Google+ hangouts – what is it, and how can the cosmetics industry use it?

By Lucy Whitehouse

- Last updated on GMT

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Google+ hangouts – what is it, and how can the cosmetics industry use it?
Launched last summer, Google+ hangouts has fast been gathering momentum as an online platform for showcasing beauty brands and their products; but how does it work and what’s the value? Cosmetics Design investigates. 

Dove, Clinque and Lush are three big name brands who have all been leveraging the platform lately, which allows live video content to be streamed across the web.

It seems its value for brands is threefold: it allows a valuable element of interaction between a brand and its consumers; allows better control of online content surrounding products; and finally, translates into strong digital advertising.

The rise of hangouts confirms the recent assertion from Lush’s MD of digital, Jack Constantine, that the industry is now “learning about the best ways to maximise digital tools, to really create tactile environments for customers, and for users to be able to feel like it’s actually something more tangible and a bit more real​.”

Interactive and accessible

Lush produced a hangout on the launch of their new digital ‘Kitchen’ website, which enabled consumers to view the product creation process, and participate live with comment and questions. 

Speaking recently to Cosmetics Design, Constantine was keen to press the importance of interacting with consumers in the digital age.

We’re now in an environment where it’s about community, it’s about sharing, it’s about interacting with the products, and being able to have that reactive mentality​,” he observed; hangouts facilitate this type of live communication.

Online content: greater control

Much has been made of the rising dominance​ of beauty bloggers in the online retail sphere, and Clinque notes that the hangouts platform allowed the brand a means of communication with those reviewers.

Importantly, according to Liz Wright, Clinique Group digital and e-commerce manager, this opened up the potential of an element of influence on the content that would follow, which traditionally brands have been unable to control.

Google+ hangouts.

The hangout enabled our expert to interact with the viewers by answering the bloggers’ questions, and it also equipped bloggers with the correct information about the product if they decided to post about it afterwards,​” she confirms.

The platform also allows brands better influence on the search engine results surrounding their products, Wright states.

It’s important for organic search,” ​she notes: “To provide information to audiences where they consume information, feed the search engine results pages, and update our new audience base with the latest info from Clinique.​”

Novel digital advertising

Dove has just held a debate via the platform, discussing the impact of social media on women’s self-esteem as part of Selfridges’ ‘Beauty Project’; and the content also functioned as live video advertising for the brand, streamed across the internet.

Results from Clinique’s campaign suggest this translates into valuable marketing content: when released as adverts showing prior to YouTube videos, the hangout content received a click-through rate 10 times higher than the standard brand ad, and a view-through rate 16 times higher.

The video we were able to produce from the hangout has created some excellent educational content that we used in paid media and on YouTube​,” says Sally Lane, head of engagement at Quirk London, which produced the content. 

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