This article was first published on: Feb 5, 2014.
Google+ used to be seen as an Internet equivalent of a ghost town, with too few users to be useful as a marketing platform. But over the course of 2013, that perception slowly began to change. First, Global Web Index reported that Google+ had overtaken Twitter to become the second most actively used social network. Then the numbers started coming in: in October 2013, it was reported that Google+ had 540 million active users uploading 1.5 billion photos a week. That’s a lot of users, any way you look at it.
With the growing user base, Google+ has now become a much more viable social networking platform for brand marketing. But in a crowded market, you need more than just ideas to get the most out of Google+ marketing. You need to be able to analyse your posting habits and promotional efforts to see what works and what doesn’t. Here are 5 best tools and services that will help you do just that.
1. All My + Statistics
All My + Statistics is probably the most essential tool for Google+ marketers. It’s a free analytics tool that can provide data for any public Google+ profile or page. It can also interpret and present existing Google Takeouts data. Using All My + Statistics, you can gain an insight into, amongst others:
- Total number of posts, +1s and shares
- Total and average number of comments, +1s and reshares for your shared posts
- Whose content you share the most, and who shares your content the most
- Most popular posts on Google+
All My + Statistics also has a handy search feature that lets you search all of Google+ for particular phrases or keywords. This can be useful for tracking shares of your posts and finding other users or pages that have similar content.
Circloscope is a Chrome extension for Google+ circle management. It’s not completely free, but there is a free trial available that is only limited in terms of features. Even though the free version doesn’t have all of the features the premium version has, there’s still a lot that you can do. Some of the lists Circloscope can generate include:
- A list of your followers
- A list of the most relevant people in your circles
- A list of people who follow or don’t follow you back
- Lists of people who have shared, +1’d or commented on your posts
The premium version costs $47 a year, and adds a number of potentially useful features, including the ability to add and remove people to your circles in mass.
CircleCount is a free analytics and statistics tool focused on Google+’s circles feature. As the name suggests, it counts the circles that you are included in. CircleCount can provide you with a general report that includes information such as local and global page rank. But that’s not all that CircleCount will do, of course. You can also use CircleCount to:
- Generate a graph for follower statistics
- Search for users based on location
- Generate yearly reports
- Create a custom ranking feature to find profiles or pages
The site claims that CircleCount is “just for fun”, but the metrics and data CircleCount provides should prove invaluable for marketers looking to make the most out of Google+. Just take note that to get full access to all the features, you’ll have to register.
4. Simply Measured
Simply Measured is a visual analytics service that can generate a number of different types of reports for Google+ pages. However, the only free report it can generate is a general Google+ page report, and even then this free report is limited to pages with less than 100,000 circles. The report analyses the last two weeks of a Google+ page’s performance, and includes:
- Number of +1s, comments and shares
- Top users and commenters
- Keyword analysis
If you’re willing to pay, Simply Measured can also provide you with brand page reports, competitive analysis and an analysis of multiple Google+ pages. There’s a free 14-day trial for the paid services in case you want to try them out before committing.
NOD3x is a Social Network Analysis (SNA) service that can be used to track and measure the impact of topics and keywords in social media. It’s of particular interest to Google+ users since it allows you to log in and analyse your posts on Google+ and YouTube. NOD3x is an example of semantic search, and can draw graphs (some of them real time) for information such as:
- Statistics (total posts, number of posts with links, unique authors) for search terms
- Gender analysis
- Post locations and volume
- Sentiment Analysis
There’s a lot you can do with NOD3x, and the best way to find out what it can do for you is to give it a go yourself. Note that NOD3x is still actively being developed, so there may be some bugs present, as well as features that are yet to be added.