As 2012 is winding down the major social networks are rolling out major changes and improvements. The most recent update comes courtesy of Google+. One of Google's most powerful marketing platforms outside of their core search engine is Gmail. Google+ is coming to the inboxes of the more than 200 million Gmail users.
It was only a matter of time before these two social and email platforms merged. Lets look at exactly how Google is handling the integration.
Email Gets WAY More Social
Soon in your Gmail inbox you will have a widget that displays the most recent Google+ update from the contact you are emailing. From this widget you will be able to add that contact to a circle in Google+ without leaving Gmail.
Are you bad at keeping up to date contact information in your Gmail address book? Well the new Google+ and Gmail integration will automatically update the contact information for your contacts based on their own updates to their Google Profile.
One simple yet powerful feature with the new integration enables Google+ users to share images attached in an email without leaving Gmail.
So how the heck does this impact marketers? Well potentially a lot. The changes that Google announced today are interesting but not transformative. What is transformative is the complete integration of email with a social network. This move scares the folks at Facebook. Yes, Facebook still has a huge advantage. However, this integration has the potential to bring millions of users to Google+. It isn't about users. It is about the activity of those users on a social network and the content they share. The value is in the data contributed by a person and their connections. No one yet has figured out how to really make email social. Google is in a great position to try and with this announcement it is clear that it is a key part of their strategy to dominate in search and social.
As a marketer this forces you to keep a closer eye on Google+ as a viable marketing channel for your business. This is another proof point that social media is not an optional part of your inbound marketing strategy, it is essential. As social and email continue to integrate, it will be important to have a strong social footprint to support email marketing and marketing automation efforts. It could potentially impact the click-through rate and performance of your email marketing.
What type of statement do you think this integration makes to the future relationship between email and social media?