Will Brands Be Successful on Google+?

Google introduced its Google+ Pages for businesses on November 7, 2011, opening up the new social site to brand participation.

Within the first 10 days of availability, 61% of the top 100 brands worldwide had a presence on Google+, according to SEO platform BrightEdge. However, only 12% linked to their Google+ pages from the company homepage. Meanwhile, 93% of the top 100 brands had a page on Facebook, with 53% linking to their Facebook pages from the company homepage.

Use of Facebook Pages vs. Google+ Pages Among the Top 100 Brands Worldwide, Nov 2011

Once consumers add a brand to their Google+ Circles, the brand can do the same, segmenting its audience into different groups to allow for easier targeting of posts and content. Additionally, having a Google+ page can affect a brand’s search results, and searching on Google for “+[Brand]” takes the user directly to the company’s Google+ page. Other Google+ offerings, such as group video chat Hangouts, are also being tweaked to work for brand pages.

However, while brands seem to be adopting Google+ pages at a good speed, consumers have yet to embrace connecting with brands on the social site. Google+ reportedly hit more than 43 million accounts after opening up to the general public in September 2011. Yet, according to BrightEdge, the top 100 brands have a total of only 147,000 followers, with the brand page for Google+ boasting the largest number of followers, more than 65,000. On Facebook, these same 100 brands have nearly 300 million fans all together.

Google+ still has a way to go to impress brands and marketers. In an October 2011 survey from Constant Contact, only 5% of US small businesses said Google+ was a very effective social media marketing tool, 7% reported it was moderately effective and 70% said they did not use Google+. This study was from prior to the introduction of Google+ brand pages but shows how much the social site needs to grow to be on par with Facebook and other social networks.

Effective Social Media Marketing Tools According to US Small Businesses, Oct 2011 (% of respondents)

Overall, consumer adoption and engagement with brands aren’t yet as high as on Facebook, which may affect brands’ participation on the site. However, due to the closely linked nature of search with this specific social site, many brands will get involved to integrate their online activities.


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