The Google Advert – Would you give it a +1?


We all love a good story, and everything I’m reading at the moment relating to social media is focusing on exactly that. Just look at the recent Facebook Timeline and sudden interest in Pinterest where pictures/videos are telling us ‘stories’.

So I wasn’t at all surprised when I saw the Google+ advert the other evening. We follow Tom (wasn’t he the guy who was your first friend on Myspace? Just kidding) on a journey through his life with the help of Google+ to share special moments with his family and friends. We’ve never before seen an advert solely promoting a social platform in the UK, but this is the angle that Google have taken. With their hangout feature there is a sense of “look what we’ve got that Facebook and Twitter haven’t”, and the cherry on the cake has to be the tongue in cheek tagline, ‘That’s a plus’.

Like the IE9 advert it has the hallmarks of desperation, if a social network is worth its salt it will attract users, as we saw with Myspace, then Facebook and more recently Pinterest.

These playground antics are getting pretty boring and the fact that the battle has now jumped from our computer screens, tablets and smart phones to our TV screens is invasive. If there wasn’t already enough mediums out there to choose from!

Social media is about what the user wants to experience. We pick the things we want to see and discard those that we don’t. It appears that because they are Google, that there should be a given right to rule the social media world. It’s been no picnic for Facebook and Twitter over the years, but they’ve evolved and more and more people have joined the platforms.

Google+ needs to be patient.

Since the launch of the advert, Google have announced changes to the current layout of Google+ in their bid “Toward a simpler, more beautiful Google”. You’ll soon see trending topics…like Twitter, and cover images…like Facebook. The other big change is the use of threaded conversations that will work similarly to Google’s emailing system, Gmail. At least there’s some familiarity.

Critics have called the social media platform a ‘ghost town’, so it is again no surprise that this is the next thing Google are pulling out of the bag. I have read that Google have spent $12 million in the US on their social network advertising, so it seems that they’ll stop at nothing to be the best. Even The Muppets featured in one campaign!

It would be far too easy to pull Google to pieces and say that Google+ had failed, much like its predecessors Google Buzz and Google Wave. They are trying to drive awareness of the platform, but I think they’ve missed the mark with this one. Yes, social media is all around us but appearing on our TV screens is perhaps a step too far and not the right medium to use.

Google’s EMEA director Obi Felten wants the public to see how the platform works, but we’re brighter than we’re given credit for here. Look how Myspace, Facebook, Twitter have evolved. People have signed up and used the platforms daily.

Learn by doing.

I don’t think this is the last we’ll see of Google+. This looks more like a push forward than a damning campaign that they’ll be regretting in 6 months time. Whilst still far behind Facebook in their number of users, we must remember that Facebook started in 2004 and Google+ just 9 months ago.

Whilst it fails to deliver anything truly unique to set it apart from it’s rivals – notably Facebook – to ignore it would be a mistake given how much dominance that Google has over the search market and SEO.

Let’s give it a chance. Let’s give it a plus.


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Sarah Baird

As well as managing D4's projects, Sarah's interests are in disruptive technologies, 3D printing, social media and eCommerce trends, Game of Thrones and making jam.

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