Remember that smart kid who sat in the front of the class, but was ignored by the cool kids? That’s a good metaphor for what Google+ is going through.
I’ve heard from corporate social strategists I should be cautious about how much time and how frequently I discuss this nascent social newtork, and I spoke to media from a Tier 1 this week who said “does anyone even go there anymore? It seems like a wasteland”. Furthermore take this damning image which has been viewed 11k times suggests Google+ is filled with Google employees –and that’s about it. In fact, in our data on Super bowl ads, not a single ad by the world’s largest brand even mentioned Google+, an indicator of what the rest of the ads could look like for 2012 in this Facebook centric market.
Why Google+ suffers from a perception issue:
- Facebook IPO buzz leaves little room for Google. As analysts, we feel this quite heavily, in fact, we’ve been interviewed by many media about the Facebook IPO. in the last 30 days, I can recount on one hand a conversation with press and media about Google+
- Google+ doesn’t have the full backing of brands. Google+ Brand pages are substandard, forcing brands to double down on Facebook: The brand pages lack a platform (although their recent partnerships indicate feature rich apps are coming) and their gaming network is limited. Brands also are skittish to open yet another conversation area to manage and engage in, when resources are low.
- Strong growth numbers still dwarfed by Facebook, 16 to 1. Even with 60m members and growing, that’s less than 7% of Facebook’s 845m, despite making these big gains since Oct, this social network is still dwarfed by Facebook’s international spread.
To win, Google needs to focus on public perception beyond just building a platform. Google+ continues to integrate the social features with the newly updated homepage on Google.com and we should continue to see it span across their set of products now that they’ve consolidated their profiles which has caused privacy woes. Google knows they must make their social platform work, to meet the needs of the modern web, as advertising dollars shift to other social networks. They must not only double down on building a successful platform for users, brands and their business model, but must also do proactive media, press and influencer outreach.
Related: Although Jesse Stay agrees (he runs social at a global org and wrote a book on Google+) John respectfully suggests my perspective isn’t reality.
This week, Altimeter (myself and Andrew Jones, researcher) hosted a webinar stemming from the the recent report on Social Media Proliferation, which you can download the full report on this blog post. In the embedded slides and video below, you’ll be able to get additional insights on how we perceive how this market will change in the coming years:
- We’ll see a vendor shakeout, although expect pure play vendors of each of the five uses cases to remain
- Consolidation will occur from market forces of email marketing, web analytics, CMS, marketing automation, brand monitoring, support software and beyond
- These tools, in the long run, will marry into existing communication tools to become a new form of a unified digital marketing platform
Altimeter Webinar: A Strategy for Managing Social Media Proliferation, with Jeremiah Owyang from Altimeter Group on Vimeo.
Above: Video Recording, Listen in
Above: Slides, download on slideshare
I’ll continue to cover this space, and have a series of blog posts with more data that we’ll be sharing, and am happy to help brands with vendor selection based on their specific business needs.
This latest Altimeter Report, by my colleague Industry Analyst Chris Silva, focuses on how companies must develop a mobile marketing strategy. It sources research from 26 ecosystem contributors including brands, agencies, and technology providers. To learn more about this report, please register for the webinar in which Chris will provide deeper knowledge from the report.
This report is powerful in a few ways, it indicates the growth the in space, referencing that 45% of all mobile phone users are carrying a smart phone, and the growth rate for tablets is 23% annually.
The report also indicates how some marketers are missing the market to reach to the connected consumer, citing examples how retailers and restaurant companies created apps that didn’t direct them to their stores, a missed opportunity.
Above Graphic: Mobile App Maturity in Three Phases
Yet beyond the mis-steps of retail marketers, this report provides a maturity framework segmented into three major steps, and a point based system that brands can use to self-assess their quality. Lastly, you’ll find a breakdown in roll out steps from plotting the impact of strategy, choose business impact, choose application type, add features, extend platform support, then finally globalize.
This is Open Research: Use it, share it, and we’ll publish more, the full report is embedded below, which you can download, use and share with attribution. I’ll be working closely with Chris in future research projects, so I recommend you follow Chris on Twitter, and contact him at chris at altimetergroup dot com if you’ve further questions on the mobile landscape.
2012 Superbowl Ad Analysis: Corporate URLs still reign supreme
2012 Superbowl Ad Analysis: Less than one-third of Ads don't promote cross channel
Only the Most Advanced Companies are Conducting Social Business Holistically, Beyond Individual Silos
Only the Most Advanced Companies Are Integrating Social Data into Customer Databases
Advanced Companies are Formalizing Processes to Intake Customer Insights
By Altimeter’s Jeremiah Owyang, Brian Solis, and Zak Kirchner
Findings: Five Trends Indicate Cross Channel Integration a Mainstay. Super Bowl ads, while only representing the nation’s largest consumer facing ads are a bellwether for advertising trends for the remainder of the year. To best understand these trends, Altimeter Group’s research team analyzed each Ad in real time, and conducted analysis to best understand the advertising trends for 2012. Using Chicago as a middle ground, we reviewed all ads from kickoff till the game clock expired and found that trends out of 87 advertisements.
- Trend 1) Brands Heavily Invested in Promoting Traditional Websites
- Trend 2) Surprisingly, Many Did Not Promote a Call-To-Action
- Trend 3) Only a Sixth of Ads Explicitly Promoted Social Media
- Trend 4) Hashtag Marketing Emerged to Stimulate Continual Engagement
- Trend 5) Cutting Edge Marketers Teased with New Marketing Tactics, including Shazam
Above Graphic One: 2012 Superbowl Ad Analysis: Less than one-third of Ads don’t promote cross channel
Above Graphic Two: 2012 Superbowl Ad Analysis: Less than one-third of Ads don’t promote cross channel
Rather than push for fans and followers on social sites, brands invested in promoting traditional websites, and experimented with new forms of engagement like applications, Shazam, and even promoting hashtags. We found five trends:
Trend 1) Brands Heavily Invested in Promoting Traditional Websites
We found that 49% linked to a corporate website URL, also 9% linked to a microsite URL for a total of 57% of all Ads linking to traditional URLs. This standard deployment comes at no surprise, as a call to action is often needed for advertising ROI, and traffic surges are often the most common way to measure this. Surprisingly, despite many game watchers having multiple devices on in tandem to the TV, a whopping 32% did not have any online references to either a URL, or even a social site.
Trend 2) Surprisingly, Many Did Not Promote a Call-To-Action
In a surprising move, brands did not have a direct call to action. In fact, 32% did not link to any social site or URL as listed in trend 1. For example Chrysler’s Imported from Detroit showed the logos of their car lines, but did not have any URLs. Likely this is due to high brand recognition of brands, and the goal was to drive awareness, consideration –but not drive leads or intent on a website. Why did brands do this? We believe for a few reasons: to drive conversation among friends, or to make an impactful statement, or lastly because we live in a Google world, consumers can readily find URLs without being prompted.
Trend 3) Only a Sixth of Ads Explicitly Promoted Social Media
We define this instance as Ads that showed their social networking accounts like Facebook, Twitter, or even hashtags in text, or sometimes even written on signs in the ad content itself. Unlike previous Super Bowls where consumer generated ads were infused with traditional ads, we saw less than expected integration of content from the crowd. This year, we didn’t see any explicit mentions of content that was created by the crowd. Furthermore we found low integration with social media, in fact, 16% of brands linked or mentioned their social networking accounts. Among them 11% linked to Facebook, 2% to Twitter. We did not capture any integration with Youtube, Linkedin, or Google+. Despite the low explicit mentions of social in the Ads, nearly all of the ads are cross-posted on YouTube.
Trend 4) Hashtag Marketing Emerged to Stimulate Continual Engagement
While Twitter helped to promote their platform with the Twitter Ad Scrimmage (which lists more hashtags than we saw in-Ad), we found that 6 ads explicitly promoted hashtags (total of 7%), and only 2 brands promoted their Twitter accounts (2%). Interestingly, when hashtags were deployed, we found that traditional URLs nor a request to fan or follow. To highlight, General Electric’s Ad focuses on how their technology is a key component of the beer value chain, pointed only to a hashtag “#whatworks” rather than promote a URL or a social networking account. I asked GE’s Twitter account why they did this and they responded to me in Twitter “@jowyang It’s all about shared conversation tonight (and tomorrow). We want to hear from people. #whatworks” This sea change in tactics is an indicator of how brands want to extend the experience beyond the expensive 30 second Ad to an ongoing permanent discussion. Additional hashtag engagement was found by Budweiser pushing #makeitplatinum (in two ads, by our count), Audi’s #SoLongVampires, Best Buy’s #betterway, and underwear line using #beckhamforhm. These investments appeared to pay off as both Budweiser’s “#makeitplatinum” and Audi’s #SoLongVampires became trending topics minutes after their ads published, there was no indicator that either were sponsored.
Trend 5) Cutting Edge Marketers Teased with New Marketing Tactics, including Shazam
Beyond promotion the traditional website, microsite and social media account, brands have started experimenting with promoting new forms of marketing engagement for a total of 11% total incidence. To extend the experience, 3 ads promoted applications (often showing on an iPhone like Citibank’s Ad), 3 promoted SMS interaction, and GoDaddy promoted a QR code. We found that brands were integrating Shazam, a music finding application. In particular, Elton John in an Q1 Pepsi Ad was the first to promote this integration, encouraging further interaction by downloading media. Although not emerging, in the traditional sense, Etrade even promoted their phone number, which likely drove direct engagement. Brian Solis notes that this extends the experience and audience now becomes more engaged by downloading and consuming media beyond the game day.
Summary: Promoting Traditional Websites Still King –Social Integration Nascent
A majority of efforts had a focus on making a market impact by asserting new positioning, and linking to traditional websites and microsites. Unlike previous years which pushed CGM in Ad content, or a direct push to fan and follower, brands in 2012 were more focused on engagement in social media, extending the life of the campaign. A set of brands didn’t promote any cross-channel engagement, instead focusing on a powerful message, which we should expect to be a trend as brands can be found in every channel, esp aided by search. New forms of marketing are emerging that result in integrating data from applications, as well as mobile experiences, that we’ll continue to see pioneer through the year.
Altimeter Group, a research advisory firm, had a team of researchers including Jeremiah Owyang, Zak Kirchner, and a third party oursourced resource for independent data collection take note of each advertisement and notate if they linked to a URL, (corporate website or microsite) mentioned social media, or used other tools in the Chicago area, which is mid-country. Secondly, Altimeter retrieved a list of brands that were advertising and was able to retrieve Facebook fan and Twitter follower numbers in order to compare pre versus post (stay tuned). Scope of ads captured were post-kickoff, to end of game when game clock expired. We did not use ads mentioned by NBC during the game highlights. We found that some ads were localized for the Chicago market vs other markets, however the ratios and trends cross-country are likely accurate. In the spirit of Open, we’ve made the data public on Google Sheets.
Update: AdRants has commented on the data. Update: This data mentioned on USA Today.
Last week was a tremendous change, giant marketer P&G announces 1600 layoffs as they reduce jobs in various roles, and instead shifting budget to digital marketing. The CEO, when pressed, indicates a strong focus on digital marketing, citing:
“In the digital space, with things like Facebook and Google and others, we find that return on investment of the advertising when properly designed, when the big idea is there, can be much more efficient” -Bob McDonald, Chairman-CEO, P&G
Yet this is a trend, as P&G had previously cut advertising spend on soap operas on traditional TV, and continues to grow their social marketing efforts such as the wildy successful Old Spice campaign franchise.
Three Industry Impacts:
The industry should see this as a bellwether moment. This spending giant has significantly shifted funding towards digital marketing, and marketers should take note as it indicates that digital marketing will:
See an increase in spend in overall digital marketing. Overall this is an indicator of continued growth towards digital which includes mobile, web and social. In fact, a recent report indicates the overall digital spend to be $40.6 billion. Yet within this, mobile is a fast mover with a growth rate of 50.2%, to a mere $1.8 billion, while social technology and service will rise by 33.3%, to $2.1 billion.
Makes marketing accountable, through analytics and tracking. Unlike traditional mass advertising and carpet bombing styles of marketing, digital marketing can be instantly tracked providing analytics to decision makers, and eventually helping marketers to course correct an effort in real time. Expect future generation analytics software will start to be predictive –rather than just historical.
Will need to integrate paid, owned, and earned. Yet despite the shift towards digital, the savvy agencies and marketers are already thinking in an integrated fashion to use these tools cross channel, cross experience, and cross audience. We even saw for one of the first times, P&G is experimenting cross-brand, by inserting Old Spice into the Bounce category.
As Jeremy Epstein notes, this all comes on the eve of this week’s massive Facebook IPO, where most revenues are generated by advertisements on this social network. The savvy already know to get with the changing times, or get ready to dust off the resume. Update: Thanks to Gerry Corbett for first bringing this to my attention during a conference we were both at.