When was the last time you saw a Facebook commercial while watching your television at home? I’m not sure whether it’s the same case outside of the United Kingdom but I’m fairly confident there has never been one aired here. The same goes for that of MySpace, Twitter and all the other mainstream social networks; yet to my surprise a commercial about Google+ appeared on my TV screen during an ad break this weekend, something unexpected in the social networking world as surely the best form of marketing would be… social.
So the main question that springs to mind is: Why? Why are Google pushing their new social network on British television? I imagine the initial reaction made by Facebook supporters and many other bloggers will be, “IT’S BECAUSE GOOGLE+ IS A FAILURE!” But I don’t believe this is the case. In the past we have discussed Google+’s initial growth in comparison to other social networks so I don’t think this is the concern, Obi Felten (Google’s EMEA director of consumer marketing) touched upon one of the reasons being that they wanted to rekindle the interest of original beta users who have missed out on all the updates released since June last year.
The commercial involves a touching life story of how one man progresses through family life as Google+ is used to record the most significant moments. Obi commented: “We realised we needed to drive awareness and show how Google+ is relevant and meaningful to people’s lives as it’s not easy to understand in one sentence – the best way to educate people about a product is to demonstrate it.” I was sceptical when first seeing the commercial but Obi’s comment clarified the need for a television ad; when trying to explain what Google+ is to people I always recommended that they check out the interactive demo for themselves, allowing the public to see it used first hand on their own television screens is probably one of the best ways to generate awareness for the product. I wouldn’t say this is a survival attempt by Google but instead an effort to push forward further, while still being around 750 million users behind Facebook we must remember that the social network is incredibly young and is growing at an exceptionally fast rate despite this.