A clever, and perhaps to be expected move from Google in their quest to ensure all properties are more integrated together. Now when a user signs up for a Google Account, they are also required to sign up for Gmail and Google+. This will be a shot in the arm for Google+ and the continuous growth of its user numbers. Gmail recently announced it now has 350 million active users so we should see an uptake in their userbase as a direct result of this too.
A Google spokesman told us: “We’re working to develop a consistent sign-up flow across our different products as part of our efforts to create an intuitive, beautifully simple, Google-wide user experience. Making it quick and easy to create a Google Account and a Google profile enables new users to take advantage of everything Google can offer.”
Speculation has been rife for weeks about the number of users on Google+ and more importantly, the level of engagement on the social layer. How many of the total users actually use it regularly and keep on coming back? In its earning release recently, (of course on Google+) On the earnings call, Larry Page told us: “Engagement on + is also growing tremendously. I have some amazing data to share there for the first time: +users are very engaged with our products — over 60% of them engage daily, and over 80% weekly.“
A very carefully worded statement, you might agree because this is overall engagement on Google products, and not just on Google+ itself. As a result, tech pundits still believe engagement is relatively low on the platform.
We all know that some sites can live or die based on engagement and at the same time there are numerous ways to increase engagement. The ways of making sites and apps more “social” vary: the focus may be on creating more sharable content, while others add comment sections, forums, or social sharing buttons like retweet, share, and like to increase the potential reach of the content the user is reading. Recent research from Gigya tells us that users spend 50% more time on sites when they’re logging in through social networks – which equates to four more minutes with a social login than with a standard login. So if you’re looking for site engagement, it would be wise to allow login through social.
3 hours. This data was sampled for the month of December, 2011 across 500+ Pages and over 30,000 individual Posts by Edgerank Checker. The average Facebook page size was approximately 140,000. Of course it differs by brand and vertical, some pages experienced a half life for posting of over 10 hours, whilst other updates only lasted on average 15 minutes!
The updates that stick around longer are because the brand page has a higher EdgeRank, so these updates occupy the News Feed for longer periods of time. Of course, updates that are visibile for longer have more opportunities for Engagement and thus will continue to extend their lifetime.
Facebook Shares can also provide an important boost to how long an update stays around for. A Share populates it into new News Feeds which gives it more opportunity for engagement. Naturally, focussing on building content to be Shared can increase the lifetime of an average post.
Instagram is a success story in how keeping the product simple and intuitive has seen them carve out a niche compared to much more technically superior mobile photography applications. Let’s not foret that it still only runs on iPhone (with an Android version to follow soon) whilst early adopter brands include some of the largest: Starbucks, which joined in 2010 and now has over 200,000 followers, Red Bull (95,000 followers) and Burberry (151,000 followers). Media properties including NPR and The New Yorker are present along with Nike, and Obama who has joined the platform in the past month. 400m photos have been uploaded and they now have 15m users since October 2010.
Why Instagram? Because it lets brands show their most ardent fans what’s going on behind the scenes. It allows a huge brand to become more personable and give brands more of a human voice rather than being an unobtainable corporation.
Amy Cole, Head of Business Operations at Instagram tells us “Brands that use Instagram are generally looking to forge a more personal connection with their customers. Photos can be so emotional. It’s a great way for users to really connect with a brand in a way that’s different from text posts.”
Is your brand on Instagram?
Fashion accessories marketplace, Boticca, is one of the first retailers to add Pinterest to its social sharing tools with the addition of the “Pin It” button to its website alongside Twitter, Facebook and Google+ to allow its users to easily share their products online.
“Pinterest users are creative, seek inspiration and look for beautiful and unique designs, which are exactly what Boticca designers offer.” says Boticca‘s COO and co-founder Avid Larizadeh. “We always aim to provide our designers with the latest tools to help them spread their work and grow their business – from Facebook stores to the “Pin It” button.”
What’s Pinterest? It’s a visual bookmarking site that’s still invite only and allows you to visually organise and share all the things you find on the web. You can browse pinboards curated by other people to discover new things and get inspiration from people who share your interests and you can showcase what you are interested in, items you have shared, or repinned (similar to retweeting on Twitter.)
It’s war on social. With Google now requiring you to sign up for + and Gmail together, Facebook hit back by offering brands a 50% discount on Facebook Advertising if brands link to their Facebook pages rather than their company websites. It’s a bold move to more aggressively monetize the platform and fight back against its competition.
“If brands invest money coming up with campaigns that are social by design, Facebook gives them some money back in lower advertising – that feels fair to me,” says Simon Mansell, TBG Chief Executive.
TBG’s study shows that the overall cost per thousand ad impressions (CPMs) grew 8% year on year so all eyes are now on when Facebook will publically float on the stock market, rumoured to be as early as May.
And finally, an important video surfaced internally by @DavidCushman which helps to understand the risk the internet is at from legislation like SOPA and PIPA and how we can prepare ourselves, with the threat not looking like it’s going anywhere soon.