Posted December 27, 2011 9:22 am by with 9 comments

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I know it seems like I am obsessing over the fact that Google is marketing Google+ but it is a rare phenomenon in this world to see a company that almost never used traditional advertising channels now turn to them to build awareness around a critical piece of their story.

We have seen plenty of TV ads for Chrome that elude to the Google ecosystem but recently that are all about Google+ and nothing else. We have seen the Muppets and I have seen one ad with NBA analysts during the opening day marathon of games on Christmas Day.

One that caught my eye though was this from the New York Post’s online edition.

The ad is pretty cool in its simplicity which almost looks like the Google homepage with plenty of white space and a simple directive of “Join Now”.

So once again why the interest in ads? It’s because this behavior is very unGoogle like. Maybe this is the continued influence of Larry Page or maybe Google+ is just not growing fast enough the old fashioned Google and Internet way which is because it’s Google.

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The reason for this change of heart and business practice is actually quite telling as to where Google is as a company. As the conspiracy theorist / “there must be an ulterior motive for everything!” side of me starts working you wonder if Google could point to this kind of effort when facing antitrust questioning to say “Look! We have to advertise just like the rest of the planet in order to get traction in social media! Maybe Facebook is a monopoly, Mr. Senator?”. Far fetched, I realize, but fun to consider.

So while the news cycle is slow during this traditionally slow time the activity is still alive and well. Activity that shows that in 2012 Google might be putting a “make or break” push on what many feel could be their final chance to make real inroads into the social space.

What’s your opinion?

  • i do agree with you that is odd to see Google going more mainstream in this advertising push for Google Plus. It makes sense though, because many of my non-“techie” friends have very little idea or interest in finding out what a Google+ is or does. It sounds like another Facebook, and most people have no inclination to dive into yet another social network. This is the uphill battle facing Google, and in this case, traditional advertising may be the key to significant growth.

  • Recall that the social media phenomenon is still quite recent. It wasn’t that long ago that the term “social media” meant nothing to anyone. There is still room for companies to try tactics that are new. New to them, anyway.

  • I suspect that the impetus is one (or both) of two things:

    1. Non-techies have been reluctant to sign up for “yet another social network”. I have a relative who signed up for Facebook because “everybody in the family is on it”, and won’t consider signing up for Google Plus until the family is already there. He signed up for LinkedIn, and joked that he had forgotten about signing up and up to the buzz around the IPO thought that the periodic emails he received were spam. Google Plus isn’t enough of a quantum leap forward to convince that class of users to sign up without a bit of extra prodding, even if they’re already using other Google services on a regular basis.

    2. Google wants to commoditize as many “social network” features as possible in as short a time as possible, to take the wind out of the sails of its potential competitors.

  • I agree with you! Google Plus isn’t nearly as popular as they hoped it would be by now. Since people aren’t joining in order to be with their friends (reason #1 for Facebook) or colleagues (reason #1 for LinkedIn), they’re hoping that people will be tempted join G+ and hang out with strangers if a commercial makes feel comfortable about it. But Google Plus discourages the low-profile or anonymous poking around that social media newbies enjoy on Pinterest and Twitter, and this is working to Google’s disadvantage.

  • Cynthia Boris

    Next you’ll find their ads on boxes of cereal complete with “G-Man” toy inside!

  • I definitely think it’s because Google+ isn’t catching fire like they probably assumed that it would. I have seen a lot of debate about whether it will survive against its competitors and feel like they need to do all of the advertising, pushing & linking it can. Great observations!

  • Marc

    Its funny I actually joined because I liked the idea of searching for topics and engaging with people who were NOT my friends as I have a lot of interests I don’t share with those closest to me.

    Its funny though, and maybe I am in the minority or just lucky, but I am actually finding more and more people I know joining G+. Its not happening all at once, a few per week maybe, but still a surprise given how so many comments suggest its a ghost town. It felt like that a few months ago for sure, but not so much anymore.

    • Marc, you are not in the minority. I have been meeting some very interesting folks on G+. All my relatives are on FB and many of them use it to play scrabble.

      I have an interest in photography and participate in the photo “theme of the day” project. Once I did that I found a high level of engagement and the opportunity to see some amazing work from creative folks throughout the world.

      Every week there is an article or two about how G+ isn’t Facebook. I’m glad it is not!

  • Today social media is taking care of everything and saw it changes the very google. In this new virtual world there is room for companies to try tactics that are unorthodox. With that we will see many unusual things!