Monthly:August 2013

Google+ Sign-In: trends and case studies

Back in February we added a new feature to the Google+ platform: application sign-in. Since then we’ve launched numerous improvements (like cross-device single sign-on, app activities in Google Search, and over-the-air Android install metrics), and we’ve seen more and more apps offer great experiences with Google+ Sign-In.

Developers continue to see positive results, so we’ve highlighted some overall trends and illustrative numbers below.

Google+ Sign-In boosts Android downloads
Developers have found that enabling over-the-air installs on their websites effectively drives Android downloads, leading to a more unified experience across desktop and mobile. On average, 40% of Android users accept the offer to install a website’s mobile app, yet some apps like fitness tracker Fitbit has seen a 60% acceptance rate.

Users prefer Google+ Sign-In
Google+ Sign-In lets users sign in to apps with their existing Google credentials, including the sign-in protections they expect (like 2-step verification). Cloud platform provider JoliCloud has discovered that Google+ Sign-In is their most popular option on the web, with 48% of users choosing Google. Movie app Flixster has found that Google+ Sign-In is their most popular third-party option on the web (35%), and their most popular option on Android (45%). Google+Sign-In is also the most popular option on Android for music app Songza, with 40% of users signing in with Google.

Google+ Sign-In increases new user registrations
Adding the option to sign in with Google has advanced the rate of new user growth for many apps. Mobile shopping app Snapette has seen a 16% acceleration in registered users, and pixiv, one of Japan’s most popular social networks, has seen a 21% increase in new user registrations. Integrating with Google has also led to a 25% reduction in bounce rate from pixiv’s new user registration page.

To learn more about Google+ Sign-In, check out our Google+ Developers site and view our Case Studies page.

Posted by Seth Sternberg, Director of Product Management, Google+Read More

Baines & Ernst uses responsive web design, mobile conversions leap 51%

Baines & Ernst is a leading provider of debt solutions in the UK. In dealing in such a complex subject area, the company’s aim in terms of digital is to help users understand its products. And from all accounts, that’s something it seems to be doing better than ever, thanks to the launch of a new responsive web design (RWD) site. On mobiles, pages per visit have increased by 11%, average visit duration is up 30% and mobile bounce rate is down 8%. Most impressively though, mobile conversions are up by 51% since the RWD site’s debut.

When Baines & Ernst first grasped that mobile usage was on the rise, the decision was made to launch mobile-specific search advertising in late 2011, incorporating both sitelinks and click-to-call functionality. Positive results from this led Baines & Ernst to create a mobile-optimised site that launched in the second half of 2012.

While the additional site helped provide a better experience to growing numbers of mobile users, maintaining fresh content on both the desktop and mobile site proved to be an inefficient use of resource. Through testing and research, Baines & Ernst discovered a solution that would satisfy its goals. The main focus was to deliver a consistent user experience across all devices so potential customers could find the right information on any screen. The team initiated the build of an entirely new site incorporating the best practices of RWD.

Using RWD enabled Baines & Ernst to optimise its site experience across different screen sizes without creating multiple websites. By using flexible templates, CSS media queries and JavaScript events, the new RWD site responds to a user’s screen size and orientation, and then adjusts images, layouts and content visibility in accordance. It also harnesses novel device capabilities such as dragging, swiping and other gestures recognised by touch devices. All of this can be layered onto a single repository of HTML content, so while there’s only one content file to be maintained, it can be delivered across all devices.

Since most consumers lack deep familiarity with financial solutions, the company’s online presence is a critical tool for explaining Baines & Ernst products. As more and more consumers are researching these kinds of products away from their desktop computers, the move to an RWD site has proved a very savvy one. Read more of the Baines & Ernst RWD success story here.

Posted by Matt Brocklehurst, Product Marketing Manager, Google

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Integrating Google+ with Existing Social Features

If you are familiar with social web development, it’s easy to integrate the features of the Google+ platform, including Google+ Sign-In, into your web application. In fact, we’ve written a handy guide – initially focusing on existing Facebook integrations – to help you create a meaningful integration that will work with your existing social and business logic. The guide walks you through:

  1. Basic Setup: create a project in the Google APIs console, include the Google+ JavaScript Client Library, and configure the ‘Sign in with Google’ button. 
  2. Identity Logic: structure your application to allow for users with multiple social identities, and create readable, maintainable code that allows you to work with users that have signed in with different social identity providers. 
  3. Feature Translation: add Google+ platform features that match your app’s other social features to create a seamless user experience across social identities. 
  4. Going Beyond: discover the unique capabilities of the Google+ platform, such as cross-platform single sign on and over-the-air installs.

If you’d like to learn more, check out our Adding Google+ to your Facebook Integration guide and watch the related Google+ Developers Live episode.

Posted by +Sam Stern, Google+ Developer RelationsRead More

Connect your organization to Google+ using the Google+ Domains API

Google+ makes it easy for Google Apps customers to connect and share within their organization and encourage collaboration between teams. Today we’re launching an update to the Google+ Android app that includes a number of new features for Google Apps customers, and a new developer offering, the Google+ Domains API.

The Google+ Domains API allows Google Apps customers to integrate Google+ into their existing tools and processes, and allows enterprise software vendors to access Google+ from their products. Applications using the Google+ Domains API can act on behalf of Google Apps users to share posts within the same domain, comment on posts shared within the domain, and manage circles. In addition, the Google+ Domains API enables Google Apps domain administrators to pre-populate the circles of new employees, or review sharing activity.

For example, Ocado is building a tool that uses the Google+ Domains API to regularly sync team membership stored in Active Directory with the circles of their employees. This will ensure that every employee always has an up to date circle containing the other members of their team. Cloudlock is using the Google+ Domains API to add support for Google+ to its suite of data loss prevention, governance, and compliance applications.

Any developer can begin developing with the Google+ Domains API today. However only members of a Google Apps domain can use Google+ Domains API applications. To get started check out the documentation. If you have any questions, you can consult the google-plus tag on Stack Overflow, or join the “Developing with Google+” community.

Posted by Thor Mitchell, Product Manager, Google+ API

Cross posted to the Google Apps Developer blogRead More

Towergate Insurance boosts mobile visits by 218% through responsive web design and enhanced campaigns

As a company covering more than 200 specialist insurance products for niche markets ranging from holiday homes to private helicopters, the array of information found on Towergate’s website is extensive. Because users need to access this content whenever and wherever suits them best, the company wanted to efficiently optimise site experience across all devices and screens. By adopting strategies to respond to the demands of a multi-screen world, Towergate boosted mobile visits by 218% and tablet visits by 236%.

Towergate’s first move was to rebuild its website using responsive web design (RWD). The result is a device-independent solution that caters for all and is well placed to embrace new smartphones, tablets and other web-enabled devices. The approach circumnavigates the need to maintain separate websites for various devices, offering a significant savings in time and resource.

In terms of digital marketing, Towergate’s goal is the same regardless of device – to drive a high volume of quality leads to the site, who in turn will to either buy online or make contact with a skilled advisor. Not long after the completion of Towergate Insurance’s new RWD site, the company upgraded all of its AdWords marketing to enhanced campaigns in the span of a single afternoon – in total around 150 campaigns across 15 different accounts – and can now make bid adjustments in the AdWords interface for mobile so that the appropriate Towergate ad is automatically served to the right user.

Thanks to the advanced reporting features in enhanced campaigns, Towergate can refine its efforts even further. Performance metrics have consequently made great strides forward. “The new site has given us more confidence to increase bids across all devices, which has led to improvements. Conversion rates tend to fluctuate seasonally, but in general visit to lead rates across the board are on the rise,” reveals Towergate’s PPC Manager, Keith Mowbray.

Read more about the multi-screen success of Towergate Insurance in the full case story here.

Article by Matt Brocklehurst, Product Marketing Manager, Google

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The world has gone multi-screen

Most of us now have laptops at work, smartphones in our pockets and great looking tablets at our disposal and they can all answer nearly any question instantly. To better understand how the multi-screen revolution is changing everyday life, Google commissioned three global studies, each covering more than 35 countries: “The Connected Consumer Study” and “Mobile Purchase Journey” with TNS,  and “Our Mobile Planetwith Ipsos. These studies explore various aspects of multi-screen lifestyles: How many devices do people own? How do people use them together? How have these devices changed their lives?  Do consumers research and purchase differently across different devices? The answers lead to one conclusion: in Europe, the multi-screen world is here now and context is king.

Fast growth of connected device usage: Europe leads the way
The growth in usage of connected devices has grown spectacularly in the two years since Google first commissioned these studies. We all know laptops and desktops were already widespread across Europe, smartphone usage is growing fast and now tablet usage as well. Smartphone usage in the UK has more than doubled in two years, rising to 62%. Meanwhile, tablet usage tripled in the last year rising to 30% from 11% a year earlier. In nearly all the countries studied, people use more than one connected device. European countries like the UK, Norway and the Netherlands lead the way with people using, on average, at least three connected devices. In the United States, the average person uses 2.9 devices and the average in China is 1.4. In southern Europe, where internet usage is slightly lower than northern Europe, people use two or more connected devices. Globally, all countries are growing fast, and many have seen tablet usage double or even triple in the past year.

Be on the screen your customers are using
This explosive growth in multiple device usage has had a major impact on people’s lives. Nearly three quarters of British smartphone users go online with their mobile every day, 80% never leave home without it and 54% search the web from their mobile daily. People use their smartphone everywhere: 85% use it on the go, 71% at work and 72% specified they use them in stores. Two thirds of smartphone owners expect websites to work as well on their phone as on their desktop. So it’s imperative for every advertiser to ensure their website is designed to work across all devices.

Multi-screen buying
Sixty-one percent of smartphone owners use their phone for researching or purchasing products, and while 52% research products on their phone at home, many do so out of home as well: 25% do so on the go, 19% on public transport and 18% in a store. Peaks in mobile product research happen during lunch, just before the evening commute and after dinner.

The research process crosses devices, especially when research behaviour before purchase is intense. For instance, 93% of smartphone owners use their mobile, desktop or tablet to research travel products, while 70% use them to research technology products. While research behavior is different across product categories, it is very similar across devices:  price, quality information, reviews, ratings and location are common topics of research across all devices.

Research on smartphones affects purchases on mobile and elsewhere. For example after researching a travel product on the smartphone, 12% completed their purchase on the smartphone and 88% on the desktop/tablet or offline.  

Google recently launched enhanced campaigns to help advertisers reach consumers across devices in the moments that matter. Enhanced campaigns allow advertisers to easily serve ads across screens from one single campaign, which can be targeted across locations and time frames, for instance only serving ads near shops during opening times. And with the new ‘offer extensions’ feature, advertisers are able to give people close to their stores a special tailored offer, such as 10% off if used in the next 1 hour. To see the full value of ads targeted to mobile consumers, check out the Full Value of Mobile calculator, a new tool that provides measurement tips and benchmarks to understand mobile’s contribution to purchase decisions.

Take multi-screen action
Will you thrive in the multi-screen world? Here are some tips and tricks for success across screens:

  • Can consumers find you? Try searching from different devices and using generic and branded terms related to your product or service. Did your brand appear the way you want it to? Enhanced campaigns offer an easy way for advertisers to be present on all screens with minimal effort.

Posted by Ali Turhan, Industry Analyst – Agency Strategy

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