2 Extremely Innovative Uses of Google+ Hangouts by Brands

Consumer interaction is playing an increasingly larger role in marketing today, and brands are giving video a prominent role in their marketing strategies. Specifically, companies looking for creative ways of interacting with their fans and clients have been taking advantage of Google+ Hangouts and its ever-expanding capabilities.

From the addition of Hangouts On Air to the integration with Communities, Google has steadily proven the worth of its video tool for businesses. Most recently, the company announced the rollout of several great business-specific features, like enhanced control options and access to 15-person HD video sessions.

Since Hangouts’ launch, we’ve seen dozens of smart uses by brands for the purpose of customer engagement. We’ve already highlighted some of the creative ways in which businesses are using the tool, but here are a couple more unique campaigns just in case you’re still looking for inspiration.

Shop the Hangout

To help brands combine their social media and e-commerce efforts, Google blended social video with shopping tools that helped to deepen the engagement between retailers and consumers. Through an exclusive app for Hangouts On Air, retailers were able to speak about their products while customers simultaneously browsed a curated selection of those goods, which were available for purchase through the Hangout.

What you don’t see in the embedded video above is the Google Shopping Shortlists that appeared directly to the right of the video during the Hangout. We recommend that you view the full experience.

Shoppable Hangouts proved to be a successful collaboration between Google, the CFDA, and a group of designers that includes Diane von Furstenberg, Rebecca Minkoff, Rachel Zoe, and Marcus Wainwright. Collectively, the #ShoptheHangout program garnered 369 million earned social media and press impressions and helped increase sales and traffic on partner designers’ websites.

Front Row

Manchester United has more than 650 million fans, but interestingly enough, less than one percent actually lives in the U.K. Because very few get the chance to visit Old Trafford stadium to show their support, the team partnered with Google+ to bring the stadium to them through an ultimate Hangout for football fans. During a match against Liverpool, fans were given the opportunity to sit “front row” without needing a passport.

Superfans from around the world were asked to submit photos on Google+ that showcased their spirit using the hashtag #MUFrontRow. The team selected the best 22 fan entries, and Hangouts were then projected onto the digital advertising boards at the side of the field and broadcasted throughout the match.

#MUFrontRow was the top trending topic on Google+ globally the day of its launch and during the game. The campaign resulted in a 250 percent increase in followers for Manchester United’s Google+ Page and more than 100 million people watched the Front Row live. Front Row is now a global platform that will be scaled so other sports teams can take advantage.

A successful Google+ Hangout doesn’t have to be a monumental undertaking, however. You might an impromptu video chat with fans or customers to be just as rewarding as a massive campaign. While it might not result in the same reach or impressions, if your customers leave happy, that’s all that really matters.

If you’re interested in learning about the new premium features for Google+, you can read more in Google’s Help Center. While new Google Apps customers will see these updates right away, existing users will be granted access in the next month.