Recent research reveals an increase of 33 percent in placement of the new Google +1 button in the last few weeks. The study was conducted by ‘BrightEdge’ and examined the prevalence of social plugins and social links such as ‘facebook like’ and ‘twitter share’ on home pages of major sites. The
top 10,000 ranked sites on the web were analysed and the findings suggests, as you would expect, that Facebook is the most dominant social button on the web.
Facebook is still the preferred social media platform for larger companies with more than 47 percent of sites linking to the network. Following just behind Facebook is the integration of Twitter into site homepages, with 42 percent. Google + button adoption, on the other hand, is small in scale in comparison to the Facebook ‘like’ button. Nonetheless, Google Plug-in has seen rapid growth over the last few weeks, rising from 3.5 percent to 4.5 percent, a 28 percent increase. Facebook meanwhile, is enjoying a two-to-one dominance in plug-in placement on these large sites over competing social networks.
Despite this increase, the overall analysis points to a still much untapped opportunity for social platforms, even on sites operated by some of the most sophisticated marketers and executives in the game. Out of the 10,000 major sites, the study suggests that the majority of brands today are still missing out on the massive traffic opportunity and engagement driver that Facebook has become. Links to Facebook pages only appear on the front page of less than half of the 10,000 sites.
These numbers led me to conduct a quick scan of how social network features are used within our very own betting and gaming industry. I scanned the 10 top UK betting and gaming portals and shockingly discovered only two home pages currently use the so called ‘social bookmark’ on their home page. However, most gaming sites that have blogs have taken advantage of the social plug-ins supplied by tools such as wordpress and other blogging engines.
Using social bookmarking can be the first step toward your SM strategy; it is easy to implement and does not require any ongoing maintenance. Despite the failure of many to take off (such as digg, reddit, technorati…you know the ones I’m talking about), having a twitter ‘share’ or Facebook ‘like’ can generate a substantial amount of quality traffic to your site. As previously mentioned, these features are easy to implement and don’t cost you much; just add to your home page and any other important pages on your site, such as your ‘£10 free bet’ promotion page and you will see somewhat organic traffic coming your way regardless of the volume. Gaming is all about engaging with your users and these features are there to give you that extra value that you don’t have to work too hard for.
However, what I have observed from my 10 pages quick survey is that ‘social bookmark’ pages need some sort of strategic approach to them. You need to understand your website information architecture and decide where ‘social bookmark’ pages can be most effective. Incorporate them into your most strategic pages and coordinate with your organisation’s social profiles on twitter and Facebook. Track the impact and use that information back into your strategy, perhaps moving things around a little; it’s all about reviewing and refining until you get the momentum right.
On the Google + note, the positive network externality that we have seen since its launch suggests that it has taken off and will eventually rival twitter and Facebook. For Online business, Google is doing what it has always done-maximising the potential of all their products. Aside from the G+ button, Google is also planning to invite businesses and brands to set up their individual profiles in the next coming weeks.