Last week there were a lot of talks about Google+ and the questionability of actual engagement from it’s users. Many questioned the 60-80% engagement numbers and wondered what specifically defined engagement. As with anything Google related, the internet marketing world was in a tizzy about the announcement and the lack of clout behind the number, especially after discovering that engagement simply meant logging in and using a Google product. I thought about this a bit and after experimening with Google Search Plus Your World a bit more, I realized that even if they aren’t engaging it doesn’t matter.
When I first signed up for Google+ the first thing I did was figure out my circles. After all, what good is a social network without friends? After that it was just a matter of posting, experimenting and familiarizing myself with all the features. It is my guess that this is the path most novice Google+ users take when first starting out. And it is because of this process that I believe Google+ is still having an impact.
Enter Google Search Plus Your World
Google Search Plus Your World relies on one element to function. Your circles/friends. As long as you have cirlces setup in Google+ you have the opportunity to see personalized results via Search Plus Your World. Search Plus Your World injects photos, content, people, and related people and pages into your search results via your connections on Google+. Even if you never use Google+ after your initial setup there is still a chance of seeing this content from people you are connected to that are using Google+.
What This Means For Google
Love or hate Google+, Google is doing a stellar job at making sure people know Google+ is there and making sure you will eventually have to use it. First they are now making Google+ the By introducing Search Plus Your World, Google has basically guaranteed that users will engage Google+ content at some point or another. Even if you never use Google+ there is a chance you will receive recommendations from your friends that are using Google+ and ultimately may clickthrough and engage via Google+ or at least view Google+ content. In addition to hooking existing users that may not being using the social network, Google now requires a Google+ profile as part of signup, ensuring that all new users are injected into the Google+ ecosystem.
What This Means For Internet Marketers and Businesses
My wife is one of the probably thousands of users that signed up for a Google+ account early on only to abandon it a few days later. Though she never uses the service she is an avid GMail, Google Reader, and Google search user. As I look at some of her searches I see that even though she no longer uses Google+ her search results continue to be influenced by the users she initially added to circles.
Even if your audience isn’t active, it doesn’t mean they can’t be influenced. Establishing a presence and making sure that you make it into that intial batch of circles could be crucial in your ability to influence the search results of your audience in the future. Even moreso, creating content that may be shared by an inactive users inner circles could also create opportunities for you and your business.