Zeny Huang is an Emerging Media Strategist at JWT New York where she helps brands connect with fans in innovative and meaningful ways using social media. You can follow her on Twitter @Zenidala.
Converting Facebook’s 750 million active users to Google+ will be a long, difficult battle for the search giant. But converting brands to Google+ will be much easier if Google+ is able to solve advertisers’ biggest problems with Facebook — such as post-click engagement tracking, paid search inefficiencies and limited customization.
Advertisers drive paid media to their Facebook Pages because they want to be where their audience is, but there’s a major flaw in this strategy. Advertisers can’t track post-click engagement of non-Facebook ads driving to Facebook, and that’s a huge disadvantage in qualifying traffic and uncovering valuable user insights. Without such information, we can only guess whether media dollars are being well spent.
In a month or two, Google+ will launch its highly anticipated brand pages. Here are four reasons why marketers are right to be excited and why Google+ brand pages will provide a better branded experience than Facebook.
1. Better Search Opportunites
A major challenge with driving paid search ads to a Facebook page is that the Facebook.com domain generates a lower click-through rate (CTR), most likely due to people finding the domain irrelevant to their query. The low CTR makes for a low quality score in Google’s auction-model, which typically increases cost per click for paid search ads driving to Facebook versus a unique brand domain. The loss in cost efficiency of driving to a Facebook page has been an ongoing struggle for advertisers, particularly on Google, which has over 60% of the search market.
It would be crazy for search giant Google not to have search benefits for Google+ brand pages, whether it is a “certified check mark” callout (like on Twitter), a colored box around the listing, or possibly page-rank priority. Search benefits would likely be the strongest reason for brands to adopt a Google+ brand page. The only flaw in this theory is that giving brand pages’ extra benefits in search could raise the specter of anti-trust action and legal challenges.
2. More Customization
Facebook ad types are limited to just ads, sometimes with a video or poll, allowing for few branding or creative opportunities. Looking at the design of Google+ personal pages, I predict the two skyscraper-sized white spaces on each side of the profile will be opportunities for custom skinning of your brand page and for display or rich media ads.
Google+ users are probably cursing me for suggesting the placement of ads on the currently clean design of Google+, but I am speaking specifically about allowing brands to advertise and skin their own pages as seen on branded YouTube channels such as Old Spice and Miracle Whip. These are great examples of how Google+ brand pages can deliver stronger brand experiences and help brands raise awareness of special promotions, as well as letting them drive qualified traffic to pages outside of Google+.
I would not be surprised if advertising opportunities were immediately available after the launch of Google+ brand pages, since Google is fully prepared to support it with its Google Display Network, AdWords and DoubleClick advertising products.