Today's Google+ is very different from tomorrow's. And marketers need to be preparing for this future Google+, not the current one. Here are six things Google+ will have in the future that it doesn't currently.
It's likely that viral campaigns of all kinds will be more, well, viral on Google+. Instead of serving as a second company Website, as many use Facebook, Google+ will reward the releasing of content into the Plus stream, where users can share it to the point of ubiquity. It's also likely that Google+ will be useful as a marketing platform, rather than simply a marketing place.
Pages on Google+ may be able to import and connect to applications and content posted elsewhere on the Web, and vice versa. Entire Google+ business pages could be hosted on Websites outside the service. The advantage is the unification of conversations around product and brand. Visitors to the Website comment, click, and interact, and those actions may also be reflected on the business page on Google+.
Twitter is the best place for fans to follow celebrities. Within a year or two, however, Google+ may rule. Because it is more flexible -- for example, no limit on post character counts -- celebrities will be able to offer fans far more content and interaction.
Celebrities will probably dominate Circle counts the way they currently dominate Twitter. And that spells influence. Right now, the top celebrities on Twitter are TV and music stars, with a few movie stars and pro athletes. Many of these stars are open to cross-promotion deals, have corporate-sponsored concert tours, or participate directly in advertising campaigns as spokespeople or actors.
Google+ will greatly magnify the influence of celebrities. A star Circled by 3 million fans can post a video from a commercial or promotion, which can then be shared and reshared by dozens of millions more. Celebrity posts will probably be orders of magnitude more viral on Google+ than on YouTube, Twitter, Facebook, or just about any other site or medium.
Google+ is theoretically less than beta, a mere "project" not open to the public. Integration between Google+ and other Google services has barely begun, with minimal connections established with Google Search and Google Books. In other words, Google+ is off in its own corner of the Internet.
In the future, however, Google+ will be everywhere and inescapable. Because any post by any user can be simply labeled "Public" and thereby turned into a search-indexed Webpage available to anyone, and because the posts can be of any length, more people will link to those posts as Webpages of all sorts.
After Google publishes APIs, third-party companies will create services around Google+ that we can't fully imagine yet.
Google+ is nowhere now, but in the future, it will be everywhere -- unlike Facebook and Twitter, which will remain largely isolated, walled gardens.
Some custom development is possible on Facebook, but Google+ customization is likely to be far more flexible. The reason is that Google is seeking to become a social layer for the Internet. Customizability is clearly a strategic feature for Google+.
Google+ currently has no advertising. This will probably change in the future. Google+ could build a killer advertising system with huge advantages both in cost and effectiveness. Google is better than anyone in the world at taking huge data sets and turning them into user relevance. Using all the data available on users -- from search behavior to location to purchase history to social networking activity -- Google+ could soon offer the best contextual advertising ever.
Right now, Google+ is populated by technically savvy younger males, as well as wealthy suburbanites. Future demographics are likely to broaden, ultimately to teens, women, and the middle and lower middle classes.
Because Google+ is more sophisticated, complex, and later to launch than Facebook, however, the demographics are unlikely to be as broad as Facebook's anytime soon. Within two years or so, the mix on Google+ will be far broader than now, but on average probably more educated and affluent than Facebook.
As Facebook and Google divide social networking, companies may be more effective on one service or the other based on different demographics.
The most important idea for marketers is not merely to prepare for Google+, but to prepare for the Google+ of tomorrow -- which is very different from the Google+ of today.
— Mike Elgan is a Silicon Valley-based columnist, writer, speaker, and blogger.
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As a marketer, my disappointment with AdSense is that I can't do demographic/psychographic targetting as well as I could on Facebook. I've been dreaming of the day when I can place ads for a very targeted base through AdSense. And now that Google+ is here, they can! I don't just mean ads on Google+, I mean any AdSense ad that a Google account user views while logged in. Imagine the power of contextual advertising that can mix content and social media profile data. Wow.
How about a G+reet... short for 'greeting'. If something isn't broke, don't fix it right??? Might as well ride the coat tails of Twitter, since they seem to ride everyone elses' (LinkedIn, Facebook, G+)...
@ Mike - I would think Twitter would be preparing to adapting and becoming more flexible, like adding the features you mentioned.Otherwise, I would agree with you.G+ has to come up with term for their message broadcasting features, similar to the “Tweet”.
No, I have no endgame in mind at all. I'm currently on a "Google+ Diet," forgoing all other forms of online communication, because I had become far too spread out. Google+ is the only service I'm aware of that can replace my newsletter, blog, microblog, social network and social bookmarking services.
One of the features in Twitter than makes is so compeling is the ability to use hashtags to develop content threads. When a major trending event is taking place, such as a hurricane, tsunami, or Beyoncé, people quickly figure out how to assemble and share ideas. This is most effective because you don't have know who is saying what; you're concentrating on the what.
Do you see anything comparable in the works for Google+?
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