A Liveblog from the May 2013 B2B Huddle

Livia Giulia Zuppardo, Google+ product specialist, Google

Why could Google+ be useful in the future?

Google+ is the next generation of Google – they’re using it to add more features to Google to make it a more personalised experience. The personal element should make it easier to find exactly what you’re looking for.

Elephant in the room: users. There are lot of communities that have established themselves on Google+.

The latest numbers suggest that they have 500m users who have created Google+ accounts and started using the product. Active users? 135m users visit the Google+ site. But 235m are using any of the social features of Google+. That’s in 18 months – they see this as remarkable group.

They want to add sharing and social ability sot all of their products. They’re integrating it into all of the products – and this will continue.

What about businesses? There are four things:

Better discovery – things are relevant only when people are interested. A recommendation from a  colleague can be forgotten about, but if that shows up in search, that makes a difference. This is about socially inspired brand awareness. Search + your world aims to bring social recommendation to search pages. The left hand column is based on personalised results, the right hand side on brand-submitted material. KLM used this to respond to a website hack. It’s not about dragging people to a destination social network.

Deeper engagement: what tools could we give to give better user engagement? Topshop and Google+ worked together to create a whole different launch experience. It wasn’t just about the marketing, but allowing a more social buying experience. Circles allow for more targeted marketing messages. LateRooms.com divided their users into circles based on language, and only share with the relevant language groups. Hangouts – video chats – allow 10 people to interact. You can use screenshare and Google docs collaboration. You can event build apps around it. Dell does this really well – they do regular customer support and unboxing work, using Hangouts on Air – a live streaming version of Hangouts. You can add anything you can add to a webpage to a Hangout.

(Can it be used internally? Yes, just schedule it as a meeting with just the people involved. That’s how Google uses it.)

Communities reflect the fact that they see Google+ as a place where like-minded people come together. She found a 19,000 member fibre broadband community.

Marketing Performance across the web: Ocado uses videos from hangouts as ads – and they perform better than their conventional ads. Social annotations are the personal recommendations they show on search – and which can be added to ads, for a 5 to 10% uplift in click through rates. In automative, it has reduced the cost of conversions by 91%.

**Measure the impact: **Ripples are a great way of identifying advocates and influencers. They track comments and reshares. If you identify the people who triggers shares, you can put them in a special circle, and share special material with them. Integrates with Analytics to show how conversions are helped by social interactions. You can prove both direct social conversions – and assisted conversions.

Questions & Answers

How could we measure success of our Hangout? Follower increases, Ripples around shares…

**If we invested a lot of time and money – what assurances do we have you won’t kill it like Reader? **Google+ is not going to be like Reader – it’s the next generation of Google. There’s no end date. It’s something we’re strong invested in. It’s about adding to the user experience, and we nurture this.

Can you talk about the demographics of the Google+ users? In vague terms – otherwise I get fired. In the first few months it was skewed towards male and technical. In the year since, that has normalised. I wouldn’t be too worked about that. Male technical people tend to be quite vocal (no offence) – they start a lot of the conversations, but they are not the only ones out there.

How do we best connect personal pages with brand pages? You need a personal profile to create a brand page – which you can use as a brand. The best interactions we’ve seen are around those who show who the people are working on the page. Dell and Virgin America are using their CEOs to interact on the brand page.