Is Google+ is future? At least Google believe it is !

google+-rich-snippets

It’s common currency in internet punditry circles that Google won the battle to dominate search while Facebook won the battle for social, and that Google+ is just a failed competitor to Facebook. But Google hasn’t given up

It has been clear for a while now that, to make up for the fact that not very many people actively use Google+ as a social network, Google is turning it into a platformon which the rest of Google’s web services are evolving—something that has the effect of making people use Google+ by default. Results from Google+ already clutter search results. YouTube’s commenting system has been replaced by Google+. Chat and Talk, once stand-alone services, were combined into Hangouts and incorporated into Google+.

In a revealing interview with the Indian business newspaper Mint, Steve Grove, a Google+ exec who inks deals with content providers and influential figures, makes it clear that this is just the beginning. Grove tells Mint that “the reason for that is that Google+ is kind of like the next version of Google.”

Why? According to Grove:

There’s a lot of great value here, because Search also shows results from Google+ and this is going to bring more people into Google+; people are going to see that there’s a lot of value in logging into our services, before doing a search.

We’ve written before about how Facebook’s strategy for getting users in emerging markets is to convince people new to the internet that Facebook basically is the internet. Google’s strategy looks a bit like the obverse of this: convince people already on the internet that the internet runs on Google+

But when you look at it longer-term, Google’s strategy is actually very similar to Facebook’s. New internet users, such as the hundreds of millions expected to come online in India in the coming years, will find that being on Google’s social network is increasingly a prerequisite for using Google’s other services. Roping those new users into Google+ from the get-go is the company’s best chance for coming from behind and defeating Facebook’s dominance in social media. And that clearly seems to be Google’s goal, given how much effort it’s pouring into the network.“We focused a lot on Google+ here [in India], and it’s already very active, and people are getting on board on their own,” Grove said.

Advertisements

Top Video Ads and Brands making most of the Noise !!

video-advertising-online

YouTube-2013-Ads-Leaderboard-Dec2013

Which brands managed to take the most advantage of the burgeoning online video advertising space this year? A pair of new reports reveal the big winners this year: YouTube unveils this year’s Ads Leaderboard, while Unruly reveals the brands that scored the most shares of their ads. YouTube, recently forecast by eMarketer to generate $5.6 billion in ad revenues this year, puts Evian’s “baby & me” at the top of its leaderboard, which factors in paid views, organic views and audience retention when determining its rankings. Samsung, meanwhile, tops Unruly’s list.

The YouTube Ads Leaderboard tracks the most-viewed ads rather than branded content, measuring both paid and organic views. With more than 66 million views as of December 2, the Evian ad stood a significant distance from the second-placed ad, Dove’s “Real Beauty Sketches” (59.6 million) which also happened to be the most shared video ad of the year, according to Unruly.

The other ads making the leaderboard were (all view counts as of December 2):

Internet Explorer’s “Child of the 90s” (47.9 million);
Pepsi Max’s “Test Drive” (39.6 million);
PooPourri.com’s “Girls Don’t Poop” (20 million);
Kmart’s “Ship My Pants” (20 million);
GEICO’s “Hump Day” (18.6 million);
Ram Trucks’ “Farmer” (16.6 million);
Volkswagen’s “Get Happy” (14.7 million); and
Audi’s “Prom” (10.7 million).
Not too surprisingly, 6 of those ads landed on Unruly’s chart of the most-shared ads of the year. One more might have made it if not for a later launch: Volvo Trucks’ “The Epic Split feat. Van Damme” took the 6th spot in YouTube’s top 10 trending videos of the year. It joined 2 other branded videos to make the list: Evian’s commercial and the Carrie promotion “Telekinetic Coffee Shop Surprise” were the others.

Top Social Video Brands of the Year

Unruly-Most-Shared-Social-Video-Brands-of-2013-Dec2013

Several of the above-mentioned ads were so successful that they drove the advertisers into an Unruly’s list of most-shared social video brands, which showed significant turnover from last year’s list.

Based on the number of video shares tracked between January 1st and November 18th, Unruly reveals that the top 10 brands were:

Samsung, with 7.3 million shares;
GEICO, with 4.93 million;
Dove, with 4.52 million;
Pepsi, with 4.02 million;
Budweiser, with 3.86 million;
Red Bull, with 3.75 million;
Evian, with 3.71 million;
Kmart, with 3.4 million;
Cornetto, with 3.39 million; and
EA, with 3.39 million.
Last year’s top viral video brand, Google, failed to make the list this year, coming in 12th. Unruly also notes that Nike, TNT Benelux, DC Shoes, P&G, Abercrombie & Fitch and Volkswagen also couldn’t repeat their successes from last year to make it into the top 10. The fairly high turnover from last year suggests that making the list is dependent on the virality of a limited number of ads: 6 of this year’s top 10 brands had a video ad make Unruly’s list of most-shared ads.

Social Media is not for driving Sales…… But you are missing the Point…

Social Media

The point is that social media is a teeny tiny reflection of what happens in day-to-day life. In Jonah Berger’s Contagious, he makes the salient point that only 7% of word of mouth happens online (other studies say 5%). I’m not sure if all of that even belongs to social media channels, either. I’d guess a bunch of it happens over email and private chat.

There are hundreds of ways that your customer will find you (or not find you) online and offline. However, when it comes to spreading a message,word of mouth has always been the most effectiveway of marketing messages spreading. But these messages become ineffective when they aren’t authentic. The most salient point here is:

You cannot force word of mouth.

It doesn’t matter the media or the amount you spend on it – some stuff just doesn’t spread. And though marketing impressions make a brand awareness difference – whether it’s a billboard or a paid tweet – it’s never guaranteed to work.

So I’m continually bowled over when I hear people complain about how their social media marketing doesn’t work. Usually a few questions helps me realize what’s really going on:

social

What’s really going on here is that companies think that paying for marketing is some sort of silver bullet. It’s not. It never was and it never will be. Hell, some Super Bowl ads go unnoticed – and that audience is one of the biggest captive audiences in the universe!

You are probably asking yourself, “Okay then, why would anybody in their right mind pay for marketing?”

Good question. I sometimes wonder myself because not everyone is ready for itand sometimes they are too late for it.

But why pay for marketing when the results aren’t guaranteed? Because, like I said before, there are hundreds of ways your future customers will find you (or not find you) and it’s better to be findable than not. And good marketing means that you will be more findable AND have more credibility (if the branding is done right) when people do find you. And all of that helps with what you want: sales.

There are all sorts of wonderful things built into social media marketing that you won’t have built into traditional one-way channels. There are:

  1. analytics: you can’t really tell who paid attention to that television ad, but you can tell who watched your YouTube ad all the way through, and who liked it, and who shared it, etc etc. The data available on how people interact with your content is AMAZING.
  2. feedback: it’s right there in the comments. It’s also there on Twitter. Oh, and you can find out what people are saying on Reddit and on their blogs and in forums and… well, that is invaluable. Read it. Report it back to your team. Improve your product with it. Respond to it with thanks. Hell, you pay hundreds of thousands of dollars to get this feedback from focus groups each year and here it is for you for free. Completely raw.
  3. relationships: you aren’t going to strike up a conversation through the TV or radio. But that two-way conversation is built into social media platforms. It’s really awesome. You can find out so much about your customers and start to really build a bond.

What really baffles me is the demands that brands make of social media marketing when they pay a fraction of the price to use it. They’ll hire interns and junior staff to run it, they’ll lowball agencies and consultants (“I pay you what for a couple of FB posts?! I can get my kid to do that!”), they get impatient and want instant results without being willing to invest the thought needed or take risks, they’ll tack on a social media strategy (which has no strategy) to a made-for-television and magazine ad campaign thinking that it’s yet another direct marketing channel (which is a limited medium, too).

All of this and the brands ask for stellar results. They look past the amazing insights and feedback and potential for relationships that no other traditional marketing medium every had and they say, “Meh. Social media doesn’t work for me.”

And completely miss the point.

You want to know the ROI of social media?

Number one. It’s the ability to listen. It’s priceless. Not with some damned tool that measures sentiment or finds influencers, either. Really listen.

Number two. Serendipity. It’s opening yourself up to constant and amazing opportunities to participate and by participating, you will find numerous opportunities to lead the conversation and make a great impression. Oreo’s dunk in the dark tweet is a great example of this. They are doing a really great job of being a relevant brand again by seizing opportunities like that. Do they do it every single day? Nope. But when they do, they nail it.

Number three. Community instead of customers. The difference is incredible. If you have patience and build a community instead of just a customer database, you will have finally tapped into that magical word of mouth network you wanted to buy a few months ago. But this time, it’s real and authentic and it spreads.

So PLEASE FOR THE LOVE OF DOG stop thinking of social media as a direct marketing tool or some sort of silver bullet that will drive sales through the roof. Stop reading those case studies where Facebook… no, Pinterest… no, Polyvore… no, Snapchat… drove millions of dollars in sales from a viral campaign.

That’s not the point.

[originally published on my personal blog: tarahunt.com]