First of all, let’s talk about where these views show up or how they get counted. It’s a little different between posts and then between profiles and images. Let’s start with profiles and images.
A breakdown from the professionals:
Yonatan Zunger of Google said that, “On profiles and images, we’ve been told that those get counted as a view only when someone opens them specifically. So in the case of a photo or an image, the image that’s going by in the stream doesn’t get counted as an image view. But if someone clicks on that image in their stream or in your post or wherever and they open it up, typically an image would open up in what we would call a like box, that counts as a view for the image.
Similar thing with your profile or your page. Someone has to actually go to that profile for it to count as a view.
Now what’s different – very different – and this is where a lot of people are seeing the large number. They’re still saying, How can I only have 1000 followers but I’ve got 10M views. How does that happen? Most of that’s happening purely at the post level, because a post gets a view if it’s just simply seen by a person. And that can mean going by on their stream. As long as it has visibly on their screen, it counts as a view for that post.
Now, not only that but all the re-views of that post. So if that post gets shared, that counts as a view for the person who shared it if it’s seen but also a view for the re-shared post. The original poster gets a view count every time that’s seen.
One more place where that can multiply, with +1 recommendations. If someone who has that feature enabled on their profile +1’s of your posts, then potentially that post is pushed out to their extended network, their followers and the followers of those people.”- via PlusYourBusiness.com
There is also some speculation that Youtube views are getting thrown into the mix and that they’ve been counting views since October of 2012. We think Google gave us this because they want to slowly but surely move the focus away from followers and more towards engagement. We don’t need 1,000,000 followers to get a million views. We just need you to see our content and engage.
Yes, obviously if you follow then it’s more likely that we’ll get more engagements in the future (but not always) so following does have value but that initial engagement holds more weight. There’s nothing worse than having followers who don’t engage. I know because we have a few (hundred/thousand) who do nothing and are still looking for a way to drop the dead weight. #nooffense
Google also wants more activity on their Google+ platform so I’m sure that’s why they are showing the views count. It gets us interested. At least it did for me!
Does Google+ Have Value?
While the view metric is valuable as far as it goes, it gives you kind of an idea that you get some reach, that what you’re posting is getting out there, I think at the end of the day you’ve got to balance that with the measurement of what real value you’re getting out of that. So let’s take a look. When you click on a Google+ link it takes you to that url not a Google+ viewer which I like. That way you can easily track your CTRs (click throughs) to your site/blog.
I went to our google analytics and blogger analytics to compare the traffic. I’m a little apprehensive showing this because We’ve been on twitter way longer than Google+ so the traffic doesn’t compare equally. We also get a ton of referrals from Google alone and Google images and TBH I’m not sure if I should count those as Google+ traffic sources. So I won’t count them for now. Please keep in mind that the traffic chart below isn’t an apples to apples comparison. This is traffic YTD. Another thing to remember is that we tweet WAY more everyday vs. only 2-5 posts to Google+ per week (same with pinterest and bloglovin). The key takeaways here are that while we only have 397 followers on Google+ we’re getting more clicks (6,319) directly to the blog! Which is a WIN! The other key takeaway is that we need to post more to Google+.
Let’s compare that reach to twitter a little deeper shall we? A platform where we have more followers but less impressions. In the same month we received an increase of 2million views on Google+. So roughly 47k impressions on twitter vs. 2million new impressions on Google+.
We aren’t advertising or promoting these platforms in any way and a few months ago we just started using Twitter again. I guess it’s time to rethink that strategy.
* Post to Google+ and post often! Join the communities, circles, and add friends/followers to your profile.
* Obviously memes, gifts, and images that get shared do really well on Google+ and get a ton of views! But remember to post things relevant to your business and building your brand.
* Google+ view count for the most part is merely an “impression” which is just that. A view. Right now you can’t separate profile and image views (which are actually clicks) vs. content views (basically an impression). Which is a big difference because those are actual clicks vs. impressions which should never be measured together.
*Know your numbers. When I have 3 minutes to do an elevator pitch to someone I want to collaborate with you better believe I’m dropping my Google+ views number. Because WOW. That’s the reaction most people have. It means you have reach and engagement and that’s important.