Word of the Week: Google+

Posted by Tom Sather on

Google+, Google’s newest foray into social networking, has been available for a few weeks now with a user base of about 20 million users. Not too shabby considering how new it is, but it still pales in comparison to Facebook’s 750 million users. In the meantime, the big questions from me are how this will impact email and email marketing. Here’s my roundup of recent noteworthy articles and blog posts on Google+:

Google+ and Gmail Integration
Gmail engineer Mark Striebeck noted that Google “is working on several Gmail / Google+ integrations.” He’s also soliciting creative feedback from Gmail users on how they would like to see Gmail and Google+ integrated. You can provide your feedback on how to integrate social concepts into Gmail here and here. If you want to follow progress on this integration, and also just follow progress on general Gmail product development, you can follow Mark Striebeck on Google+ here.

Google+ and Email Marketing
Google+ is also making email more social. Hubspot shares their insights into how email marketers more than ever need to have compelling, share worthy content due to the fact that Gmail users can share content from the inbox via a dropdown menu. Doing this allows for your subscribers to do targeting for you as they share content to relevant Google+ circles.

Businesses have been told not to set up Google+ profiles just yet as they are working on a specific platform for these users. No doubt that Google+ will be beneficial by allowing customer service to chat or hold webinars with customers via Google Talk or through Hangout, Google+ video chat. The other big question on my mind, will Google+ allow businesses to subscribe email addresses for non-Google+ users for sharing content and further blurring the lines between email and social marketing?

Chris Brogan for Forbes lists the top 10 things that CMOs need to know about Google+. He believes that marketers shouldn’t view Google+ as a social network but more of a communications platform like Twitter. Google is indexing all content on Google+ so it’s easy to see what people are saying about your brand and how they’re sharing your content. He also says it doesn’t matter if Google+ becomes a Twitter or Facebook killer. Why? In Google+’s first two weeks of existence, it’s become the #1 referrer of traffic to his site.

Jay Miller from ExactTarget has a great write up of what Google+ means for email and businesses as well, and agrees that it will be a powerful tool to share content and drive traffic.

Google+ Invite Scams
While the hype and excitement of a new Google launch has resulted in things like eBay auctions for invites, Return Path’s Chief Security Officer, Sam Masiello, warns that the exclusivity to Google+ is spawning cybercriminals to create fraudulent Google+ invites to capture email addresses for the purpose of spamming or spear phishing.

What are your plans for Google+? Will it prove to be a useful tool in marketer’s already widening arsenal, or will it turn out to be just another platform to be used and abused by spammers?


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About Tom Sather

Email data and deliverability expert Tom Sather has worked with top-tier brands to diagnose and solve inbox placement and sender reputation issues as a strategic consultant with Return Path. As the company’s senior director of research, Tom is a frequent speaker and writer on email marketing trends and technology. His most recent analysis of new inbox applications’ effects on consumer behavior was widely cited across leading business media outlets including the Financial Times, Ad Age, and Media Post.

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