7 Social media marketing insights from Google Doodle


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Most mornings, before carrying out a search on Google, the first feature that gets my attention from the homepage is the Doodle. Let’s start off with a simple definition of the Doodle from Wikipedia:

“A Google Doodle is a special, temporary alteration of the logo on Google’s homepage that is intended to celebrate holidays, events, achievements and people.”

I have been so keen in hovering over every Google Doodle in recent times, to gain an understanding on events and rich history. Aside the aesthetics and jaw-dropping creativity on display, there are numerous insights that could be derived. Do you know there are numerous social media marketing lessons that could be extracted from the Doodle?

Social media marketing insights from the Doodle

The Doodle may not be a social media platform or construct but here are great insights that you could apply to your social media marketing strategy.

1) Creates value: The core aim of most Doodle is to create value to search engine users. Value creation entails motivating and entertaining these users. I was very inspired when I came across the Doodle that celebrated the 96th birthday of Nelson Mandela. It inspired me and made me recall the words of the former South African leader which goes thus: “We must use time wisely and forever realise that the time is always ripe.” Your Social media contents should make people reflect and inspired to take action.
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2) Breeds curiosity: A Google Doodle uses more of objects, unique drawings and paintings to create curiosity. It gives you a clue, piques your interest but does not leave you in the dark. I was curious when I came across a Doodle of abstract paintings. I thought it was something that had to do with Michael Angelo but hovered and realised it was celebrating Wasilly Kandinsky, the first man to create an abstract portrait with the Synaesthesia. Your social media marketing efforts should create curiosity with catchy headlines, rhetorical intro’s and captivating images.

3) Shares knowledge: Google Doodle shares knowledge about events or personalities that might be unknown to many. It was through the Doodle I found out that Bartolomeo Cristofori was the inventor of the piano and that this year was 360 years since his birth. You have to provide social media contents that will share unconventional and historical knowledge.

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4) Provides engagement: Engagement is a critical element for any social media success. When the Google Doodle marked the earth day celebration of 2015 with a quiz. It had a text below the Doodle that went thus: “Earth day: which animal are you?” It was a Doodle that got people to take part in an activity in the form of quiz to reveal their ‘spirit animal.’ It is important to put up contents that will make people act in some form.
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5) User-generated and contributory culture: Whilst Google assigned a team known as the Doodlers to design the Doodle. With Dennis Hwang being the pioneer of this creative team as far back as 2000. Google also allows external artists contribute towards this aesthetic work, like Irish artist Eamonn O’Neill, was given an opportunity to create musical Shamrocks to honour the St Patrick’s Day. You have to give an opportunity for user generated contents or contributory posts by your users, customers or fans. It has to be an inclusive and not an exclusive initiative.

6) Relevant colour context: Google decided to use a blue plant graphic to mark the 216th birthday of British botanist Anna Atkins. They used blue and not a green colour representation for the plant because the colour ‘blue’ signifies depth and botany entail the scientific study of plants. Are you using the right colour for your images? The colour should be determined by the social media channel, brand tone, target audience and the expected emotional outcome. Researchers Gorn, Chattopadhyay, Sengupta and Tripathi (2004) carried out a study that revealed that the colour of a web page has an effect on how users evaluate the speed of download, the quality of the site and how likely they are to recommend it. An A/B multivariate split test will help you figure out what colours work best for your social media marketing.

7) Create a talking Point: Effective social media campaigns do not always leave people on mute but create further discussions. A rational controversy and daring standpoint embedded in these contents or campaigns could help. Google had a Doodle to mark the international day of women. This Doodle illustrated Women in Lab coats, Judges’ wigs, Astronauts’ suits and Chef Hats. Melanie McDonagh felt this Doodle was dis-serving and that people should be viewed as humans and not along the lines of gender. She has a valid point and I also understand Google’s intent in celebrating the achievements of women. You have to produce contents that will make people debate along varying yet logical lines. It is not all about consensus but the confidence to rationally argue for or against your content approach. These debates will bring more visibility through sharing and commenting.
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While the Google Doodle is mainly designed to commemorate holidays, people and events; it provides insights for your social media marketing campaign. The Doodle is created with intent and this is in line in the words of Ann Handely: “Good Content always has an objective; it’s created with intent. It, therefore, carries triggers to action.”

Image credit: Google.com,the Independent and the Telegraph

Dateme Tamuno
Dateme Tamuno (Tubotamuno) is currently working as part of the SEO and PPC delivery team for UK based digital agency, Cariad Marketing. He has also completed a book on user-generated content marketing.


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