Google +1, Google’s answer to the Facebook “Like” button, is now live for all. So what is it, and how will it affect search and marketing? I asked our resident search guy, Nick DiPietro, for his thoughts on the new feature.
How does Google +1 work?
When you are signed into a Google account and you search on Google.com, a little +1 button will be located next to the organic and paid search results. Websites can also use the +1 button, so you may see it on certain sites you browse. By clicking the +1 button, you are telling your Google contacts that this is a site, product, etc. you recommend. So your contacts will see your recommendation if their search is relevant to your +1. Google describes the +1 action as “word of click” instead of “word of mouth”.
How does it compare to the Facebook “like” button?
They are very similar. They both show you who has recommended a site, product, etc. It is also similar to the Like button in that the +1 button will be available for website use as well.
Reviews of Google +1 are saying it’s impractical. Do you think it will catch on?
Well I think it will be dependent on the person. For those people that have a ton of Google contacts that login before searching, then it may serve a purpose. For those that don’t, it will be less significant. Personally, a lot of my email contacts aren’t Google accounts, so they won’t be able to share their Google searching experience with me. Also, I may be in the minority here, but the majority of the time when I search on Google I’m not necessarily logged into any of my Google accounts. I tend to logout of Gmail before my browsing expedition continues. And if I catch myself searching on Google without being logged into my Google accounts I don’t think I’ll react like this “Oh shit, I should login into my Gmail so that when I search on Google, like I’m doing now, I can see the +1 buttons.” Furthermore, if you are searching and you find a site or ad that takes you to something you like, are you really going to be inclined to go back and +1 those listings? I know it’s just a few clicks back, but I don’t know that the general population will care enough.
If it does catch on, how will Google +1 affect search marketing?
I think any type of trustworthy button or logo will help ads in terms of CTR (clickthrough rate), but I don’t anticipate the success or failure of a campaign hinging on the +1 button.
Is there a value to marketers, or simply users?
If +1 somehow starts making money for companies then there will be a value to marketers. The value to the user will depend on the logged in searcher, their contacts, and how frequently their searching paths cross. Also, how frequently they make recommendations.
As with everything, there are possibilities with Google +1, as well as room for improvement. We’re excited to see how searchers and marketers react to the new feature, and how it might change the landscape of search. In the meantime, we’ll be trying it out right here on our blog, as well as the Media Two website.
Have you tried Google +1? What are your thoughts?