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.

LUXURIOUS FINDINGS

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+.

GREAT EXPECTATIONS

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.

INVITING PLATFORM

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

CONTACT:

Scott Monty, scott@scottmonty.com; Jonathan Kopp, Jonathan.Kopp@ketchum.com.

Follow Scott Van Camp: @svancamp01