

At the end of the day, like all good things, use and appreciation of Google Plus is going to take some time. And if that doesn’t happen soon, it seems Google will continue to be content with politely bullying us around the playground until we all hop on the seesaw.

I'm interested in what you think.  Are you using or do you plan to start using G+? You can get me @saminj58 or info@r2integrated.com. Want to learn more about @R2integrated? Click here.

9 Responses to “OK, Google…#WTH?”

  1. Jake Croston says:

    Hello there,

    I read your article, conveniently linked from G+ ;) and wanted to share this with you.

    https://plus.google.com/107982618909749811163/posts/abM2sjCLqKx

    I encourage you to go there, put all those people in your circles, and start conversing.

    Then, start posting. You very well cant gain an interactive audience on a social media platform without posting some pictures, links, anything of interest will do! Even links like this will do well with an audience.

    I guarantee you will change the way you look at G+. You might not end up singing its praises, but then again you might.

    The only way to do it is try. I also added you to my circles, my name is Jake Croston, and the person that referred this article to me was Mike Downes.

    Cheers!

    Jake

  2. Sam, 'Director of Marketing'. Really? And you want to be spoonfed what G+ does and how it works? You know I do this for those who are new to social media and social media networking and even those who have been used to the Facebook model of connecting (i.e. you go there to find people you already know) but to have to explain it to someone who is in marketing is counter-intuitive in itself, if not oxymoronic. Either you wrote the post as response-bait or hmmm, you have not really been paying attention to the online world and the impact G+ has on SEO and social media marketing, never mind online engagement.

    • Sam DeVita says:

      Hi guys, thanks for the feedback. Dave...interesting post. Yes, feedback was solicited- I asked for it!

      Dave, I think you missed my point. It "get" G+, clearly. My stance, as I said, is that G+ is a tool (to me), which I am utilizing and understand how to use... but if my "communities of interest"- the people and places where I "live" socially, are not fully there, it does nothing for me. It has not become the "go-to" social platform for me to communicate on. I also recognize G+ is still in its infancy...and I am sure Google will keep on keepin on, until it is widely adopted. Hopefully by then, it will feel more "social," to me.

      Mike...look forward to connecting with you on G+, thank you both for taking the time to read and respond.

      Thanks for the feedback guys.

      -@Saminj58

  3. Mike Downes says:

    Samantha,

    I received a Google Alert that lead me to your post. I want to help. I have posted at g+ for you at: http://goo.gl/H2blf Also tweeted you the link. i hope it finds you and we can connect soon. G+ is a great place to be..

    Mike

  4. Sarah Hill says:

    Would love to connect with you in a Hangout sometime, Samantha. Not everyone is aware of this little magic carpet that can take you around the world to meet people. :)

  5. Sam DeVita says:

    Sarah,
    Would love to. I am doing an interview via a Hangout this Friday, on my post. Will keep you posted and maybe you can join/watch the YouTube video later. Thanks for reading and inviting me!

    • Michael Tucker says:

      Sam maybe you should interviewing Sarah, as she has a growing list of followers, many who engage with her daily.
      I wonder if you know of another network where you can find 780,000 "friends".

  6. Gloria Rand says:

    Samantha,

    I'm with you. I appreciate the benefits Google+ serves, especially with regards to SEO, but everytime I talk to people in my social circles, they seem exasperated with the thought of having to get on another social network to market their products or services.

    I just received an email today from someone who wants my help setting up social platforms on Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn for their business. Google+ wasn't mentioned! While the March issue of Website Magazine featured an article referring to Google+ as being part of the "big 3" social networks, (instead of LinkedIn), the average small business owner still doesn't get it.. and frankly, doesn't want to! They'd much rather jump on Pinterest! :-)

  7. "OK, Google...I am trying. Really I am."

    If you're actually trying, where is the link to your profile on Google+? You write an entire article about your presence on a particular social media site but the only link you give is to a different one? That doesn't make sense.

    I personally don't see what is so hard about Google+. It's way easier to share content on there in a way that illicits interaction than any other platform I've used so far.

    Your experience of the platform doesn't come across as someone who has been using it and can therefore write an informed op ed piece. Instead it sounds like someone who went on, made a circle, tinkered for like 20 minutes, and never came back.

    Does no one else remember what Facebook was like when it started? It wasn't this huge amazing magnet everyone flocked to. People were hesitant to abandon MySpace. People asked "What's the point" all the time. People would complain it didn't make sense.

    I dunno, to each their own. But I've liked what I've seen on Google+ so far. I've been a member since when you needed the invite to go on. I don't have thousands and thousands of followers. But I still spend more time there than on any other social network. I get the best links on there and have made some great connections.

    If anything, Facebook is losing its appeal to me more and more every day. Yes I have friends and family on there who aren't on Google+ but more and more I'm finding I don't want to connect with these people on something as artificial as Facebook, I'd rather connect in person or on the phone. The people I mingle with on Google+ though don't have that same possibility. It's more like Twitter in that sense than Facebook. How did you build a following on Twitter? Were you on it early on when it was still something not everyone had? If so you might want to try the same strategy with Google+ if you are interested in giving the platform a proper shot.

    BTW for an idea of how a company kicks ass on Google+, look at Cadbury: https://plus.google.com/u/0/117517201037060589294/posts

    And you can find me here: https://plus.google.com/u/0/118303245777999095791/posts

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