SWOT: Five Ways Google+ Can Become Mainstream

Google+ A Solid Start, Yet Still Not Compelling for Mainstream Adoption. I spent nearly the entire weekend playing with Google+ (here’s my profile), and even was using Google’s Android Honeycomb operating system on a Galaxy Tab to see how well it integrates.  So far, I’m impressed, and think Google finally got the formula right that will spur on adoption.  In my initial reactions, I stated that Google+ was pretty much mirroring Facebook’s features, and didn’t give a compelling reason for many mainstream users to port over.  While just about a month old, there’s been some discussion that Google+ has reached a significant number of registered users quickly (although it’s not clear if they’ll be repeat users beyond the test drive), there’s concerns of plateaus in repeat users, although the jury is still out.

Beyond Facebook, Google+ a Threat to Twitter.
While the most obvious competitive comparison is Facebook, we’re seeing the early adopter tech crowd dominate the top 100 lists, and I’m seeing some similarities to Friendfeed.  In reality, I believe that Google+ could actually be more of a threat to Twitter than most realize, as it organizes fragmented conversations on single threads.  In any case, we’re seeing some of the early tech adopters port their networks over, and a few celebs indicating some early strides –yet don’t jump in yet, we see this behavior with many tools.

Strength:
Finally got basic social networking features right by hiring seasoned staff, mainly cloning what’s worked for other social networks. Legacy of building scalable systems, nearly unlimited amount of resources, existing advertising, analytics, and ad buying network.
Weakness
Lack of integration with other Google systems, existing feature set limited and not compelling enough for mainstream users to set up camp on yet another social network. Significantly behind Facebook and Twitter’s global reach.
Opportunity
Integrate with all Google features also including search (which would spur on brand adoption, and ‘free’ marketing), email (The first social network) applications platform (they already have a thriving developer community)
Threats
Feature war: Facebook has ability to enable search features and can blow out their inbox features since they have the developer chops from Friendfeed, Gmail team. Secondly, Google+’s features are status quo, that enable email platforms to quickly catch up.

Strategy: Five Ways Google+ Can Become Mainstream:
Now, I’d like to give five strategies that Google can deploy to crank up mainstream adoption, here’s how:

1) Comment Management Features
First of all, I’m already seeing their commenting system break with users with a lot of circles,  the comments aren’t easily sortable, nor can you drive signal from noise –chronological ordering isn’t sufficient.  As they eventually launch brand pages, and attract more heavy users and influencers they will need nested commenting features, ability to see top responses, and other ways to highlight signal from noise.  This low hanging fruit is feature upgrades –and should be done quickly.    By doing this, they actually continue to compete with Twitter, shifting rapid conversations over to the Google+ platform.

2) Integrate Search Tools
Search features are Google’s core DNA, however the current search tools doesn’t easily search content within the Google+ stream (it’s limited to finding people, images, circles).  Because Facebook features lack any significant search abilities and Twitter’s search is limited to a short time duration this is a significant competitive advantage as users can rely on this platform for long term retrieval of information.  On Google’s over arching strategy, integrating this data with their existing search tools is obvious –it’s more fodder for their engines.

3) Enable an Applications Platform
Google has an active developer community that already encircles their camp, in fact they should offer developer platforms and integrate opportunity to integrate.  Facebook and Twitter developers are frustrated with a ‘one-sided’ relationship and want to spread their eggs into multiple baskets.  As a result, they will be glad there’s competition between platforms which will give them new opportunities and improve their relationships.  As a result this influx of new use cases will fuel adoption of the platform and we’ll start to see brand sponsored apps that will result in corporate marketing promoting branded Google+ Brand pages (more on that on #4)

4) Launch Brand Pages (no, really)
Google suffers from at least one major flop for every social networking flop, and this year it was their closing of brand pages in a very messy way.  While there are few early adopter test brands like Ford that are still active, most brands pages have been sunsetted.  Expect Google to offer a new set of brand pages and vanity URLs with application features, and coupled with their existing analytics products and web advertising network.   If they do this right, the brands will do the marketing for them, here’s how it will go down: brands will jump on, their competitors will say “quick we need a Google+ strategy” and follow suit, then they’ll race to see who gets the most circle members and turn their marketing engines on.  The best case scenario for Google is having brands link to their Google+ brand pages from their corporate homepages fueling mass adoption.

5) Integrate Google+ into Search Engine Results Pages
Finally, the Coup de grâce, will be for Google to announce (or prove) that what happens in Google+ will integrate with google SERP pages. Because Twitter and Facebook have limited search tools and their use cases are limited to social networking or social utility they will not have a competitive edge. When they do this, X things will happen: 1) Early adopters and bloggers will immediately invest more to be first of mind, in fact, expect news to break within Google+ from bloggers and press. 2) Brands will heavily invest in their Google+ brand pages, fueling more adoption from corporations and their agency partners (we know social media teams already spend on advertising) 3) Backlash from the industry as anti-trust and anti-competition will occur.

Love to hear your thoughts, leave a comment on what you think Google’s next moves should be.

  • Anonymous

    Nice post here, Jeremiah. Within “Comment Management Features” and with an eye toward the eventual launch of brand pages, there also needs to be a button for the publisher/originator of a thread to immediately delete spam/offensive comments.

    It hasn’t taken long for the spammers to find their way onto Google+. But at least as of now, there’s no button to click and nuke their contributions once jump into a comment stream.

  • Mario Aguila

    Concuerdo plenamente. I agree absolutely. I don’t understand why Google takes time with these features that seems so easy to implement.

  • http://twitter.com/hhawk Harry Hawk

    Jeremiah, I agree with much of what you have said. After the Commodore USA profile was shut down (I manage it) I have been saying everywhere, that G+ should release brand pages ASAP and it seems they are going to move that forward and they have opened it to all brands not just a curated few.

    I am concerned about the holiday selling season and would like there to be a G+ brand opportunity defined and available early enough that it can be incorporated to our plans without having to do a Hail Mary. 

  • http://www.nouhailler.com Patrick Nouhailler

    Another interesting scenario for Google will be having brands link to their Google+ brand pages from their Facebook Page

  • http://www.nealjansons.com Neal Jansons

    I have to say that, while you get the rest spot on, number three is a bad idea. I hope they never release an API, or if they do it blocks auto-posting and all of those hooks. This is the only social media venue mostly free of spam and people self-promoting. An API will immediately lead the signal/noise ratio to tend asymptotically towards zero. Right now we can hear each other, we can converse, and we know that every post at least required the engagement of actually going to the Google+ page. An API will make it just another echo-chamber.

  • http://www.socialnetworkingsandiego.com/ justinrfrench

    Hey Jeremiah, 
    Great write up here. the key I believe is “Integration”  Social Media Management can feel disconnected and quite overwhelming to manage at times for most social media managers, but I see Google as being able to fully integrate social into the Google apps business model as well as additional services such as Google analytics. Tell Bran Solis I said hello as well. 
    Justin
      

  • Jensenjonathan

    Good article. Would +1 it but you don’t have that. :(

  • Frm

    I would like to keep and sort important Posts or make it possible to find them by marking (like in an rss feed) or tagging them. 

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Jeremiah-Owyang/503291522 Jeremiah Owyang

    Yup, just as they did this for FB.

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Jeremiah-Owyang/503291522 Jeremiah Owyang

    My next version, which is coming soon, will :)  

  • http://twitter.com/iconic88 iconic88

    great post Jeremaiah.

    It will be interesting to see if Google will allow 3rd party development. These days co-development is a great way to connect and grow with these developer communities and their audiences. 

    Another aspect to keep an eye on will be the effects of Google’s integration process with its family of services on other competing services in the photo hosting/sharing industry, mobile payments, location based social networking services etc.

    Google+ isnt the killer app that some people saying, I believe its Google as an organic integrated whole is the killer app.

    All the best,
    Mahei

  • http://twitter.com/iconic88 iconic88

    great post Jeremaiah.

    It will be interesting to see if Google will allow 3rd party development. These days co-development is a great way to connect and grow with these developer communities and their audiences. 

    Another aspect to keep an eye on will be the effects of Google’s integration process with its family of services on other competing services in the photo hosting/sharing industry, mobile payments, location based social networking services etc.

    Google+ isnt the killer app that some people saying, I believe its Google as an organic integrated whole is the killer app.

    All the best,
    Mahei

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Jeremiah-Owyang/503291522 Jeremiah Owyang

    They’ll need to do this to scale

  • http://twitter.com/TrumanState Truman State U.

    I must dislike; no Google+ button.   :)  Informative though!

  • http://twitter.com/IMH_Affiliate Jason Hong

    Wow. I haven’t seen someone do a SWOT analysis for a a while now. Great approach. For your last suggestion, hasn’t Google already started integrating Google+ into the Search Engine results? We know that Social Media is a part of Analytics now, and that was one of the reasons so many people jumped on the bandwagon to (potentially) increase their rankings. We’ll see if the plateau that we saw with Goggle+ last week will continue, or if they’ll find a way to spur activity.

  • Pingback: What is your Google + circle strategy? | Holland-Mark Blog

  • Pingback: What is your Google + circle strategy? « Critical_M

  • Pingback: links for 2011-08-03 : The ChipCast || by Chip Mahaney

  • Pingback: Daily bookmarks & places archive | Chipcinnati

  • Pingback: Google + for Social Change Activists: Dive in Early or Wait? | Make a difference : Make a difference

  • Pingback: SWOT Analyse und strategische Empfehlungen zu Google+ | aboutgoogleplus.de

  • Jamesrobertlondon

    A great analysis of google+ done. It can get popular by using some of the tips listed.

  • Pingback: Back to University and Time for Google+ (Google Plus) | Jean-Francois Belisle, M.Sc. - Marketing, Analytics and Entertainment

  • http://ontwerpenvoorgeld.net/

    Goed artikel!! Dank voor Uw inzicht in deze  moeilijke materie!!!

  • http://www.websitedesignpositive.co.uk/ Mike

    Google plus one  helps to share contents,links over the web to your
    circles.The Google plus one button lets your visitors
    vote your website and help your site with search engine rankings for Google.
     

  • http://www.seopositiveltd.co.uk/ Liza

    No doubt Google
    could he act with more responsibility, by not deploying its new algorithms
    gradually, or by performing simulations that allow webmasters to know in
    advance the anticipated impact the changes. But
    it will not because he has neither the interest nor the constraint. The
    small start-up founded in a garage in Mountain
    View has become a lawless monster that one wonders
    what will stop its capacity for harm. Which
    is expressed also by the manner in which Google is to impose Google + playing
    on the fears of companies to be decommissioned.

  • http://piplfind.com/ Ahmad Dawam

    Google is the most popular search
    engine of all time. People do blind faith on this. If Google into the
    social networking business it means they were going to do something different
    and they did. By using Google plus you can do large variety of different things
    when it comes to interacting with others on the social media networks.Google
    plus one provides us the features of share different types of media, conference,
     chat, and also the feature of creating  groups where people from all over the world
    can participate in something according to your interest’s+ has the potential to
    do definitely well.
     

  • Pingback: internet marketing products reviews

  • Pingback: tools2design

  • Pingback: Doraemon blog for all the cutest Doraemon news!

  • Pingback: templates

  • Pingback: swat team salary

  • Pingback: Reliable offshore hosting, dedicated servers, vps, warez hosting, adult hosting, shared cloudlinux hosting, offshore

  • Pingback: article writing

  • Pingback: android

  • Pingback: Sharecash Methods

  • http://www.bybe.net/ Search Engine Optimisation

    Great Read, many things I never thought about.. Google is indeed on track for becoming the number one choice for most things :|

  • http://www.bybe.net/ Search Engine Optimisation

    Great Read, many things I never thought about.. Google is indeed on track for becoming the number one choice for most things :|