It seems another gem of information has come from Business Insider’s IGNITION conference on November 28th. We have heard a lot about Facebook from the conference already and apparently there is still more. However, this news is not quite focused on Facebook itself, but rather it is focused on a comparison between Facebook and Google Plus. Google Plus of course has been criticized quite a bit these days, being called a ghost town and being put out of mind by marketers. However, according to an interview from the IGNITION conference, the company may still have a few tricks up their sleeve to prove to marketers that their social network is not useless in marketing, or at least to the everyday internet users.
The interview with Google Plus’s VP of product, Bradley Horowitz was only a short 15 minutes long, but in that short time he was able to divulge quite a few points that show that Google Plus is still relevant. Of course, Horowitz mentioned Google Plus’s substantial amount of users, which is currently at about 400 million registered users with 100 million who return to the network monthly. Clearly, in regard to the amount of registered users, Google Plus still does not quite measure up, and this is the basis for most arguments that favor Facebook as top dog.
When Horowitz gets on the topic of comparing the marketing potential of both of the networks, this is what he says:
“When you and I are having a conversation, the least opportune thing you could do is have a guy with a sandwich board run between us and try to sell me a sandwich. I’m trying to connect with someone. I’m trying to communicate in that sacred space of social connection. It doesn’t matter if I ‘like’ the sandwich. It doesn’t matter if it’s personalized with my favorite mustard. That is the wrong moment to try to dangle a sandwich in front of me.”
This statement brings to question something quite interesting. For anyone who knows the story of Facebook’s beginnings, or for anyone who has seen the hit film The Social Network, this statement will appear very similar to the feelings that Mark Zuckerberg had toward advertising on the network in the beginning. The type of advertising that Horowitz is speaking of in the excerpt above is relatively recent. It could be argued that Facebook is able to get away with “dangling a sandwich” in front of users in such a way is because it happened over a great period of time. In the same regard, Google Plus has not been around nearly long enough to get away with that.
Either way, Horowitz heavily believes that the recommendation features that Google Plus offers are a more effective way to allow marketers to use a network. He argues that they allow users to look at the recommendations of their contacts instead of having product thrown in your face.
“It turns out recommendations are very valuable to users without compromising the user experience.”
The fact is, marketers enjoy the ability to get users attention in a way that is a bit assertive, because users may not know they are interested in something until they see it. Plus there are few data points proving that Facebook advertising compromises the social experience. So, I suppose the question is this; Does Horowitz’s argument for Google Plus hold any truth, or is he just defending the network while it is being beaten?
The full interview with Horowitz can be found in this Business Insider article.