While Google Plus may not be as popular as other channels like Twitter and Facebook for people to connect with friends, some brands have found success engaging unique audiences and grow their online visibility using the platform.
Google Plus has also been proven to be a relevant SEO strategy because it can help align your business information with the way the search engine indexes your information. It is Google’s social platform, after all, so it makes sense that using it can carry some weight in the search results. If your competitors are using Google Plus to promote their website’s content, you can track their every move with this report.
What can you do with this report?
- Track a Google Plus account’s audience and engagement growth
- Analyze your competitors’ posts
- See the top posts in your market over a period of time
- Find the most engaging hashtags used by your competitors
Settings and Navigation
By default, your settings will show your project’s main profile with the date range set to the past seven days, but these can be adjusted with the settings controls above the table. Just like the other reports in the social media tool, this report features five subsections: Posts, Audience, Activity, Engagement, and Hashtags.
In the first subsection, Posts, you can analyze a single competitor or choose “All Profiles” in the Company drop down. By default, the posts in the table are sorted by their Total engagement - the sum of total likes, comments, and views on a post. The table can also be sorted by any of the following column headers (1):
- Posted - The time and date that the update was posted on Google Plus.
- Engagement rate - The rate of engagement per post divided by the company’s audience size.
- Likes - The amount of +1s the post received.
- Comments - The number of comments on the post.
- Views - The number of views on a post.
To see an update as it appeared on Google Plus, click the blue pop-out button next to the post (2). This is the perfect report for comparing different posts that competitors in your market publish on Google Plus. You can analyze their tone and how they stylize images or videos to understand what works and what doesn’t in your market. This report allows you to filter posts by their type: All, Status, Video, Link and Photo. You can also filter by hashtags to see how competing brands talk about the same subject on Google Plus.
In the next subsection, you can analyze your competitor’s Google Plus audience size and growth. The top compares the page’s total followers in your set date range to the previous date range to indicate any growth or deflation in the company’s Google Plus audience. In the image below, we can see how WashingtonPost.com lost 594 followers over the course of 90 days.
The Audience Summary provides details about how many new followers came to a page each day (green and red bar graphs) and the overall trend of the audience’s growth (blue line graph). In the line graph, you can add activity and engagement metrics to get deeper insight. This lets you look for any days of high activity correlating with audience growth to get a deeper understanding of how a competitor grew their audience.
We can see that over the past month, WashingtonPost.com’s audience has steadily declined. However, there were two individual days with positive growth: Jan 24th and Jan 30th.
Comparison with Competitors: trend
This graph shows the trends of each competitor’s audience growth on Google Plus. The graph can be adjusted by hiding individual competitors with the colored blocks below the graph. You can look at an individual company’s audience growth, or all of your competitors at once.
Comparison with Competitors
The comparison graph at the bottom of the report has each competitor’s total Google Plus audience, change, and growth % listed. The competitors can be hidden with the eye icon beside their name (1) and you can sort them in order of any of the column headers (2).
The third subsection, Activity, is where you can follow how many posts your competitor has published over a given period of time. Select the page that you want to analyze from the drop down at the top and the report will populate with their profile’s metrics. If you’re just getting started with your Google Plus page, this is a good report to look at how often a successful competitor of yours uses the platform.
Posts are categorized into links, videos, photos and statuses, so you can compare which types of posts they rely on most to get engagement. This tab features an overview of the page’s number of posts (1), an evaluation of the posts’ engagement levels (2), the page’s publishing trend (3), and comparison charts to measure how the page’s activity stacks up against its competitors.
The engagement subsection features an Engagement Summary, Comparison with competitors (trend) and overall Comparison with competitors. Here’s where you can see which competitors in your project are getting the most likes and shares on their Google Plus updates.
The top shows the page’s Total Engagement over the set date range and compares it to the previous time period. In the example below, Washington Post’s Google Plus engagement is compared between the week ending on February 10th to the week ending on February 5th.
The numbers you see on the left here are the engagement levels of The Washington Post’s Google Plus page over the course of two weeks (546 is the most recent week, and 897 is the previous week). The third number, -351, is the difference between the two. The last number, -39.13%, represents the total growth from 897 to 546.
Engagement Summary / Total Engagement
The next section breaks down the Total Engagement for the profile. The sum of +1s, reshares and comments on Google Plus is how we measure Total Engagement. Next to the totals for each metric will be the change (from the previous time period), the growth and the trend.
Comparison with competitors: trend
This trend graph compares how each company’s Google Plus engagement levels increase or decrease over time. You can change the focus of the graph between Total engagement, post +1s, reshares and comments. Deselect any competitors from the comparison with the colored boxes below the graph.
Comparison with Competitors
The last comparison with competitors graph shows the overall engagement levels of every competitor in your project. The profiles can be sorted by total engagement, change, or growth (%). Change and growth are based on the difference in engagement between the set date range and the previous amount of time.
Hashtags on Google Plus
Hashtags appear on Google Plus similar to Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram. While navigating the social network, they’ll appear as “topics” to explore. However, the way hashtags on Google Plus operate are also unique. Hashtags have even been reported to generate automatically if a post is written discussing a popular topic.
People use hashtags to find new and relevant connections, measure the popularity of topics, and brainstorm ideas. If your competitors are taking advantage of this function, you can follow the most engaging hashtags across all the profiles in your project. Sort the table to find the hashtags with the most engagement per post or the hashtags that were used by the most competitors in your project.