Google I/O 2013, New Google Products and Features, What It Means For Contractor Marketing
There were lots of new fun tools and products that were unveiled during the Google I/O 2013 keynote, like Google Play Music All Access and development in game play services. Let’s take some time to filter through the three and a half hours of keynote content and get to what these new innovations and changes at Google mean for you and your contractor marketing.
“1.4 Billion Mobile Devices on the World Wide Web”
If you ever doubted the prevalence of mobile devices, these staggering numbers should make you think twice. As announced at Google I/O, there have been 900 million Android activations and over 48 billion application installations. Apple reported 500 million iOS device activations during their earnings call in January 2013, and just recently announced 50 billion app downloads. Not taking into account mobile Windows devices, Blackberry devices, and older mobile devices, that means there are 1.4 billion mobile devices on the World Wide Web. Web pages that aren’t designed to be mobile friendly can potentially miss out on a large audience of customers.
“Having Quality Images Will Become Even More Important on G+”
There were a number of changes to Google’s social media network, Google+. With a new layout similar to Facebook and Pinterest’s multi-column design, combined with the auto enhance and “auto awesome” image tweaks, having quality images will become even more important on G+. In the new newspaper-like home layout, large images will span over two or three columns, meaning more eyes on your image posts. “Auto-Hashtagging” is another interesting development. Google will automatically scan the text or photo content of your post, determining a common theme to hashtag to make looking for other similar content easier to find. While it is a positive way to users to find more posts about a topic like “bathroom remodeling”, it could potentially send people away from your page.
“A Great Tool for Contractors to Use to Publish Amazing Images”
Google is putting heavy emphasis on photo uploads to G+, with the new tagline “Your darkroom is now a datacenter”. “Auto enhance” image processing and Auto-Highlight features will help to make sure your images look their best. This is a great tool for contractors to use to publish amazing images of completed remodels, new construction, or new installations. Photos are uploaded from your mobile device or camera directly into Google+, auto-enhance will make sure your photos look great by adjusting contrast, brightness, and noise reduction, and auto-highlight will take the best of your photos, skipping poor quality images and duplicates, and present those images in your gallery.
“Build a Strong Google Maps Presence with Appealing, Up-To-Date Info”
Aside from working faster, Google Maps will now be more personalized to your usage and your current search. In the new Google Map preview demonstration, a user searches for restaurants in their area and clicks/taps on the establishment of their choice. When that specific restaurant is selected, their images, reviews, and ratings are displayed, and all other restaurants in that same search area are also emphasized on the map. If we expand this thought process to contractors with office facilities or showrooms, we can start to see the potential issues. If a potential client searches for your business on the new Google Maps, the competitors in your area are also highlighted. On the flip side, if your competitor’s map listing is clicked, your business will also be highlighted. Build a strong Google Maps presence with appealing, up-to-date information for potential clients. Make sure your Google Plus listing looks the best with up to date ratings, reviews, contact information, and images. The new Google Maps system will also adapt and learn what locations and listings are important to you. If a client uses your listing frequently, it becomes a “landmark” for that specific customer, making your listing more prominently displayed every time they visit the map. This means your contact information is even easier to access.
“Take Full Advantage of Google Now and No-Interface Searching with a Strong Google+ Presence.”
Calling it “The End of Search As We Know It”, Google is changing the way we search and making it an increasingly social experience. By essentially combining Google’s Knowledge Graph and Google+ account information, Google searches are becoming more personalized and predictive. Knowing that Google searches are often used to compare products or services, if a client searches for “Pensacola Air Conditioning repair”, Google’s search provide information like reviews, ratings, and images from multiple companies at a glance to help you find a company. “No-interface searching” allows you to search Google using just your voice by starting with the prompt, “OK Google”. In the no-interface search demonstration, a user was able to search for photos by saying “Show me my photos from New York last year.” While it is in the early stages, I hypothesize that search commands like I hypothesize that search commands like “What was the name of the air conditioning contractor I called last year?” aren’t too far off in the future. Just like the new Google Map changes, to take full advantage of Google Now and No-Interface Searching your company will need to have a strong Google+ listing.