If you are a metric geek and looking to add another metric in your fancy social media scorecard, Google+ announced today that they are rolling out another metric which might please all present and active on Google+: Profile Views
What this Means?
This implies that Google+ profiles now have a ‘Views’ number when you visit them (page or a user).This can be a result of a direct competition to a recent news involving Twitter testing out the ‘Views’ metric for their Tweets. Below is the screen grab capturing the recent change for the Digital Insights Google+ Page:
Google did not make any special announcement for the new update and to me it did seem an April Fool prank at first with the timing. But judging by the scheme of things, it does look it is here to stay.According to Mark Traphagen’s latest Google+ post, the View count is explained as something which shows how many times your content has been shown to other people (followers and non-followers) which includes your Profile as well as your posts and photos posted on Google+. Google as of now does not segregate views according to the types of content which can be a great add-on to have to actually see how each content is resonating on Google+ (something on the lines of Facebook Insights).
However, that can be something which can be rolled out at a later stage looking at the response users give to this new metric. The view count too is not updated in real time and is ‘approximate’ as stated by Google+. According to Eddie Kessler’s Google+ post who claims to be in the Google+ team who launched this feature today, the view counts are started from October 2012 only and not beyond. So those who have joined Google+ well and before the date (people like me) can forget getting the actual number of Views on their content from Google+.
If you do not want people to see your profile views (or are too embarrassed to show it to your friends), you can switch it off by going to Google+ –> Settings and un-check the option. Below is a screenshot for your reference:
A Google+ View here can be your content being rendered in the user’s visible window (includes scrolling past it) while for images and profiles it implies loading them up.
If you would want to know more about View count, here is a post outlining it in detail by Google+ own Yonatan Zunger:
Not missing out on the opportunity, CircleCount which acts as a statistics base for Google+ users has already started listing down Top users sorted by maximum profile Views for Pages as well as Users. You can view the list being updated as i write this blog post here:
Based on this singular metric of Google+ Views, we listed down some notable pages and profiles from Google+ in no specific order:
Google leads the way with more than 1 Billion Profile/Content views already followed by the popular blog The Verge.The ‘Views per Follower’ ratio can be an estimator as to how popular a particular profile (& it’s related content is) being shared and viewed by an average follower multiple times. The metric can surely be an assessment of how active the Brand is on Google+ (the more it posts, the more chances of people viewing it on it’s stream) and how popular the content it shares can get on Google+. Here again, The Verge seems to be more popular and actively followed than Google even with a lower follower base than the technology Brand. By the same logic, Indian eCommerce giant Flipkart along with Indian Cricketer Mahendra Singh Dhoni seem to enjoy low influence even when the follower count is high for them.
What we would really like to see from Google is the breakdown of these Views in a format which is digestible to brands and individuals alike. This will help in ensuring and planning our Google+ activity better and just not act as a ego-boost for someone to showcase his Google+ Views as a Klout type score in the future. In order to match up against Facebook/LinkedIn i do hope Google+ does start publishing insights related to individual content to give more transparency to their users for better growth opportunities on the platforms.
They might have just started it with this change, Or is it a well played April Fool Prank by Google? You decide!