Company: Google AdWords
Entry submitted by: Courtney Pannell (cocopannell) EN Community & Social Manager
Community: AdWords Community (www.en.adwords-community.com)
Lithy category: Digital Strategy Leader
Whether you’re a mom-and-pop shop in Austin asking an AdWords question via Twitter or you’re a global corporation in Dublin landing on an AdWords Community thread via a Google search, we want to be involved in that moment of connection. The AdWords team aims to form connections with our advertisers, advocates, and influencers, to improve both product functionality and brand perception.
To forge those connections, our digital strategy has been to create a social ecosystem for AdWords, one of Google’s main products. Our social channels — Community, Google+, Twitter, YouTube, Facebook — are not silos; we think about how each can drive traffic to all our social properties, assist in content creation, and amplify our brand message.
Over the past year, traffic to our Community grew by nearly 3x, our Twitter follower count increased by 350% to 175K, our Google+ subscribers surpassed 1.1M, our Facebook fans grew to 75K, and our YouTube viewership grew by 80%. Put simply, we’ve used this social ecosystem to bolster traffic to all our channels and grow our brand’s reach.
Specifically looking at the Community, our growth strategy has focused on increasing traffic via organic search and social referrals. Our organic search traffic now constitutes nearly 60% of our overall traffic globally, as we’ve worked to refine our content to more closely align with what users search for help with.
Not only has our social promotion helped to increase direct awareness of our content, it may also have increased the visibility of community content in search results. We also see that visitors from social channels have nearly twice as high a pages/visit count as a regular user, so we have a great opportunity to interact with an engaged audience.
In the past year, AdWords underwent a significant launch called Enhanced Campaigns. Our Top Contributors were prebriefed on the update and helped us create nearly 100 unique content pieces to support the launch. In promoting this content, we utilized our multi-channel approach and saw a boost on all our properties.
As you can see above, we put a premium on rich media content, and we identify potential topics for videos and Hangouts on Air from our social media and Community interactions. An example of this strategy in action is our weekly #askadwords video series. For each episode, we solicit user questions on Twitter, Facebook, and Google+ using the hashtag #askadwords. After uploading the video to YouTube, we promote it in the Community and on social channels to encourage engagement. The video series just passed its 20th week running and now regularly has 1K viewers per week.
BUILDING AN ARMY OF ADVOCATES
Instead of being a megaphone in our social ecosystem, we really want to empower influencers to share our content and amplify our message. Obviously, our Top Contributors have been a huge part of this for many years, but in the past year, we’ve also tried to identify social influencers that extend beyond the Community.
In identifying these social influencers, we do outreach to try to get them involved in the Community in a meaningful way. We are hosting several global influencer events this year to assist with this, and below is an example of a Community highlight we did with David Szetela, arguably one of the most influential people in the PPC space. He’s now writing articles for us in the Community.
Obviously, the fact that we use Lithium for our Community platform and LSW for our social responding/publishing makes it quite easy for us to grow and maintain this multi-channel social ecosystem. We’re able to see how beneficial our social traffic is to our Community growth, we’re able to identify budding influencers in the Community, and we’re able to easily promote all our content seamlessly to social channels via LSW.
This multi-channel social ecosystem has also made us re-evaluate the appropriate channel to communicate product and support launches for the first time. Although our product blog is typically the venue for such announcements, we’ve seen great success first posting updates to Google+ or the Community. Below is an example of a launch that we promoted solely on the Community at first, where it garnered the attention of online industry publications.
In addition to pure reach, we’re also interested in engagement: pages/visit on the Community, RTs/clickthroughs on Twitter, +1s/clickthroughs on Google+, Likes/clickthroughs on Facebook, and watch time on YouTube. Visitors to the Community from social referrals are twice as engaged as regular visitors, and in many markets, Community content shared on social networks is the content with highest levels of engagement. Our creation of this social ecosystem enabled us to build brand loyalty as well as educate and support our advertisers in new and creative ways.
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