Google+ Ripples for Marketers and Advertisers
On October 27, 2011, Google announced What’s Hot and Ripples for Google+. In early March of this year, Google updated this feature with support for more than 60 languages, as well as the ability to see not just how social sharing works with regard to posts, but with regard to social sharing of links as well.
How It Works
Google+ Ripples can be seen for any post or link on Google Plus that has been publicly shared. For any publicly shared post, simply view the drop down box in the upper right corner and select View Ripples:
This will take you to a page that displays social sharing for this post or URL in a bubble chart in which bubbles are increased in size if the person who shared the link had a number of people share it as well.
In addition, you can also see shares over time, comments by those who have shared, top influencers, top languages the content was shared in, and basic sharing statistics like average chain length and shares per hour.
Marketers and advertisers need social tools to understand how social influence affects their brands and campaigns, and Google+ Ripples is one of the best for Google Plus. Using Google Plus Ripples, marketers can find influencers around a particular topic that might not register in Google’s People and Places collections of influencers in a space. In addition, Ripples provides metrics on social sharing that can allow marketers interested in branding and engagement to better define virality of social content.
With the ability to find social sharing stats on any URL, brand managers should now be analyzing major product pages to better understand their consumers’ wants and needs. For example, the iPhone’s Google+ Ripples page tells us that there are 18 influencers with more than two public shares. Of these, the influencer with the most public shares is Cory Bergman, who has been circled more than 500,000 times and specializes in breaking news. Knowing this, a brand representative could reach out to Mr. Bergman with pertinent info that he could share with his followers before anyone else.
If you do a People and Pages search on “iphone” in Google+, the top influencer’s name doesn’t appear on the first page of the results. Brand representatives in search of influencers can really prioritize their outreach based on social influence, and not on keyword relevance or other factors that Google might use for the People and Pages results.
What’s more, we can see that there was an explosion of social shares for the page on October 4, 2011, when the iPhone 4S was released. This is to be expected for an iPhone release, but brand managers and marketers with less social influence can track major events in the product lifecycle and revise the brand strategy as necessary.
Google+ Ripples pages are also helpful for defining what it means to “go viral”. Statistics like shares per hour are more concrete for marketers than Facebook’s viral reach metric, as they allow marketers to quantify not just who might have seen a post, but also who actively shared that content with their followers, and at what rate. YouTube analytics are a great way to define virality for videos on YouTube, but prior to Google+ Ripples there hasn’t been a great way to understand social sharing for web content.
Given that social sharing is as much as half of all sharing done on the web, search engines like Google have made understanding how social sharing affects relevance and engagement in search a priority. Marketers have followed suit, but until Google+ Ripples there hasn’t been a great way to understand how content is shared socially. With Google+ Ripples marketers and advertisers can more easily find social influencers and more accurately track their performance when it comes to creating viral content.