How To Market With The New Google Plus Showcase Hangouts
In the early days of television, many shows had sponsors that not only got their brand name in the show title (“The Kraft Music Hall” or “Mutual of Omaha’s Wild Kingdom”) but also in all the advertising on the show. In fact, sometimes the advertising would be in the show. (Suddenly one character might breathlessly tell another how Geritol had put a spring back in his step.)
Wouldn’t it be nice if your brand could own its own show and build in the advertising? Expensive, right? No, you can do it for free (excluding production costs)!
Google+ has introduced a new app for its Hangout On Air video broadcasting feature called Showcase. Showcase allows anyone to create live, clickable links that show in a sidebar in any Hangout On Air show. Marketing Land social media reporter Martin Beck covered the basic features of this new app, along with links to Google’s own explainer and how-to pages.
In this column, I am going to concentrate on some ways that marketers and brands may want to make use of this powerful new tool.
Ways Marketers Can Use Showcase Hangouts
First, a caveat. When live viewers click on the video link for a Hangout using Showcase (whether on a Google+ Event page or on YouTube), the show opens in its own “lightbox” style overlay.
The downside of this is that users can’t make comments during the show, so Showcase may cut down on live engagement. Ronnie Bincer, who consults with businesses that want to do Hangouts, has posted a possible workaround for this problem on Google+.
Second, you need to do some pre-thinking before embarking on this path. What is your marketing objective for using Showcase Hangouts? If your primary objective is just to build engagement with your audience, then given the caveat above, Showcase may not be a good choice.
If, however, you want to create sales or leads, then a Showcase Hangout might be perfect. If you want sales, then think about which products would be best to sell in a live show and link to those. If you’re after leads, create unique landing pages tailored exactly to the call to action you will make in the show.
Now on to some ideas for actually using the feature!
Since the Showcase app allows links to a number of different types of web resources, it can be useful for multiple marketing objectives. Here are the types of links that can be put into a Showcase link box:
- Websites: link to the home page or to specific landing pages. Also link directly to documents on Google Drive (make sure they are set to be shared publicly).
- Merchandise: link to a purchase page on an e-commerce site. (Note: all purchases and payments must be handled outside the Hangout On Air Showcase. The app has no facility for making transactions.)
- YouTube Videos: link must be directly to a video. At present, you can link to a YouTube playlist, as well, but not to a channel.
- Google Play content.
Here are some ideas on how you might make use of Showcase in your Hangouts On Air. Please share your ideas in the comments!
Link To Your Resources
If you know in advance that you or your guests will be mentioning certain web resources during a Hangout, create links to those pages in Showcase. This will make it far more likely that your viewers will click and visit those resources, driving more traffic to your content on the web.
Promote A Book
Interviewing an author who has a new book via a Hangout has always been a great promotional tool, but now it has even more value as you can provide direct links to the author’s promotional site, her book sales page, and/or ecommerce sales pages such as Amazon. Again, people are more likely to visit a page if the link is right there in front of them.
Promote An Event
Create a Hangout to gin up excitement for your upcoming event, and link to information and ticket sales pages via Showcase. For example, you could interview speakers or bands who will be at the event.
Introduce A Video Series
Rolling out a new video series on YouTube? Create a playlist of the videos in the series and then share it via Showcase in a Hangout where you explain what the series is about and give highlights of various episodes.
Run Your Own Home Shopping Network
A while back Google introduced a beta of what it called Shoppable Hangouts where viewers could make purchases directly in a live Hangout On Air. But so far that feature has only been given to a few major brands. With Showcase you can create your own Shoppable Hangout. This method might actually be better for you, as you are taking people to your own ecommerce pages, where they might shop for other items, or sign up to for your email list.
Ramp Up Your Webinar Or Training Course
If you are conducting a webinar or training class via a Hangout, you could use Showcase to link to Google Drive documents or YouTube videos that supplement what you’re teaching.
Crowdsource Site A/B Testing
Trying to decide between two or more versions of a new site design, or the best layout for a page? Maybe you’d like to know which version of a short-subject video has the most impact. Invite a focus group to a Hangout where you have links to your various versions. Encourage them to view each and then give you feedback.
Now, how will you use Showcase?
For reference: Google’s PDF on how to set up and run the Showcase app.
(Stock image [modified] via Shutterstock.com. Used under license.)
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