In the world of online marketing, nothing ever stays the same. Today, we saw the launch of a newly designed (and drastically different) Google+. First YouTube and now this? C’mon Google, I need some time to breathe! The focus of the new Google+ design is clear – there is an even greater emphasis on content and each update is meant to encourage sharing and social engagement. Here are the changes I’ve noticed:
- New Column Layout: the new design seems to be responsive. Depending on the size of the screen you’re viewing from, you will see either one, two or three columns.
- Chat becomes Hangout: my chat was enabled and I see that it has been changed to make Hangouts within circles much easier.
- Much (MUCH) Bigger Visuals: we all know visuals drive engagement and Google has taken this fact to heart by using big visuals. Not only are the pictures bigger, cover photos for both profiles and business pages have both increased.
- #Hashtag for Content Exploration: my favourite feature! It looks like hashtags are automatically added to your posts and clicking on them will allow you to browse and explore related posts and relevant content.
Overall, I don’t mind this new design although it does feel very Pinterest-y to me. Visual content is huge because I did not see a single post with no picture or video attached. Scrolling through my feed, I see that certain posts are featured and made bigger than others. Although shares and engagement do seem to be higher on those posts, not all high engagement posts are featured – I wonder what goes into the algorithm calculations? I also do like the trending topics and community suggestions as you scroll through the feed, done very tastefully and subtle. From a marketer’s standpoint, the takeaway seems to be this: here is another argument for content marketing with an even higher focus on visual content. Since the objective is to drive content exploration, your updates should have clear messaging that can be easily hashtagged. Google+ just got a whole lot more interesting!