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In 2011, Google launched their take on a social media platform – Google+. Since the launch, Google has continually integrated the platform into their other apps in an effort to make it one of the most viable networks for all users. In an effort to attract more businesses, Google has also implemented a number of useful features like Google+ Ripples that allow users to track the success of their endeavors.

What is Google+ Ripples?

For businesses, social media platforms like Google+ are a large part of their marketing campaigns. This means that they often need to know what is working, what isn’t, and the overall success of different content.

While this is doable on every platform, you are usually left with a bunch of data that needs to be dealt with. Many businesses choose to visualize this data, and most platforms actually have tools to help you do this. One of the main determinants of the success of a post is whether it has been shared and re-shared. In order to give users a deeper understanding of a post’s reach, Google has implemented the Ripples feature.

This feature visually represents a public post’s reach via sharing. It allows a user to see who posted the content and who is sharing it. This essentially shows how content ripples out from the original creator, giving the original poster a good idea of what works and how, and who it is working with.

How it works

When you publicly post content on Google+ you can view the shared data, or ripples related to it. If you hover over the post, a downward facing arrow will appear at the top-right. Click it and select View Ripplesfrom the drop-down menu to open the Ripples report for that particular post.

In the center of the report you will see the post’s title and radiating out from the center are arrows. These arrows point to bubbles with people’s names, which represent a share. If a friend of that user shares the content (called a secondary share) they will then ripple out from the original user who shared the content, and the circle will expand to encompass these shares too. The bigger the circle, the more shares related to the user it encompasses.

If you click on a name in a bubble, the graph will zoom in and show you the content that was shared, who it was shared with, and the message attached when the user shared it. You can even add the user to your circles or view the full post on their profile.

Below the Ripple graph is also more information to be found in five segments:

Historical spread of the post

Right below the Ripple graph is a section labeled Watch the spread of this post. It is an interactive timeline that allows you to see how the post was spread over time. Press the play button on the left and watch the graph change in relation to shares and time.

Reshares over time graph

This section is another timeline that highlights the number of shares over time. It follows the same timeline as the bar above, so you can easily see when the highest number of shares occurred.

You should pay attention to this section, largely because it gives you a glimpse as to when your content is shared most. If for example you look at a number of posts and see that there is a sharp uptake in shares around noon, then you can guess that your users are most active at noon, and so post content just before in order to maximize shares and views.


This section is focused on the people who have shared the original post and had the content reshared by their friends. The top five influencers are shown ranked from highest to lowest, along with the number of reshares from their post. This can be a useful tool for businesses as it allows them to see which users are the key influencers.


In this section you will see some interesting statistics on the post including:

  • Average chain length – This is the average length of shares e.g., someone shares your content and it is in turn shared by another user, and then another and so on. Obviously, the longer the chain the better.
  • Longest chain – This is the length of the longest chain of shares, which can be useful in helping determine whether there are any major anomalies e.g., why is there an average of only two shares when the longest is 16? This statistic may point to a potential heavy influencer or a dummy account.
  • Shares/hour – This indicates the number of shares per hour since the content was first posted.


Finally, in this section you will see what languages your content has been shared in. If you post content in English and see that a large percentage of the shares are in Spanish, it may be a good idea to translate your content in order to better appeal to a larger audience.

If you are looking to learn more about Google+ and how you can get the most out of it, contact us today to see how we can help.

Published on 3rd January 2014 by Jeanne DeWitt.


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