Whilst Google+ was advertised in the US back in November, the UK had to wait for this weekend to receive the online giant’s mainstream TV marketing. Aired during Britain’s Got Talent, arguably the country’s favourite Saturday night show, with peak viewing figures of 12.6 million, a social network has never exposed itself to the masses in such a way before. So will people in the UK be reaching for their mice this week and setting up G+ profiles?
The ad follows the life and G+ posts of a fictional character, Tom Barker, whilst popular actor, Benedict Cumberbatch, star of the Sherlock Homes mini-series’ reads the monologue starting ‘All the world’s a stage’ from Shakespeare’s As You Like It, also known as ‘The Seven Ages of Man’. The very neatly packaged and concise ad certainly tugs at your heartstrings in the way Christmas adverts sometimes do. It promotes the message that sharing through Google+ is not only like real life, it is real life and subtly suggests that you could be missing out on key points in relationships or forget them if you don’t store them in Google’s memory bank. Tom’s wife, first child, friends and then grandchildren are all in there and you are left with the text, “A life lived and shared. That’s a plus.”
It cleverly begins with a shot of Google search, bringing a familiarity to viewers from the off, whilst it also says something about trust – you trust us to provide your search results so trust us to be your social network of choice. Additionally, it serves as a reminder to those in social media and SEO that social search is here and here to stay. It carefully illustrates the various functionalities of the platform with circles being positioned at the fore. It seems more than coincidence that the ad should air the day after Facebook’s timeline was rolled out, which I understand from just a few of my own friends is not being received well. Facebook always felt quite private but now people are suddenly being reminded that the platform is a slightly uncomfortable record of your life – just have a look at some of the posts you made a few years ago and trust me it’s unnerving.
What is interesting is that Google+ is using this same view as the reason to use its network but through its circles function (being able to group people and share content with them on a case-by-case basis) it is promoting that the user has control over his or her life story, or should I say stories. One can group people in Facebook but it was never at the heart of the platform so users on the whole have never bothered to create and populate groups. If there was ever a time for people to be a little more interested in signing up, you’d think it could be at the advent of the TV ad campaign when Facebookers are a little more disgruntled than usual. However, initial enquires of my own suggest people aren’t yet attracted.
This morning I posted the following on Facebook – A. Did you see the Google+ TV advert over the weekend? B. Have you got a G+ profile? C. If no, do you think you may sign up sometime in the next month? Clearly, 11 responses isn’t the survey of the century but it offers interesting insight.
A – nine people didn’t see the advert, two did
B – five people do not have G+ accounts, six people do (four of which say they are not active on it whilst one said they are very active)
C – All five who do not have G+ accounts said they do not think they will sign up in the next month
From these results I’m not sure that the advert is going to make a difference and persuade these Facebook users to sign up for Google+ but with so many of them not seeing the ad yet, I suppose there’s still a chance! What is an on-going concern for the platform is how to encourage those who do have an account to actually use it.
I was an early adopter of Google+ and whilst I know very few people on there I do use it moderately. I foresee that when a large percentage of friends that I regularly interact with on Facebook start to appear on G+, I’ll slowly start to shift my social media usage. The snowball effect could easily happen very quickly but at the moment it seems few people in the UK are giving that snowball much of a push.