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Are Google+ Ripples a Worthwhile Feature?

In the beginning, people just didn’t know about Google+ Ripples, and so their popularity was naturally slow to grow. However, Ripples have now been an option for Google+ users for over 2 years (launched October 26, 2011) and it’s still being kept quiet. The idea seems great and small businesses owners have a lot to gain by using the feature, but the discussion of Google+ Ripples, or lack thereof, seems to say something different. Is the idea of Google+ Ripples being this great feature just seem to be true? 

Over a year ago, I learned about Google+ Ripples, and despite the fact that I was over a year late to the game, I was impressed (I wrote about them on Search Engine Journal here and even got a very nice comment on my Google+ page from Google Developer Relations Program Manager Louis Gray himself).

Are Google+ Ripples still relevant, or are they just another feature no one will bother to use?

A Quick Overview: How Google+ Ripples Work

Google+ Ripples is essentially an interactive way to visually show a Google+ user who has shared his/her post. It’s a free tool and anyone with a Google+ profile can use the feature by simply clicking “View Ripples” on the gray drop down arrow on the right hand side of every public Google+ post.

Below are two examples of Ripples that I found on my network. As you can see, the Ripples can appear very complicated as well as very simple:

1 Are Google+ Ripples a Worthwhile Feature?

2 Are Google+ Ripples a Worthwhile Feature?

On the right hand side of the screen you can see who shared the post. Those who have shared the post the most with the most people will appear in larger bubbles, which you can interact with by zooming in and seeing what each person said about that particular post.

There are a few ways to take advantage:

Visit an influencers’ Google+ page to view the ripple of that post, see where the post came from, and to reach out to the person who originally posted the article.  This allows you to create a relationship and ask if he/she will share your content with other influencers.

At second look, it is a lot of work.

Are Google+ Ripples a Worthwhile Feature?

In order to analyze the success of this feature, there are essentially two parts: How many people actually use Ripples vs. how many people should use Ripples. In other words, the success of the tool isn’t just based on one factor, but two.

The answer to the first question is tough because there aren’t any statistics out there just yet, but the second questions has some pros and some cons:

The Pros

You are able to track a post and see who is sharing your stuff, even if the share was indirect. If you can catch a pattern or a trend, you’ll know exactly where to go to keep spreading your posts and gaining that all-important visibility.

The Cons

It’s a lot of work. Looking at the Ripples can be fun, but actually going through and finding who the influencers are and where the post originally came from can be time consuming. It’s also worth noting that not all posts are going to have Ripples. For example, if a post was shared privately you won’t be able to see Ripples.

The Verdict: In the end, it probably doesn’t matter whether or not Ripples are worthwhile. If you want to take the time to use them, definitely do so because there is a lot of great information. Does that great information outweigh all the trouble? Most likely no, but that doesn’t mean you can’t be the exception and make something work for you.

What do you think about Google+ Ripples? Do you use this feature often? Do you think it’s a great feature but for some reason you never bother to use it? Let us know your story and your thoughts in the comments below.

Photo Credit: thinkstockphotos.com, photographer Digital Vision

Photo Credit: Screenshot taken 11/20/2013 of Amanda DiSilvestro’s Google+ account

Photo Credit: Screenshot taken 11/20/2013 of Amanda DiSilvestro’s Google+ account

 Are Google+ Ripples a Worthwhile Feature?

Amanda DiSilvestro

Online Content Editor/Writer at HigherVisibility
Amanda DiSilvestro gives small business and entrepreneurs SEO advice ranging from keyword density to recovering from Panda and Penguin updates. She writes for HigherVisibility, a nationally recognized SEO consulting firm that offers online marketing services to a wide range of companies across the country. Connect with Higher Visibility on Google+and Twitter to learn more!
 Are Google+ Ripples a Worthwhile Feature?

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9 thoughts on “Are Google+ Ripples a Worthwhile Feature?

  1. I can see how this can be a fun tool to use, but for practical use to improve results it’s a bit of over analyzing for my own taste.

    Keep things simple and get things done, analyze on your spare time.

  2. There’s a typo at the very beginning:

    “In the beginning,it people just didn’t know..”

    Just goes to show how many people actually read something before sharing it.

    Great post by the way.

    1. Hi Daniel, apologies. I have fixed this. Our team works hard to edit and review every post, but as you can see, we aren’t perfect. Thanks for letting us know!

  3. Honestly, I didn’t know this feature existed until you told me about it just now. But it definitely seems useful! It’s just another insightful tool into seeing who’s interested in your posts.

    LinkedIn actually has a similar feature. Anytime you share something publicly, you can see how many people viewed the post, shared it and commented on it.

    1. Really interesting I’ll have to look in to the whole LinkedIn thing. I didn’t know about Ripples for a very long time either, which prompted this article. Glad you see some value! Thanks for reading.