In the past, the Google Plus dashboard never really offered any quality insights to business page owners. People had to rely on third-party tools such as All My Plus Statistics or CircleCount to get the data they needed about the successes and failures of their business pages. While those are valuable resources, and each tool is great in its own unique way, it’s nice to have access to the Google Plus Analytics tool and Google Plus Insights right from your business page’s dashboard. The amount of statistics and demographics offered is a bit underwhelming when compared to Facebook Insights, but you can still get a reasonable overview of your audience, when they’re most active, what types of posts they appreciate the most, and your overall business page views.

Why are my business page statistics important?

Your online success hinges on your ability to create a game plan and adjust it as needed, and it’s no different with Google Plus. The last thing you want to do is waste valuable time by continuing to engage in ways that aren’t working, and quality insights can help you correct that ship.

When it comes down to website traffic and Social Media engagement, numbers are everything. If you’re not regularly checking numbers and adjusting your marketing efforts for maximum return, then you’re going into battle blindfolded. For the record, there’s a distinct difference between the words “regularly” and “obsessively.” Checking website traffic and AdSense earnings 20 times per day will drive you nuts before bringing you closer to your goals, but we’ve all been there. Stay focused and get the information you need so stat checking doesn’t become counterproductive.

Google Plus Dashboard Overview

A review of the Insights and Analytics features

Google Plus Insights

If you’re looking to optimize your online marketing and Social Media strategy, the data found using your Google Plus Insights is a good place to start, and it’s accessible right from your Google Plus Dashboard. To get there, all you need to do is click on your profile picture in the top right-hand corner of your screen, then click “My Business.” Once you’re on the dashboard for your page, click “View Insights.” The 3 tabs that most of you will be interested in are Visibility, Engagement, and Audience. The Platform tab won’t apply to most of you, so we’re not going to cover it here, but if you’d like to know more about it, visit the official Connected Services: Google+ Platform Insights help article.

According to Google, Insights data will not update in real-time and may take up to 48 hours to refresh, and only significant values may be shown. In other words, if your page doesn’t see any action, you may not have any data to even look at. Seeing blank values doesn’t mean your business page is broken, it just means that you need to increase your page views, get more followers, and boost overall engagement to reach the threshold for which data will be shown. Let’s break down the Insights feature on Google Plus by category so you can get a better idea of what you’ll find.

Visibility Tab

This lets you examine the total number of views your page has gained, which is separated into Post Views, Profile Views, and Photo Views.

Post Views

This is the total number of times people saw posts from your Google+ business page. This includes communities, re-shares from other users, home feed posts, and just about any other location where your content can be found on Google Plus.

Profile Views

This is the total number of times people saw your Google+ business page. Google will not display this number if your view count is too low, so if you don’t initially see data here, don’t panic. It will display once your profile views increase.

Photo Views

This is the total number of impressions your Google+ photos have across all Google properties. This may include Google plus, Google Web Search, Google Image Search, Google Maps and other properties.

Keep in mind that some days on Google Plus are more active than others, as is the case with every social network. You’ll see engagement dips at certain points throughout the week in the same way that you’ll notice peaks on the busier days. The telltale sign of a successful marketing strategy is to see a gradual increase in your peaks, which will be more visually apparent when selecting the “Last 90 Days” view.

Here’s what the visibility tab will look like:

Google Plus Insights visibility tab

If you only want to view one of the items, then you can uncheck the colored boxes until you’re viewing your desired metric. For the local businesses verified through Google My Business, you’ll even see two additional sections on the Visibility tab labeled “Clicks,” and “Driving Directions.” The “Clicks” section will display the total number of clicks your business website receives from local search results in Google Maps, Search, and Maps for Mobile. The “Driving Directions” on Google Plus Insights will display the total number of clicks for driving directions people request from local search results in Google Maps, Search, and Maps for Mobile. Those two metrics alone can give you a really strong indication on how well your local SEO campaign is going.

Engagement Tab

This lets you see the types of posts which have proven themselves to be the most effective at engaging your audience. In other words, which content your audience is willing to interact with on a regular basis.

Actions Graph

The “Actions on Posts” engagement insights are broken down into 3 categories. Not surprisingly, they are:

  • +1’s: The total number of times people clicked +1 on a page’s posts.
  • Shares: The total number of times people re-shared posts from a page.
  • Comments: The total number of times people commented on a page’s posts.

Insights Engagement Tab Actions on Posts

A good way to measure success here is to set the Insights data to show the last 90 days, and see if you can spot an overall increase in engagement. To keep things simple, start by looking at one metric at a time (+1’s, shares, or comments) before viewing them all together. If you’re not seeing a steady increase, a good place to start would be to check your engagement peaks and see if you can identify any similarities between them. Are there certain types of posts you’re sharing when engagement is highest? Are you sharing them on certain days of the week, at certain times? These are all things to consider when making adjustments to your future strategy.

Recent Posts

The “Recent Posts” section of Insights lets you analyze the “Views” of the Visibility tab and the “Actions” from the Engagement tab on an individual post basis. This is the best way to compare individual posts, and gives you perhaps the most helpful engagement data to create more effective posts going forward.

Insights Engagement Tab Recent Posts

The first thing you’ll probably notice are the symbols on the right: the arrow and the eye. The arrow represents the cumulative actions on a given post, while the eye represents total views. To get a more detailed breakdown, just click on a post:

Engagement Tab Individual Post Insights

The picture above is looking at one post from Meme Binge over a 7 day span, and it seems to follow the typical pattern for Google+ posts: it starts off slow, picks up steam, then cools off in a hurry. You’ll see more of the small ups and downs if you view the 72 hour life of the post.

Average action by post type

This section is pretty simple. Want to know what types of posts your audience likes best? This will tell you. By hovering your mouse over one of the post types, a small pop-up will display with a breakdown of the actions showing the percentage of +1’s, shares, and comments each type has received.

Google Plus Insights Average Actions by Post Type

Audience Tab

Our last tab of interest on Insights for Google Plus is the “Audience” tab, which provides demographics on your audience including followers by country, gender, and their age range. This information is self-explanatory, so we won’t dive into much detail, but here’s what you should expect to see from the Audience tab:

Followers

Insights Audience Tab Followers

Followers by Country

Insights Audience Tab Followers by Country

Gender & Age

insights audience tab gender age

The key takeaway here is to know your audience. Know where they’re from and what they want to see, and cater your content to your crowd for maximum engagement.

Google Plus Analytics Tool

The last part of the Google Plus Dashboard that’s worth looking at is the Google Plus Analytics Tool. To enable the Analytics widget from your dashboard, you must meet the following criteria:

  1. Have a Google+ page
  2. Have Google Analytics installed on your website
  3. Link your website to your Google+ page

Keep in mind this will not work for personal profiles, just pages. Assuming the website listed in the Analytics property is the exact same as the website verified on your Google+ page, you’ll have access to your Analytics directly on your business page’s dashboard. Here’s what the widget looks like, but hopefully yours won’t have any negatives like this one!

Google Plus Analytics Tool Widget

Your business page’s dashboard on Google+ gives you the ability to gather useful information at a quick glance without needing to spend large amounts of time analyzing data. As mentioned before, the information offered through the Insights and Analytics widget on Google Plus isn’t overwhelming, but it’s not meant to be. Even the casual page owner can look at the data offered, filter a few items and have some useful information to make adjustments to their Google Plus marketing plan. Sure, Insights is missing a few things that data junkies would like to see, but it’s simple to navigate, simple to read, and meant for the masses. Calling all page owners… check out your Insights! See what you can find.