Google bows Google+ Pages

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Google has finally begun to roll out Google+ profiles for brands, but they may not have been worth the wait. I wasn't able to create a makeshift Google+ Page because “we haven't finished releasing them to everyone,” but here's what I've been able to gather.

Yes, they're being called Google+ Pages. Yes, it's just like how brands' Facebook profiles are termed Facebook Pages. No, I have no idea why Google didn't opt for a name not ripped from their biggest social competitor.

It looks like brands will be able to specify whether they belong to one of five categories: local business or place; product or brand; company, institution or organization; arts, entertainment or sports; or other.

Brands will have access to the same, or at least similar, features available to non-business Google+ users — namely Hangouts, Circles and the +1 button — but it's hard to figure how these features have been business-optimized.

Whether or not Google is saying Hangouts is the most business-friendly feature, the company lists it first in a blog post announcing the rollout as well as on the "Create a Page" page. I couldn't decipher whether brands will have a limit on how many consumers they can have a Hangout with, but I imagine brands hope there is a Google-imposed limit if only to ensure Hangouts are manageable and to take heat off brands for turning away consumers.

Brands can also segment consumers in Circles, much as I segment friends from family from coworkers. Problem is, how does Google expect a company to segment its thousands or millions of fans (I'm assuming Google will also grab that nomenclature from Facebook)? From what I can tell, Google doesn't have a mechanism in place for consumers to self-segment. Such a mechanism would seal one area in which Google+ could beat Facebook when it comes to social marketing, if only it existed. 

While the +1 button is a close kin of the “like” button, Google is taking an interesting tack in displaying +1s. Unlike how Facebook tallies “likes” according to what is being liked (story, ad, video, etc.), Google will be aggregating all +1s, so that no matter how many times a brand's ad or a piece of content on its site are individually +1-ed, the +1 counter for each will only display the number of +1s the brand has received in total. The cynic in me says this is Google's way of masking a meager number of +1s a brand may initially receive as Google+ establishes itself as a social network on par with Facebook. The other part of me says that's an interesting theory.

But why would a brand want a Google+ Page if they already have a Facebook Page? Umm … that's for part two?

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Founded in September 2009, Stirista is an integrated marketing agency that specializes in micro-targeting via traditional and digital channels. Our mission is to help companies, non-profits, and universities alike find new prospects and better understand their existing contacts. We are on the preferred vendor list for a handful of Fortune 500 companies with three of the ten largest companies in the world turning to us for marketing insights. To put it simply, we're young (at least at heart), ambitious, and sometimes impulsive-but always hungry for new ideas.

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Founded in September 2009, Stirista is an integrated marketing agency that specializes in ...