David Kirkpatrick

Social Media Marketing: How does Google+ fit into the social media puzzle?

November 3rd, 2011

Last week’s MarketingSherpa B2B newsletter article covered social media advertising. In gathering information for that story, I had the chance to interview three social media experts. One area that came up in each interview, but didn’t make it into the story, was Google+.

Obviously, that platform wasn’t included in the article because Google+ does not currently offer advertising.  But, since Google is such a major player in online advertising, and its struggles with social media are well-known (see: Wave, Orkut, Buzz), it was interesting to find out what our three practitioners thought about the latest splash in the social media world.

Google’s social track record is not great and the jury is very much still out on how effective Google+ will be in regard to making inroads into Facebook’s channel domination. Even Orkut, which was quite popular in specific countries such as India, Iran, Brazil and Estonia, has been steamrolled by Facebook in recent years.

With all this in mind, Google is still Google, and it is worth a few minutes of your time to think about how Google+ might fit into an overall digital marketing strategy.

Meet our three social media experts:

  • Shama Kabani, CEO of The Marketing Zen Group and author of The Zen of Social Media Marketing
  • Jeff Bander, Senior Vice President of Client Services of EyeTrackShop
  • Chris Zarski, Interactive Marketing, Camelot Communications


Will Google+ impact your Google score?

Both Shama and Chris agree that they do not see Google+ adding advertising to the platform (a la Facebook or LinkedIn) anytime soon.

Shama and Chris also both believe the area where marketers should be paying attention to Google+ is how the platform affects Google quality scoring.

Now that Google+ is allowing some limited business profiles (through Google Apps for Business users right now), Google+ is another venue where you should have some sort of presence. This fits into the strategy of maximizing your Google score and joins tactics such as claiming your business Google Place, and combining SEO and SEM to “own” the search engine results page.

Shama says, “I think if you do pay-per-click, or even with your SEO, those Google+ profiles, and links, and the ‘plus one,’ will have a very strong affect on your (Google quality) scores. So companies that have a strong Google+ score could easily end up paying less for their Google pay-per-click ads than companies that don’t because (Google) will think it’s a matter of relevancy in scoring.”

Chris adds, “I think the only way Google effectively gets scale on Google+ is by tying it in, and creating hooks within, their whole quality score algorithm, both on SEO and SEM.”

And he continues, “With Google+ you are asking users to basically engage in yet another communications platform. And they are already so invested in Facebook right now. In order for Google to gain momentum, I think they are going to ultimately have to create those touch points with their quality score.”


Are display ads coming?

Jeff has a different opinion from Shama and Chris in that he does think Google+ will eventually include advertising on the platform.

He says, “What Google has done, and they have done this in the past, is they initially start out with no advertising and just build up users.”

“We really feel that Google is well positioned to make a big impact on the social media display ad (space) because they have Chrome, Android and YouTube. They have a lot of ways to drive people to Google+, and it can do some packaging (with other Google advertising). Our assumption is that they will continue to grow at a very nice pace and eventually put in advertising on Google+.”

One thing that is certain, even though the long-term impact of Google+ is still an unknown, is if there is any possibility the social media platform can impact, or improve, your Google score, the wise marketer will take advantage of this effect.

What do you think about Google+? Have you already created a business profile? Share your thoughts and strategies in the comments section.


Related Resources:

Creating Better Online Ad Campaigns: 5 Tactics

Measure Paid Search Advertising’s Contribution to Offline Sales: 4 Steps

Special Report: Social Media’s Impact on SEO – 5 Trends to Guide an Integrated Strategy

Google as a Grocery Store: Use SEO and search engine marketing in tandem to boost lead generation

Converting PPC Traffic: How clarifying value generated 99.4% more conversions on a PPC landing page

The Marketing Zen Group

Camelot Communications





David Kirkpatrick

About David Kirkpatrick

David is a reporter for MarketingSherpa and has over twenty years of experience in business journalism, marketing and corporate communications. His published work includes newspaper, magazine and online journalism; website content; full-length ghosted nonfiction; marketing content; and short fiction. He served as producer for the business research horizontal at the original Office.com, regularly reporting on the world of marketing; covered a beat for D/FW TechBiz, a member of the American City Business Journals family; and he provided daily reporting for multiple LocalBusiness.com cities. David’s other media and corporate clients include: USA Today, Oxford Intelligence, GMAC, AOL, Business Development Outlook and C-Level Media, among many others.

Categories: Social Networking Evangelism Community Tags: , , ,

  1. Emily Carter
    November 7th, 2011 at 16:59 | #1

    Google+ is definitely on my radar these days. I’m curious to see the impact it will have on social meda, especially for business. In my opinion, the majority of business users seem to be initially resistant to new social media accounts. It really has to be worth the time and energy and benefit the company. I definitely think that Google can create a space in the social media realm, I’m just curious to see how it will impact businesses. Thanks for the post!

  2. Katie Long
    November 8th, 2011 at 23:26 | #2

    I don’t know much about Google+ just yet, but I am interested in seeing where it goes as far as social media advertising. What are the restrictions or qualifications needed to create a business profile and what features benefits are currently offered?

  3. November 22nd, 2011 at 10:56 | #3

    My company has a G+ page, and we’ve just begun putting our clients in, especially those who do local business. It’s hard to say what the future of Google+ may be, but the numbers look promising, and it’s not bad to be in place when the customers begin to arrive.

    The challenge is to make a page that looks good without committing to constant updates. Posting at G+, Twitter, LinkedIn, and Facebook regularly becomes time consuming, so we have to focus the resources in the right place. At the moment, we’re betting that G+ will be better than FB for tech and scientific companies — but it’s a gamble.

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