For the past few weeks I have been trying to better understand my audience on Google+. As an early adopter, I was fortunate to take the opportunity to grow a large audience. The people that have circled me are from all over the world, and I would be surprised if more than 50% of them spoke English.
For those that do speak English (or were able to translate), I created a Google Form to collect data to better understand my audience. This is something that businesses could easily do from time to time to poll their followers. In the survey I asked a few questions relating to peoples’ use of Google+ and what they typically enjoy seeing in their streams. The results were not shocking, but very interesting. Out of the first 245 surveys completed, here’s what people had to say.
For the first six questions I asked users to answer a question on a scale of 1-5 to see how they felt about certain things in their stream.
The first question asked “Do you like seeing animated GIF’s appear in your stream?”
25% replied Not Really and 14% replied Absolutely! The other 59% answered somewhere in the middle, but leaning towards indifferent and not really.
The second question asked “When you see posts that link to websites outside of Google+, how likely are you to click on the hyperlink?”
44% of respondents replied indifferently and only 6% of respondents selected “I’ll Click Anything.” Most surprisingly though, only 2% of responded that they were not likely at all to click a hyperlink. 37%, the second largest segment of respondents answered somewhere between indifferent and “I’ll Click Anything.” So, the click-through intentions (or likelihood) seem to be pretty strong according to this data.
The third question asked “How often do you share a post that you like?”
The responses to this were also pretty well saturated around indifferent. only 1% replied “Never” and 7% replied “Every Single Time.” The remaining 92% replied somewhere in the middle leaning towards “Every Single Time.” So again, according to the survey data people are more likely to share a post that they like than not to.
Question four produced some of the most encouraging, “When you see someone else has commented on a post that you commented on, do you return to the post to read the comment?”
47% of respondents stated that they “Always” return to the post to read the comment. 49% were between indifferent and always and only 4% stated “Never” or less than indifferent. This represents a pretty strong indication that the gross majority of users in this sample are likely to return to a post they’ve commented on to read additional comments. Therefore, a thorough discussion in a comment thread should breed more attention to post warranting such.
The fifth question’s responses are most likely dependent on the resources of the users responding. When asked “How likely are you to log into Google+ from a mobile device to view your stream” the responses were:
20% stated that they “Hardly Ever” viewed their stream with their mobile device and 33% stated they did it “All the Time.” The trend of the remaining 47% was towards “All the Time” with only 11% answering between indifferent and “Hardly Ever.” This shows that 80% of users that answered the survey are utilizing their mobile devices at least some of the time to view their streams.
Breaking away from the “how often” and “how likely” questions, I decided to ask users what type of posts they typically like to interact with. The question allowed multiple selections, so the percentages are of the entire population surveyed.
According to the results, 55% of users participate with Photography posts, 45% with Funny & Silly Pictures, only 23% (second lowest percentage) stated that they interact with Animated GIF Images, 46% said yes to YouTube videos, 71% liked to interact with Blog-style Posts, 71% also enjoy Posts that Link to News Articles with a Short Description, 62% interact with Posts that Ask You a Question, 58% with Posts About Every Day Life, and there was only one respondent that checked the last box, “None, I’m a Scrooge when it comes to interaction.”
In conclusion, unless you have an audience full of Ebeneezer Scrooges, they are most likely to interact with Blog-Style Posts in Paragraph Format and Posts that Link to News Articles with a Short Description. The least likely type of post to warrant an audience response based on this survey were those containing Animated GIF Images.
The next question produced some hopeful results for the growth of Google+ and people’s understanding of circles. I asked respondents to state “How many circles do you have?”
Only 12% (the second lowest sample) stated that they have between 1-5 circles. 29% stated they keep between 6-10 circles, 35% (our largest sample) keeps 11-20 circles of Google+ers, 14% keep 21-50 and only 9% have 51 or more circles. The distribution was towards 11-20 with the second strongest response having 6-10 circles.
Another question asked their “favorite person to follow on Google+”
There were over 100 replies to this question other than “none” with several repeated answers. Due to difficulties finding some of the names that were submitted, I was only able to find and circle 64 unique users. That circle will be shared shortly after the results of this survey are published. The surprising finding was that there were not very many repeated names among these results.
Towards the end of the survey, I included a text field box and asked respondents to stated what they would like to see more of on Google+. Here’s what a few of them had to say:
“I enjoy most posts on G+ and I believe everyone does it ‘their way’ so there is no ‘wrong way’. I like reading everything from what people are having for dinner to what the latest technology or social media trends are. It’s difficult to connect with a person on a personal level when all they post are technical articles but some people aren’t interested in connecting that way. I don’t really appreciate the popularity contests or posturing to be the ‘big man on campus’ .. it’s all ego and no content. That’s all I have to say about that :)”
“I’d like to see more thoughtful posts…I tend to follow the same group of G+ers and would enjoy new faces!”
“Better integration with other Google properties :)”
“Stream control: pausing, filtering of content (such as animated gifs especially if I’ve already seen them a few times in my stream), the ability to filter out content by keyword such as “”#caturday”” since sometimes I don’t mind seeing things like that, but other times it’s just annoying so I don’t want to filter it all the time.I want the ability to add vanity URLs and images to comments ala GWave.”
“I would like to see even more original content posted, and more interaction.”
“Comments from the person who made the original post.”
“More of a general interaction because it is like facebook except there is a lot more you can do”
The comments left on that question contain some Google gold. If there is anyone from Google+ that would like a copy of the raw data, I will be more than happy to share as long as privacy and anonymity are preserved.
To round out the survey, I wanted to ask respondents to state whether or not they have “ever participated in a Google+ Hangout.”
Much to my delight 39% (the largest sample) replied “Yes, I love them,” and even better only 2% replied “Yes, but I don’t think I’ll do it again.” 19% replied “No, but I would love to,” along with another 19% that replied “No, I’m too shy!” 12% of respondents replied, “No, I don’t have a webcam.” and 2% replied “What’s a Hangout?” 7% selected other in lieu of the suggested replies. This is some great news for businesses and organizations that are looking to leverage hangouts for their business, marketing and customer relationship efforts. The people have spoken and 58% either have used hangouts and love them or would love to try it sometime.
These results are not scientific.
The data was collected in the simplest of fashions, using Google Documents Forms feature and sharing the link to the form on my Google+ profile. I want to thank all of the people that re-shared the post and helped it pick up the leverage it needed to receive the attention and results that it did. Please note that this is not an official Google poll and was conducted so I could decipher what my audience wanted to see more of. Since all of the information is anonymous, I would like to share it with you an empower you to use it to your advantage and better understand your community.
If you enjoyed this post and would like to see more research similar to it, please let me know. I’m always looking for the next great idea, innovation and effort by other members of the community.
(Original Post from Google+: https://plus.google.com/108541235642523883716/posts/b9nVENxX9iY)