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Is the third time the charm? Google is certainly hoping so following the beta launch of its latest attempt at building a social network, Google+.
And that hope may not be entirely misplaced. Many of those who have Google+ accounts have positive things to say about the search behemoth's social network.
Whatever the case, for marketers looking to stay ahead of the curve, Google+ is certainly going to be of interest. After all, despite its past failures in the social networking space, this is still Google we're talking about.
If it gets Google+ right, you can't discount the company's ability to expose it to a significant number of people through its search presence, antitrust investigation notwithstanding.
But how should marketers play Google+? Here are a few tips.
Wait and see is better than spray and pray.
In an effort to make sure they don't miss out on the next big thing, marketers are increasingly taking a look under the hoods of new digital products. This isn't a bad thing provided that there's a well-defined strategy involved. When there isn't, marketers fall victim to a spray and pray mentality that can be counterproductive.
As it relates to Google+, one thing is clear: it won't compete with Facebook anytime soon, if ever.
That means marketers don't need to place a bet yet; there will be plenty of time to jump on Google+ if and when there's a favorable, meaningful growth trend established.
Bet on AdWords.
If and when Google introduces advertising into the network, which it almost certainly will do if the product survives, there's good reason to believe that the advertising will be AdWords or AdWords-like.
Creepy Facebook-like 'social' ad units that take advantage of data gleaned from users' social graphs? They're always a possibility, but it appears that Google is trying to recreate Facebook sans privacy invading features. If this works, and Google sticks to the approach, it may decide not to get too creative with its Google+ ad offerings.
Expect a friendlier Google.
Marketers have become a huge part of the Facebook ecosystem, and it's no surprise that Facebook has cozied up to agencies and major brands. Google has made inroads on Madison Avenue in the past several years despite a rough beginning, and you can expect that it will work the angles to court marketers if and when it looks to monetize Google+.
That's because Google considers social networking crucial to its future. Even if it arguably isn't, the desire to make Google+ a success may create some interesting opportunities and incentives for marketers.