Measuring Post Impressions in Google+
One thing I always wondered about in terms of Google+ statistics and engagement is the ratio of post impressions and clicks. In Google Webmaster Tools we can see how many people have seen our pages in SERPs and how many have clicked through, together with CTRs and average ranking position. In Google+ there are several useful statistical bits such as shares, +1′s, comments, ripples and some tools out there (e.g. Circle Count) collate this information in a nice way and track things over time. Impressions, however, are not there.
Well… not for link shares anyway.
So here’s my favourite trick to gauging engagement on the posts that I share:
Instead of sharing posts in direct link mode, I upload a nice attractive image instead and place the link in the description.
The downside of this method is that the link contains rel=”nofollow”, but it’s something I gladly trade for a nice little “Views” number you see up there in the screenshot. As you can see the post has had around 1000 views while Google Analytics shows roughly 100 visits. So that’s about 10% CTR.
We’re testing this further to ascertain what exactly classifies as a “View”, for example does user have to click on the image so it opens up in lightbox mode, or is it enough to see it in your stream or a standalone post.
So far the results are leaning towards the first option. We’ve had a small scale test performed within our team (60 people) and two posts:
a) Please click and open image.
b) Please do not open larger image.
In case a) Google+ shows 127 views, while in case b) there aren’t any statistics at all which hints at a possibility of either value rounding or threshold point after which the views start displaying. The only person that actually viewed the image was me while checking results. I have done it about five times. This could also mean that the views value is for unique visits/visitors and not clocking upwards on each refresh like the good old hit counter.
So there you go, a nice little hack to track the ratio of views and clicks to your content from Google+ posts.