Fueling discoverability and engagement with Google+

Automotive brands were among the first advertisers to adopt Google+ and they’re making it pay off in big ways. Our research has shown that the path to buying a car is becoming more and more social, with consumers relying on information and advice from their social connections and brands to inform their purchase. Millions of consumers are already engaging with the top global auto companies on Google+, and brands are using this opportunity to connect and engage with customers in unique ways, from connecting with auto enthusiasts through G+ Communities to launching new car models via Hangouts.

Today we’re releasing new insights on how Google+ is working to amplify auto brands’ existing marketing campaigns. For example, we found that brands can experience a 91% increase in conversion rate for non-brand terms when running social annotations on search ads.

Please check out our infographic below for additional insights and tips, and visit our Google+ Business site to learn more about Google+.

Posted by Gretchen Howard, Director of Global Social Solutions

Art, Copy & Code: a series of experiments to re-imagine advertising

Last year, we started a program to partner with advertisers and agencies to re-imagine how brands tell stories in a connected world. Project Re: Brief set out to recreate some of the advertising industry’s most iconic, classic campaigns using the latest technology tools. This year we’re expanding that program to work with some of today’s most iconic brands and innovative marketers, in our new project: Art, Copy & Code.

Art, Copy & Code is a series of projects and experiments to show how creativity and technology can work hand in hand. Some of these will include familiar brands like Volkswagen, Burberry and adidas—projects developed in partnership with their creative teams and agencies. Others will be creative experiments with innovative filmmakers, creative directors and technologists to explore how brands can connect with consumers through a whole range of digital tools—including ads, mobile apps and social experiences. Our first partner project is a new social driving experience—Volkswagen Smileage.

Building off their 2012 campaign, “It’s not the miles, it’s how you live them,” Volkswagen Smileage is a mobile app and web service that aims to add a little bit of fun to every drive, from your daily commutes to holiday road trips. The app measures the fun factor of each trip using a metric called “smileage,” based on signals like weather, traffic, location, time and social interactions (e.g.,  a long drive on a sunny Saturday afternoon might accumulate more smileage than a morning commute in the snow). You can use it with any car, not just Volkswagens.

Powered by the new Google+ sign-in, you can choose to share Smileage experience with friends and family. For example, during a road trip, photos and videos taken by you and your co-passengers can be automatically added to a live interactive map. The inspiration for the service came from a recent study showing that every day, 144 million Americans on average spend 52 minutes in a car—76 percent of them alone. We wanted to make that time a more shareable experience. Volkswagen Smileage will be available soon in beta—you can sign up on this webpage for early access.

We’ll have many more experiments to share in the Art, Copy & Code project soon—subscribe for updates at ArtCopyCode.com. We’re committed to investing in technology and tools over the long term to help brands and their agencies succeed not just today, but in a digital future that will look very different.

If you’re planning on attending SXSW, stop by the Google Playground on March 9 to see demos of these experiments, or attend our talk on March 10.

Posted by by Aman Govil, Art, Copy & Code Project Lead

Rev the engine: Motor Trend and Drive now on YouTube

If it’s got wheels and a motor, it’s on YouTube. This week we’re going full throttle with two new original channels dedicated to the wide and wild world of motors — Motor Trend and Drive.

The Motor Trend YouTube Channel, created by Source Interlink Media, brings together eight shows from automotive brands you know and love. Like a never-ending auto expo (without the lines), expect to see original programming from the folks behind Motor Trend, Hot Rod, Motorcyclist, Lowrider, FourWheeler, Dirt Rider, Car Craft, Automobile, Import Tuner and more. From speed to style, the Motor Trend Channel will have something for every car lover, and they’ll be listening closely to your feedback to learn what you want to see more of.

If getting under the hood is only the beginning for you, check out the new Drive YouTube Channel, which celebrates the rich culture of cars. From the road to races to factories to studios, Drive will take you as far behind the scenes as as possible. Expect to see news, reviews and commentary from names like Chris Harris, Mike Spinelli, Leo Parente, Alex Roy and more.

With millions of you already coming to YouTube for all things auto, we hope you buckle up and enjoy these new channels!

Graham Bennett, original programming content partnerships, recently watched “Cavitation.”