Google's New Guidelines to Sell Your Reviews
How Google’s new user-review ad algorithm may play out and why there’s never been a better time to be a hipster.
Here is Google's explanation:
Similar to the Facebook advertising algorithm that uses your friends’ likes as marketing endorsements, you may now see your friend’s comments and reviews showing up in the sponsored results when you perform a Google search. This practice has become so lucrative that nearly every social network is adopting this advertising method.
So how will this ad delivery algorithm work? The combination of a 2009 Harvard Business School working paper and an Inc article on boosting sales using social influence may forecast the future of this new advertising methodology.
Friends Influence Purchases: HBS Paper
The Harvard paper outlined data that shows not only that friends influence purchases on social networks. However, the paper found that certain people increase or decrease purchasing behavior based on social network reach, activity and user behavior. The Inc article mentioned above outlined the three persona types identified within the paper and how their purchases are influenced by friend-based endorsements on social networks.
The Three Groups: Normals, Joneses & Hipsters
The three groups identified are: The Normals, The Joneses & The Hipsters. Here’s how the Google algorithm may play out if the Harvard Business School findings are found to be consistent with user behavior today:
The Normals will receive very few (if any) user-review ads
The Harvard study found that roughly 48 percent of the study group were users with very little social network activity. This group was found to show very little influence on other users’ buying decisions, which is not surprising considering they have very little social activity & connections. This group was also found not to be influenced by their friend’s purchases on the social network.
Therefore, if you show very little social network activity then you will most likely not receive, or be featured in, any advertisements that contain user-based reviews.
The Joneses will get slammed with user-review ads
The Joneses were the group that displayed the classic “keeping up with the Joneses” behavior. These users were most influenced by friends purchases on social networks and represented 40 percent of the study group. The Joneses showed moderate social network activity, yet had a positive social buying effect to the tune of a 5 percent increase in sales of products that their friends had purchased in the past.
Therefore, if you display this behavior in your everyday life then your online behavior will show Google that you are primed and ready for user-review advertisements. This is why ‘The Joneses’ will be hammered with user-review advertisements.
The Hipsters definitely won’t see user-review ads
Representing roughly 12 percent of the Harvard test group, the Hipsters showed the highest levels of activity on social networks. Yet, the Harvard study found that these users display a 14 percent negative effect in buying behavior when interacting with friend-based product endorsements. In other words, a hipster is actually 14 percent less likely to purchase a product if shown a friend’s endorsement. Much like in real life, online hipsters work hard to preserve their unique distinction on social networks.
However, due to the high activity and wide social network reach, the hipsters might be the most likely candidates to be featured in the advertisements. So hipsters won’t be bothered with ads, yet at the same time will be featured in advertisements – sounds like a hipster’s dream scenario!
Google will figure you out through experimentation
Teasing out what type you fall into will require experimentation with advertisements, which just happens to be Google’s sweet spot. Considering the high volume of Google searches performed each day by the average user, this data shouldn’t take long to tease out. Where you fall on the Normal/Joneses/Hipster scale will likely be an indication of how many advertisements you will receive on a regular basis.
It pains me to say this, but there’s never been a better time to be a hipster!
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