For anyone who has used Google+ for a short while, one of the most startling and positive observations about the search giants offering is the amount of engagement happening within the platform. The amount of sharing which is happening on content, and the frequency on which content is shared, appears to be absolutely kicking ass in comparison with other alternatives such as Twitter and Facebook. I’m not alone in my observations. Techcrunch have noted that they’ve seen a massive jump in traffic. Influencial tech people such as Robert Scoble and Gina Trapini have both noticed similar behaviours. For publishers, this is a fantastic news with more shares instantly equating to more traffic.
Many have commented that as others join the engagement will go down, and the system will stagnate. I personally don’t believe that this will be the case, or that this behaviour is the result of us getting familiar with things, or it just being shiny and new.
Many have compared Google+ to what it’s like if Facebook and Twitter had a baby. I totally agree, and in my opinion one of the reasons that we are seeing this increase engagement, and explosion of sharing in streams is for a number of reasons.
1) Content shared on Plus can be more easily pigeon-holed, and thus, sent direct to the people that will care about it, directly affecting engagement.
2) The content itself has a richness to it that an 140 character tweet doesn’t.
3) Plus(ing) someone’s update results in full content replication. It’s like a micro-blogging platform on steriods, closely mirroring the architecture of platforms such as Tumblr or Pinterest. (Take a look at the reblog and repin functionality, and you’ll see what I mean).
4) The Plus+ button is more attractive, the content font size of comments are bigger, and the call to action at the bottom of messages is well placed to encourage clicks.
5) The word ‘like’ may be stronger in it’s interpretation than giving someone a ‘bump up’ or agreeing with them. Plussing something allows you to share it with others without necessarily agreeing with the content or indeed ‘liking’ the original poster. It’s a softer form of interaction that potentially is encouraging more engagement.
Would love to hear your thoughts on this? Why do you think Google+ is driving more engagement from its users? Have you experienced similar?