Erin Everhart / Digital Marketing / November 8th, 2011

Are Branded Pages The Last Hurrah of Google+?

Yesterday, Google+ made the announcement that marketers
everywhere secretly knew was bound to happen and consumers everywhere secretly
dreaded: Branded
pages are now available for businesses
.

Google+ now enables users to create pages for any business, brand or
non-human entity. These are in five main categories: local business, brand,
company, arts or sports and other. For businesses, this means the ability to garner +1’s easily on Google+ interface, a factor that will influence your search rankings, a way to get found in Google’s Direct Connect search, and a host of other services similar to Facebook Pages.

If you’re a frequent reader, you’re all too familiar with
some of my coworkers’ opinions on Google+ here.
And here.
Oh, and even here. Needless to say the social network has caused quite the gossip in its
mere 5 months of existence. Let’s take a look at a brief history:

June 2011 — Google+ entered the social network market with a
home run: Make the thing exclusive and everyone will want to register.

July 2011 — Google announced that Google+ reached 10 million
users just two weeks after private launch, a feat that took both Facebook and
Twitter more than 2 years to reach.

September 2011 — Public launch. Days later, traffic is up
1,200%.

October 2010 — Chitika reported
that Google+ traffic plummeted 60%.

November 2011 — Branded Google+
pages have hit the market.

Was it just a coincidence that not even a month after
reports of its traffic falling by 60% that it unveils the newest update to the
product, the thing that will ultimately lead to its biggest cash cow? And was
it also a coincidence that it was announced in the same way that initially helped catapult traffic: by making it
available only to a “select few”? Granted, they did become available about 6 hours after the announcement, but that feeling of exclusivity was already established.

 

I’ll be interested to see just how much traffic the site gets over the next couple of days as a parade of people flock to create their branded pages. I’ll also be interested to see just how many pages stay active. Who wants to take bets that once traffic dips back down, ads will
be the next thing announced?

Are you still using Google+? What benefits do you think branded pages have for businesses?