March 30th, 2011: Google announces they’ve added the +1 button to SERPs, both for AdWords and organic. Nobody really knows what the +1 button thingy is, but we panic anyway.
June 28th: Google+ launches, tries to get everyone excited by making it invite only – Gmail style. It works, and everybody wants an invite so they can Hang Out with their early adopter pals. The +1 buttons kind of make sense now.
July 1st: Aaron joins Google+. Yay!
July 14th: Google+ has its 10 millionth member. Its largest markets are US and India (…).
September 20th: Google+ made available to everyone. Commence MySpace-style band spam.
September 21st : Everyone hangs out with will.I.am – told you there would be band spam! But it looks like Google spent a lot of money here…
November 7th: Just as everyone in the world expected, Google+ launches Business pages.
November 9th: Google not-so-subtly suggests that you connect your AdWords account with your company’s Google+ pages. Hoooooo boy.
April 12th, 2012 (estimated): Google announces that # of +1’s, +1-through-rate (PLOTR?) and bid-per-+1 become features of ad rank. Entire world explodes.
So here’s the thing. I’m just about as anti-Google+ as they come. I don’t get it. I don’t want to give a little plus sign because I found the hockey stick I wanted in a search. I’m sure there’s a valuable way to use it; I haven’t found it yet, but I know many others have.
With that said, I’ve come to one undeniable conclusion; Google+ is not going anywhere. Google redesigned every single one of their major products to accommodate a little +1 button or a notification bar somewhere. There are +1 buttons next to every single display URL on the SERP’s. There were more +1 buttons on top websites than there were Twitter buttons, just a month after launch. There’s the option to show +1 buttons on Google’s monstrous display network. Google+ has a lot of eyes already, and a lot of money behind it.
The SEER PPC team sat down for our weekly strategy meeting last week and starting hashing out what we thought about Google+ for Business. Does it mean anything for our clients? Should we link a client’s Plus page to their AdWords account? Is Google+ even going to matter for AdWords?
Yes, Yes, and Yes.
Typically when Google releases huge things like this (with significant investment), they tend to matter. The SEER PPC team discussed the roll out of Call Metrics as an example. Call metrics were launched November 2nd, 2010 as a free Beta. In late April 2011 Google says no more free lunch; all calls are going to cost $1. Right around Halloween this year, Google announced that you can bid on calls, and that Phone-Through Rate will factor in ad rank assuming you have data already. If you don’t have substantial PTR data, you start on the ground floor, with calls not helping (or hurting) you.
Our theory? We expect Google+ and other social factors to follow the same pattern and become a factor of Ad Rank or Quality Score. So, I’ll address a few questions that we expect many of you may have with these new fancy +1 features…
Should I create a Google Plus page for my business so I can link it to AdWords?
The impact from an AdWords perspective isn’t really known yet, so we highly doubt you’ll be hurt by not having a page. Don’t get going on a page unless you have a solid social strategy in place already.
If I have a Google Plus page for my business, should I link it to AdWords?
Absolutely. While we don’t know how much good it will do, it certainly can’t hurt! It’s always better in the AdWords world to establish a baseline sooner rather than later to give you a leg up before it hits the mainstream.
Should I write ads to get more +1’s?
Do you make money from +1’s? I didn’t think so. Focus on conversions!
Should I change my AdWords strategy?
No. No no no no no! Despite the theory that Google+ may matter soon, our strategy at SEER remains focused on driving conversions and sales in the most cost effective way possible. We’re certainly going to closely monitor the affect that +1's have on AdWords, as it’s always better to be ahead of the game!
So kids, what do you think? Is Google+ going to change the game for AdWords? SEO? The world?!?! Share your thoughts, strategies or doomsday theories below.