Google+ Ripples: The promise of shared intelligence

by Debra Askanase on 2011/11/27 · 38 comments 18,581 views

in a analytics smarter & actionable KPIs,a analytics taking action,e marketing 101 social media trendwatch,great guest posts

Recently we have had two blog posts about Google+: 4 things to know about Google+, and Google+ brand pages: Why SEO is dead.

Now, let’s talk about Google+ Ripples, the first set of metrics from Google about Google+. It’s not enough, of course, but still worth parsing for its hints at what is to come from Google, and offers users relevant information about the use of circles, Google+ influence, and how data is spread.

Article source – Google+ Ripples: The promise of shared intelligence

ComMetrics - CyTRAP Labs - guest blogger - Debra Askanase - THANK you for a great blog post.This is another guest post by Debra Askanase. She addresses the new Google+ Ripples feature, rolled out October 27, 2011, and its hint of data potential for marketing and engagement.

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What is Ripples?

Ripples offers data visualization over time of how your posts are shared: when, by whom, and to whom. Once a post has been shared even once, an option to view the Ripple will appear in the drop-down menu to the right of the post. Google adds a time stamp video to Ripples that visually shows the spread of a post over time. Put simply, it shows the ‘ripple effect’ of the content that you post.

But why is it important? It’s all about moving people to action.

1. Know your influencers
Whether you work for a nonprofit or a brand, you want to know how your social media activities can move supporters, followers, and fans to action. Ripples tells you who amongst your followers has real influence that moves people to act. This is especially important when thinking about campaigns and audience segmentation.

For example, I posted a link to a ComMetrics story about Google+ brand pages to my Google+ profile. It was shared six times (five public shares and one private or limited share).

Ripples shows that Janet Fouts was the most influential sharer of this post, since she influenced three other shares. This tells me that Janet is interested in this type of information, can influence others to share, and may also be influential within other social networks.

If I were running an organization, I’d find out more about my strongest Ripple influencers, create new circles for them, and further segment them by their areas of interest. (For an incredible Ripple, check out this one started by the Dalai Lama.)

2. Find new influencers
If you know your audience, use Ripples to find new fans and supporters. Start with your known ‘superfans’, those that love you and share your information on other social media channels or platforms. Look at who is sharing your superfans’ posts, find those influencers, and circle them. Cultivate those ‘friends of friends’ by thanking them, mentioning them in posts, and asking for comments.

Is there someone you are trying to reach? Find them on Google+ and find out who influences them by looking at their re-shares. Are you trying to find new fans? Search for a hashtag on Google+ and look for posts that have a lot of shares. And don’t be afraid to tag Google+ users in a post if you really want to engage them. Social media is all about engagement, so find those you want to know, circle them, and engage them in a real way through conversation and sharing of their posts.

3. Know what people want to share
ComMetrics - CyTRAP Labs - participate in our poll - your vote counts - THANK you.Knowing what people want to share is highly valuable information. What resonates deeply with your stakeholders? What will spread more awareness about your cause, brand, or products? What appeals to which audiences? This information will help you further segment your marketing, identify niches, and refine your messaging.

Be aware, however, that Ripples illustrates only one aspect of this content feedback loop: what people want to share publicly. Ripples will not show what people want to talk about, either. A post may have 23 comments but no shares. Another post may have 15 shares, but they are private or limited shares which are not viewable as Ripples. If your organization deals with sensitive issues, the latter may be the case.

If your SMART (specific, manageable, actionable, relevant, trending) goal is deep follower and fan engagement, then your strategy is to generate more comments than shares.

4. Watch out for a Google+ search algorithm
On Facebook, highly shared content is a significant part of EdgeRank, the algorithm Facebook uses to determine how prominently posts will be seen within fans’ individual newsfeeds. At this time, the Google+ news stream algorithm is real-time. However, I wouldn’t rule out an algorithm similar to Facebook’s in the future or its effect on how high your post shows up within a Google+ or Google search in the future.

5. Remember the power of clicks
ComMetrics - benchmark your social media efforts - use our tool.Google+ is an important part of Google’s SEO (search engine optimization) strategy, affecting the future of search. According to Google+ ad guy Christian Oestlien, 77 percent of brand-centered content is being shared by users – NOT brands.

Moreover, clickthrough rates on a search result actually go up when users see their friends’ faces next to it. If your strategy involves driving your fans to a website, then shares of your content must be an integral part of your overall social media strategy. Google+ posts appear in Google’s social search results, and the faces next to them will certainly influence clicks.

Tip: Search for more information about social media and more effective marketing, Google+, Facebook & Co from CyTRAP – ComMetrics (click to query).

For now, all we can do is wait and see what Google does, and hope we’re not left eating their dust. An uncomfortable feeling, isn’t it?

Disagree? Sure. Leave a comment!

About the author
This post was written by guest blogger Debra Askanase. She is an experienced digital strategist, non-profit executive, and community organizer. Debra writes about the intersection of technology, social media, and nonprofits on her blog, Community Organizer 2.0.

TL:DR. @ComMetrics with guest post by @askdebra: Google+ Ripples: The promise of shared intelligence | Tweet This

More information about this topic:
About Google Ripples – Google Help
How one Google+ user created what could be Google Ripples’ largest graph so far
Google Ripples and why brands will love it
What will Google+ mean for your organization?

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  • Urs E. Gattiker

    @askdebra:disqus    Thanks so much for this great guest post.
    I was immediately starting to reflect on the Ripple issue regarding influencers like you mention in the above post (e.g.,  @JanetFouts:disqus and her influence with the sharing).

    Intriguing it is but then I came up with some questions.  Of course, influence is hard to define and it depends on your objective.  However, let us just assume that like @JohnHaydon:disqus explaining Ripples here: You Finally Have a Google Plus Business Page… Now What? where he focuses on non-profits. So one objective could be to honor our donors and volunteers with a Google Plus page.

    What does this mean?  I tried to spell it out in part here:
    Bottom line metric: Funding or donations
    Key Driver:  Engaging with volunteers and donors – create buzz
    So our goal is to see how Google + activity can affect our key driver…. which, in turn, relates with our bottom line.

    Now I can see that Google+ Ripples will create excitement and the more people get my donor message or information about a fund raising event, the more likely:

    – will they attend the event,
    – participate in some activity
    – feel committed, and
    – hopefully donate time and money to the charity….

    @AskDebra:disqus am I going in the right direction?

    • Debra Askanase

      I think you are in sync with what I was thinking vis-a-vis nonprofit stakeholders.

      I think you’ve accurately stated a bottom line of a Google+ page (funding, donations), but I’d add “moving people to act” for advocacy, volunteering, and more…and engagement. The key driver is definitely engagement, but not just to create buzz. Engagement to deepen connections that will bring stakeholders closer and more deeply connected to the organization – and ultimately act on its behalf (creating buzz amongst one of those actions).

      In my (humble) opinion, understanding Ripples isn’t about gaining
      influence, per se, but rather identifying the intersection of those that
      care about your organization (such as volunteers and donors, which you
      suggest) and those that can influence others to act.

      I believe that all of this applies to the business realm as well as the NGO-realm. Business want to understand who influences people to make purchases, spread excitement about a product or brand, etc. Ripples can help businesses understand who to connect with to achieve those goals. In the business realm, Google+ Pages can also bring people closer to the business so they buy the product, become loyal buyers, and spread the word about the company.

      • Urs E. Gattiker

        @askdebra:disqus Right on the money you are.

        Agree there are in between stages we have to address and make sure that people get closer to the organiaztion, trusting us more….

        I also see it as mass collaboration that gives the charity or organzation the ability to amplify its capabilities by raising the engagement, innovation, and involvement of stakeholders, supporters or just people, both, internally and externally.

        However, if this works the same way for B2B versus B2C or NGOs I am not absolutely sure.  Because purchasing a power plant or other capital products is a process that takes time…. while purchasing a pair of sneakers?  What you think Debra or others, am I right or off track here?

        • Debra Askanase

          Urs, I also am not sure how best to think about Google+ and Ripples for B2B. One approach for a B2B company is to generate demand from the end-users through Google+, when that is applicable. It is a more challenging concept, using Google+ for B2B, and I’d welcome insight from B2B companies here.

        • Urs E. Gattiker

          @askdebra:disqus Thanks so much for your feedback

          I use Google + for B2B as well. However, as you say its for discussing issues and, of course, for getting people to talk about our brand @ComMetrics:twitter  to see that they use our product and so forth.  

          Nevertheless, I am still experimenting and I am hoping that others will share some thoughts about this here as well.

          Debra, thanks for your insights, super job.

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  • Urs E. Gattiker

    Thanks @Natalia272011:disqus for this comment.

    I am not sure if I understand it completely… but surely, the plus 1 design does affect search results as I have pointed out in a previous post.

    Thanks for sharing.

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