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New Google+ Features and Growth figures fromDecember 2012

Author's avatar By Dave Chaffey 17 Dec, 2012
Essential Essential topic

Google+ communities and 24 other minor new features

Value/Importance: [rating=2]

Recommended link: Google+ Communities Announcement

Google+ is certainly continuing to grow. In the announcement of this launch, Google reminds us about the adoption rate with these new figures:

Today Google+ is the fastest-growing network thingy ever. More than 500 million people have upgraded, 235 million are active across Google (+1’ing apps in Google Play, hanging out in Gmail, connecting with friends in Search…), and 135 million are active in just the stream”.

So we have to be aware of new features and question their value for marketing. How relevant do you think the new Communities feature is?

Google+ Communities

Remember Yahoo! Groups and Google Groups? Well, although these quietly continue to exist, the latest version of these is Google+ Communities. As with the equivalents on Facebook and LinkedIn there are public and private groups. Differences are that you can offer hangouts and Events to group members and there are defined categories for Groups. If you want to check them out, go to your Google+ and select Communities from the left sidebar:

Marketing implications of Google+ Communities

So how significant will these be for social media marketing for businesses? They  have potential for small businesses and publishers who are most active in staking a claim as you can see. However, there are few company or brand examples and this suggests they will be of minor importance.

For the publishers I’ve looked at there is very little difference from a Google+ Page, so they’re underwhelming. I think most businesses will ask “If we have a Google+ Page already where discussion should and can be prompted why do we need a Community as well”. I expect most to answer “We don’t”. It’s a similar situation to Facebook where since company pages have been available, groups tend to be more for personal use. So it’s a development to be aware of, but probably not to act upon for most.

Other new Google+ features

On 14th December Google rolled out 24 new features which were announced on the Google+ blog. These are mainly minor enhancements to existing features for Android and iOS mobile users, particularly related to photo sharing.

Of more relevance to business page owners, the Events feature has been updated so you can now send messages to specific guests and see who’s opened your invitation. The interface of Hangouts have also been enhanced.

Author's avatar

By Dave Chaffey

Digital strategist Dr Dave Chaffey is co-founder and Content Director of online marketing training platform and publisher Smart Insights. 'Dr Dave' is known for his strategic, but practical, data-driven advice. He has trained and consulted with many business of all sizes in most sectors. These include large international B2B and B2C brands including 3M, BP, Barclaycard, Dell, Confused.com, HSBC, Mercedes-Benz, Microsoft, M&G Investment, Rentokil Initial, O2, Royal Canin (Mars Group) plus many smaller businesses. Dave is editor of the templates, guides and courses in our digital marketing resource library used by our Business members to plan, manage and optimize their marketing. Free members can access our free sample templates here. Dave is also keynote speaker, trainer and consultant who is author of 5 bestselling books on digital marketing including Digital Marketing Excellence and Digital Marketing: Strategy, Implementation and Practice. In 2004 he was recognised by the Chartered Institute of Marketing as one of 50 marketing ‘gurus’ worldwide who have helped shape the future of marketing. My personal site, DaveChaffey.com, lists my latest Digital marketing and E-commerce books and support materials including a digital marketing glossary. Please connect on LinkedIn to receive updates or ask me a question.

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