In the beginning there were Ripples, Google’s surprisingly rudimentary display of the spread of Google+ posts.
And that’s about it. Google+ didn’t provide page managers with much useful information about how their page was performing, and that was one the major impediments to using the platform as an effective marketing tool.
That changed yesterday with the release of Google+ Insights for pages, a development that was overshadowed by the major Google My Business news.
Now managers of brand and business pages will be able to assess and adjust their efforts on the Google+ platform, both on the desktop and the new My Business Android app (pictured above and eventually coming to iOS). I haven’t had the opportunity to dig into the tool yet, but judging from the description in Google’s PDF guide and the help page there are good analytics to chew on.
The tool is broken down into three tabs, Visibility, Engagement and Audience. Audience is a basic demographic portrait — including gender, age and geographic location — of your followers and new followers. The other two are more interesting:
Visibility shows the total number of views a page has generated since October 1, 2012, broken down between views of photos, posts and the page profile. Photo views include data on impressions across Google, including Search, Image Search, Maps and other properties. As you would expect, the numbers can also be parsed by date range and pre-sets for seven, 30 and 90 days.
Beyond showing the total number of +1s, shares and comments a page has racked up over the years, the Engagement tab allows managers to see those metrics about each post from the page. For the first 72 hours, activity on posts is displayed hour by hour. You can also see breakdowns by post type, to determine which media (text updates, photos, videos) generate the most engagement, and access Ripples for each post, to help learn more about who is sharing your content.
All in all, G+ Insights is a long-overdue move that could spur managers who have been taking G+ for granted or even neglecting it. At the very least they finally will be able to quantify activity on the page.