Charting the Industry: Ghost Town? Brands Advance on Google+

While not receiving nearly as much press lately as its stock-price-challenged rival, don’t feel sorry for Google+. As a product of one of the largest tech companies on the planet, Google+ demands attention.

In fact, a report released in May 2012 by social media company Simply Measured shows Google+ brand page adoption and engagement are on the rise. Overall Google+ activity is up since a Q1 study was released in February 2012—three months after the platform’s launch. In Q2 2012, average weekly “circler” engagement is up 112% and content engagement is up 65%, according to the report.


The top 10 brands on the Simply Measured list have circlers that number from hundreds of thousands to millions, and are dominated by companies in the luxury goods and auto industries (see chart). These brands are making Google+ work for them, paying no mind to the talk that the platform is DOA after just a few months of business.

But Google+ has had a slow buildup, says Scott Monty, global head of social media for Ford Motor Company (No. 6 on the list), which was chosen as a test brand by Google at launch.

“We were pretty aggressive with Google+ early,” says Monty. “But as time has gone on, we’ve wanted to see where Google is going with this.”

Thus, Monty and his team are a bit more passive with Google+ now. On Facebook, Monty estimates they’re posting at least twice a day—versus twice per week on Google+.


Yet Monty expects to step up that frequency. “We believe the platform will grow in importance. After all, it is Google,” he says. One thing that’s holding Ford back is a lack of robust analytics, which Monty fully expects Google will address. What Monty does see is more linkage of Google+ to other Google offerings, such as Gmail, its Blogger platform and YouTube.

It’s that integration that has Jonathan Kopp, partner and global director at Ketchum Digital, bullish on Google+. “Google+ is building a robust, integrated social latticework that will connect data in a way that will benefit both consumers and brands, says Kopp.


So what works on Google+? For Ford, solid visual content is key. Fun videos and historic photos from Ford’s archives catch the most buzz. “We’ll go down in the lobby of our headquarters and do an Instagram of a car on display, post it on Google+ and ask people to guess what year the car was made in,” says Monty. “It’s all about inviting participation.”

And speaking of participation, RJMetrics released a study in May 2012 that isn’t quite as rosy as Simply Measured’s, finding that 30% of first-time Google+ public posters don’t post again. Plus, the average time lapse between posts is 12 days. This prompted Bloomberg Businessweek to famously ask if Google+ is now a ghost town.

Monty, however, sees Google+ getting more integrated with Ford’s sites and fully baked into the company’s social media process, just like Facebook. PRN


Scott Monty,; Jonathan Kopp,

Follow Scott Van Camp: @svancamp01

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About Scott Van Camp

Scott Van Camp is editor of PR News, an executive-level, reader-supported publication that helps enhance the business impact of PR. Scott has a rich background in both journalism and PR/marketing. He has more than 15 years of experience as a writer/editor at various consumer and trade publications. Scott was with VNU Business Publications for five years, including stints as managing editor at IQ News and Technology Marketing magazines and senior editor at Brandweek. In the PR/marketing sphere, he has served as corporate communications manager at MarketBridge, a marketing and sales consultancy, and as editorial director for the Chief Marketing Officer (CMO) Council. While at the Council, Scott led several high-profile marketing research projects. He has also operated his own communications and media consulting firm, SVC Communications.

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