Agencies have greeted Google’s launch of “+1” with a lukewarm response, the new social search initiative that will enable users to recommend AdWords campaigns.
The launch of “+1” has been compared to Facebook’s “like” button, which works in a similar way. The social service appears as a small button that will sit next to every Google Search result.
Online users can click the “+1” button and the content or ad will be shared with their social circle, and the public. The button also works on ads that appear in Google Search. Over the coming months, the project will also allow website publishers including news sites and blogs to install buttons with a “+1” logo on their web pages.
Director and creative partner at The Works, Douglas Nicol, cautioned that Google maybe attributing too much importance to peer recommendation: “This helps further social search through social proofing search results because the item returned is from a ‘trust’ source such as a friend or colleague. The implication for marketers is we need to develop a better understanding of what sources of information your target consumer trusts – increasingly there is evidence that close friends may not be the most trusted source.”
Mark Baartse, consulting director at search specialist First Rate, says it’s too early to judge the launch of “+1”, and is unimpressed by the name and the button itself.
“It feels a little bit mathematical and analytical; it lacks the appeal of ‘liking’ through Facebook or ‘tweeting’ on Twitter. I think a lot of people will adopt the button on their content quickly. Although Google got it wrong with its ill-fated social recommendation service Buzz, it’s not game over yet, but they still have a lot of catching up with Facebook to do.”
However, Andrew Hughes, senior consultant for SEO and SMO at MediaBrands search specialist, Reprise Media, believes the move could alter the way that some people use Google’s search engine, which accounts for the vast majority of the company’s nearly $US 30 billion ($29.1 billion) in annual revenue.
“Microsoft’s search engine Bing has Facebook integration and Google’s “+1” is their attempt to infiltrate the social space. Recommendation may be the strongest form of advertising, advertising can activate this, and build long term loyalty and recommendation.”
Hughes said the “+1” may also allow brands to target “niche audiences through specific content types,” adding “essentially it could increase the appeal of a website or ad to be clicked by a user in the search results, and longer term once Google gets past any gaming and spamming issues, it could become the ‘+1/LikeRank’ of the future which determines relevance.”
The new search feature won’t replace Google’s traditional search results, which are based on a mathematical algorithm that attempts to rank sites based on how relevant they are to a user’s query.
The search giant is expected to fuse other Google-owned properties such as YouTube with “+1”, and eventually Google will launch a way to connect all of those services into a major social-networking service to rival Facebook.
See the Ad News article by Darren Davidson here
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