On the 17th of November, Google Plus – as we knew it – had died, just not in the way that everyone had predicted. Google had, instead, revamped the visuals of the much maligned and heavily discussed social media platform. According to the tech giant, they had reached out and listened to their audience, noticing a trend that the majority of respondents were huge fans of their communities and collections features.
The entire interface, as a result, is visually leaner, cleaner, and more becoming of something that we’d expect from a company that always impresses us with their designs. It has provided each facet of the social platform with more importance, of which a colour scheme that mimics their famous logo has helped to foster. In the old interface, it was easy to get lost, and some of Google+’s most innovative features never saw the light of day, as a result.
However, behind the cosmetic change, there was a greater change to what we couldn’t see. They also trimmed down the size of the old site which used to be a mind boggling 22 MB and gave collections and communities their own landing pages. This now means that the site is lightning fast, something that notoriously dogged the old version. Of more importance, however, is the greater power they’ve given to the bread and butter of social media: the users.
Google Plus has made more use of its most powerful weapon Google itself. The platform now focuses more on the relative interests of the user. Whilst Google Plus has always been great to closely follow any favourite topic, as we discussed back in August, this enhancement makes it even easier to track your hobbies and interests. Communities now play a much more pivotal role, and are now a fantastic way to get your thoughts and ideas out to the world.
Collections has also been revamped, which was only just launched in May of this year, and gives photos a much greater role to play than before. One of Google Plus’ biggest success stories (and the only one, depending on who you talk to) has been this unique photo sharing space. By making it stronger and more streamlined, it has turned the social network into prime billboard space to share your artistic endeavours.
Both of these changes have, in turn, bumped up key, analytical stats. We conducted a little experiment with a dummy page during a fortnight period recently, and compared this with a matching timeframe of similar post frequency. We found:
- That there was a 35.9% increase in the amount of total times the business page was viewed
- An increase of 37% for clicks to the website that the dummy page was linked to
- A 50% increase in followers, all of which had similar interests to those listed on the dummy page
Most social media marketers would love these stats, and it points to Google finally realising that to compete with Facebook, it has to be not Facebook. That’s not a criticism of the biggest player in the social media world, either. It’s more of a compliment that they’ve courted such a share of the market that others need to think outside the box. What we’ve seen from Google Plus is a maturity to play to their strengths and do exactly this.
However, these numbers came from posting quite frequently around three to four times in a working week meaning that Google Plus still requires a bit of nurture and care. This is something that still plagues the platform, compared to the almost instant results that Facebook and Twitter have always offered as their selling point. Facebook’s incredibly powerful advertising feature can essentially guarantee these stat jumps easily for a small price, as a comparison
But that’s to ignore the great effort that Google Plus has taken to improve itself. Critics may say that this smaller, more precise targeting has consigned Google Plus to an infinite development phase. However, as the quest for more reach, likes, and followers takes an exaggerated grip on the social media world, it is refreshing to know that there is still a way to connect with likeminded people.