Google is quasi-famous for some of the wittiest April Fools’ pranks we see on a yearly basis.
Turns out they may not be doing the jokes just because that’s what the spirit of
the day calls for. Think of April Fools' as real-time marketing's awkward cousin: a day-long event that lends itself to brands looking to go viral.
Google seized the opportunity, and as a result saw more “consumption lift” on April 1 than any other brand, according to content marketing company Kontera. Kontera looks at how much content is “consumed” on the Internet and connects that consumption to specific events -- in this case, April Fools’ pranks. Kontera compared brand consumption on April 1 and March 31, 2014.
Gmail, and the “Gmail Shelfie” feature, was the most successful prank in terms of garnering attention. This prank was helped in large part because Google was able to send a notification to all of its Gmail users about “Shelfie” on April 1. However, Kontera reckons that the real reason the Gmail “Shelfie” prank was successful was because the feature actually worked.
“[Compared] to most other brand jokes which got people excited about something that doesn’t actually exist, ‘Shelfie’ is a fully functioning feature,” Kontera reasoned. “Pranks with at least some level of functionality will almost inevitably lead to higher engagement.”
Google also did well with some of its other brands including Google+, Google Maps, Chrome, and YouTube. Of the top 10 brands that received the biggest consumption lift as a result of an April Fools’ prank, half belonged to Google.
Check out the full list