Have you heard about Google Plus One (+1)? Google launched it earlier this month and seems to be poised to push it. For example, it’s front and center on Google Ad Innovations currently (great site which makes a great default homepage, by the way: http://www.google.com/ads/innovations/index.html), and it’s a very logical play for Google as they embrace social.
Here’s what I love about it
Plus 1 brings social media to where eCommerce people really need it – Search. Social is here to stay and there’s no doubt that social connections are going to continue to influence ecommerce buying decisions more and more. Plus One puts Google in an interesting place in this dynamic. It allows them to leverage the unique selling proposition of the adwords platform – very powerful psychographic targeting capabilities via keywords to have gain a foothold in social.
I also really love that the Plus Ones you see are only of those people whom you know. That makes the recommendation much stronger in my opinion and it makes Plus One much more useful to me. That’s pretty cool.
So I think it’s an interesting and smart play by Google … um, good for them, but “So what?” Can you as a marketer jump on this and make a huge difference for your brand?
I don’t think so… not yet.
What I don’t love about it
1) You have to have a public Google Profile to Plus One something. It’s pretty easy to do, but the problem is that few people have done it and I’m not sure that people will be compelled to do it. What’s the upside for them? It seems to me that there isn’t an immediate payback for doing so. On Facebook you get to hear about the lives of people – long lost friends, neighbors, family, etc. People share stories. Plus One is a lot less rich.
But perhaps this isn’t at all what Plus One is trying to be.
I guess it’s a bit like Amazon ratings… people DO seem to do those…but the difference is that they are talking to the whole world and not just their friends. I think that stage is the attraction and incentive. Imagine if the only reviews you saw on Amazon were those by your friends. How often would that be useful?
It’s sort of a chicken-and-egg problem with Google Plus One. I suppose if I were to start really seeing value of commentary from friends, I would be inclined to pay back that Karmic debt. At this point, however, I’m seeing nothing.
Maybe Google is big enough to overcome this. I feel like they have been patient in the past with new offerings. They put something out there and learn… They continue to innovate and find new ways to bring value and in time the offering is really compelling. Gmail was like that, Adwords didn’t start as the leader in it’s space, Analytics has gotten better year after year and looks to be poised for a great leap in 2011. Maybe Plus One will just take time.
But the bottom line is that it is NOT super important to most marketers at this time. There just isn’t a population there yet.
That said, what is the downside of promoting Plus One on your website? There is very little investment for you as a website owner to do so. Sure, not alot of people will use it, but it probably does behoove you to get in the game and start seeing what Plus One is and how it’s being used. My understanding is that data will be available with Google Webmaster Tools (which in turn is becoming more integrated with Google Analytics). It’s Google, after all – they are always worth watching.
Besides that, the other trick is to be great in the other things you do. Have a great product, have incredible customer support and get Plus Oned. That’s a piece of cake, right?