A study of the Interbrand Top 100 Brands, showing Google+ Brand Page Adoption, Brand Investment and Engagement.
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It has been a little over a month since Google+ made brand pages available. With this launch, brands finally have the opportunity to use this growing social channel to engage with their consumers. Many questions remain about what the future holds for the search giant’s social network. In this analysis we lay out the developing trends for Google+ and provide insight about the key questions brand marketers are looking to answer. We focused our research on the Interbrand Top 100 list and will evaluate the brands and verticals that have already entered the Google+ arena. We have removed Google Inc. from all of our data as they are an outlier in each of our reports. The data for this report comes from Simply Measured Google+ Analytics.
An impressive 61 out of the top 100 brands have already created a page on Google+. Of those, 31% were launched within the first 24 hours and 63% were up and running within the first week. A handful of the brands have registered their page but have yet to engage with their base. All of which points to the fact that brands are curious to see what Google+ pages can do for their marketing and social strategies. And while it’s too early to predict whether or not this new social channel is going to steal market share from other social networks, brands were clearly eager to stick their toe in and try it out.
One way Google+ differentiates itself from the competition is how users have to make a concerted effort to add a brand page to their circle, before the brand can share updates with the user. By doing this, the user has more control of the information in their stream but it also limits how information is passed from brands to circlers. However, this might be slightly too restrictive as only 21% of pages had circler counts (which can be equated to Facebook page fans) over 5,000. When it comes to circle size, there is no one type of industry or vertical that dominates the top 10 list at this time as the stand-out early adopter brands come from a range of different verticals . In addition, there is a high concentration of “share” at the top – with the top 10 having a combined 5x larger audience on Google+ than the rest of the list. If these early adopters continue to grow, the laggards may find an uphill battle to gain a following comparable to their peers.
As marketers attempt to define their strategy with this new outlet, they look towards the early adopters to see who has the strongest potential for dominating the space. In doing so, we can also learn what tactics should (and should not) be emulated. Looking at the top performers from the Interbrand 100, it is interesting to note that the top 15 is comprised of brands from a variety of verticals. No single vertical is completely dominating the space.
When we look at the data from a brand page perspective, Ferrari and Volkswagen are leading the charge with the most brand posts and highest levels of engagement. Engagement doesn’t always follow post volume. For example, H&M is second when it comes to brand posts but 20th when it comes to engagement. This suggests that they have room to improve how they engage their circlers with the content provided.
From a vertical perspective automotive and electronics lead the charge with the highest volume of brand posts and the largest volumes of total circlers.
As with any new channel, marketers are eager to jump in and start optimizing their content strategy with hopes of maximizing their engagement rates. With Google+, there was an initial burst of activity on brand pages, but now that the initial wave has settled down, brands are settling in and trying to determine the most effective content strategy.
Despite having comparatively smaller user bases than other social networks, Google+ brand pages are showing incredibly strong engagement relative to their base: 59% of the pages that have activated their page had engagement rates over 10%. And when it comes to content types, the highest volume (68% of total) of content being posted is interactive – photos and videos. This approach seems to be paying off as well – interactive content makes up 70% of the engagement happening on Google+.
Current trends show that the brands are most frequently posting during regular business hours (5am to 5pm PT). Because of this, it is only natural that consumer engagement follows this trend, which is exactly what is happening. Currently, 85% of the engagement that takes place happens during working hours (5am to 5pm PT) and 91% of all engagement happens on the weekdays. Based on these two data points we can conclude that the primary use of Google+ currently happens at work, not at home.
It’s definitely too early to make any sweeping statements about the future of Google+, particularly since it is the holiday season and brands are focusing their attention elsewhere. But overall we can see that there is interest in the network from both brands and users. Brands and consumers are trying to determine how this new channel fits into their strategy and their life. We will be following Google+ adoption and engagement over the next few months and will continue to publish our findings as more information becomes available.
Note: There are two brands not called out in this list as they have activated a page for a business unit (or multiple) but not for the entire organization – they are HP and Microsoft. Also, Google has been removed due to the fact that they were an outlier in every chart.
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