Circle Me! Google+ and Empire Avenue

On March 14th I initiated a series of questions, responses, more questions, and even more responses with the Empire Avenue crew. We laughed, we cried. The team over at Empire Avenue (EAv) is just that into it. In the #SocialEmpire spirit I focused my questions on the philosophy, the theory, the triumph and sacrifice. The glory of victory, the agony of defeat. I fabricated that last bit but if you’re still with me you deserve a little levity.

Moving right along to the first part of my interview series with the gracious team from Empire Avenue. Today we’ll cover the new kid on the block, Google+. Future articles will delve into some common misconceptions about Facebook, Instagram, and some of the other networks (did someone say Pinterest?) as well as general Empire Avenue game play and the greater role of EAv in the world of Social Media Analytics.

Do you agree with their quality vs. quantity assessment? Do you have any questions regarding your Google+ connection in Empire Avenue? Leave a comment!

Aaron K. White (e)BIGA
Director Design & Interactive Development

Brad Grier (e)BGRIER
Director of Social Media & Community Management and Color Coordination

Dr. Michael Mannion (e)MIKEM
Co-Founder/VP Research and Analytics

Ric Williams (e)RICEAV
Chief Operating Officer

Duleepa “Dups” Wijayawardhana (e)DUPS

Question 1
Currently Klout tracks Google+ API data and they are using +1’s, comments, and shares to generate their activity scores. Can Empire Avenue players expect that all three of these statistics will be a factor on Empire Avenue?

Mike:  Yes.
Aaron: We’re waiting for better access to the API.
Ric: As soon as Google opens up the API some more, your scores will reflect what data is available to us.
Dups: We use the same data as Klout and as everyone else has available through the G+ API to work out scores. Google has been slow to open up the API completely and hence we have left some room as more data is made available for us to add to the engagement scores!

Question 2
Of all the Empire Avenue connected networks Google+ most closely resembles Facebook in its functionality. Given that Empire Avenue has long abandoned the mythical “influence” game can we assume that our “audience” scores will reflect the number of unique commentors etc. vs. a sheer follow/follower ratio? This is notable because Google shares the same 5,000 follow cap but treats “subscribers” simply as followers. Please comment on the value of the sheer number of followers vs. the actual network response you receive to your content.

Ric: Interaction is worth far more than pure numbers of followers, engagement is about getting interaction not shouting to an empty void.
Dups: Adding to Ric, we’re working on even more analysis of quality of engagement as time goes on. Engagement is worth far more than influence any day.
Mike:  Google+ scores depend heavily on actual interactions.

Question 3
Those reading this article will likely fit into the Empire Avenue “power user” demographic which has been waiting since early July for the Google+ connection to Empire Avenue. Sometimes it’s difficult for these users to acknowledge that they are in the minority when compared to the total number of Empire Avenue players. In that context, what has been the overall demand for adding Google+ scoring vs. other popular networks like Tumblr or Pinterest?

Brad: It’s interesting. Initially there was a pretty high demand for Tumblr, but then Google+ came along, and now Pinterest seems to be the ‘demand darling’ from my ‘unscientific’ observations.
Dups: I would add that Google + connection on Empire Avenue are higher than what we see as the interweb average
Mike:  Google+ was the most heavily ‘requested’’ social media connection, though it has recently been displaced by Pinterest.

Question 4
This is a personal question but I have been a pretty vocal and visible Google+ evangelist with a decent number of followers (over 19,000) and strong levels of activity and my content receives a fair amount of community feedback but after 4 days of tracking the network my Empire Avenue score is only 13 while a few others have much higher scores with equal or lesser stats.

Dups: Because we believe that Google should open up their API a bit more than they have, we’ve left some room in the scoring to allow for a greater amount of data. We anticipate that we will adjust scores upwards as we see more engagement metrics from the Google+ API.
Mike:  OK, we’ll take a look at your data then ;) — which begs the question; how many of your 19,000 followers have actually interacted with your content in those four days, as compared to others? What we see, right now, is that your most reshared item has 9 reshares.  We have users with single posts with over 1000 reshares.  NOTE: One thing to remember and I think we may need to stress it is that we only get PUBLIC posts from the Google+ API.  So if you did post something to only one circle, however large, and got 1000 shares or something, we still wouldn’t see it and it wouldn’t count.

Are some users higher in the scoring because their connections were live in internal testing ie. they have been evaluated longer?

Ric: our network scores are about consistency of measurement and consistency of activity on the network.
Mike:  Yes, for the first month this is possible – as it take a while for the algorithms to collect data to give a full score.

When should we expect our Google+ scores to be fully tabulated? My shiny new “Evaluate” graphs show me that Twitter and FB scores took roughly 6 weeks to “flesh out”, in comparison.

Mike: see last question.  It takes roughly a month for enough data to be collected for numbers to stabilize.

I didn’t mean to imply that I should be at or near the top of the early G+ leader board or anything like that, in my research I noticed that a few people with less activity and/or interaction (not followers) had more than doubled my score. I know that, for example, people in #SocialEmpire are keeping a close eye on my G+ connection as a barometer – typically in comparison to Facebook. I know I’m not “all that”, just trying to piece together a rudimentary apples-to-apples expectation of the G+ impact on our overall EAv scores.

Brad: Heh, we know you’re not all about the ego and weren’t implying anything by asking that question that way. Since you chose your data to frame the question we thought it’d be ok to use it as an example.

30 responses to “Circle Me! Google+ and Empire Avenue

  1. Pingback: Circle Me! Google+ and Empire Avenue | What's new on the Avenue |·

  2. Pingback: Circle Me! Google+ and Empire Avenue « Empire Avenue Blog·

  3. Very interesting Ryan, really information-rich as always when coming from you :) My question is about Google+ Page(s) not covered here. What are EAv plans about Google+ Pages ? Create a connection in future? Accept it as a “blog type” connection? I have sent a ticket to support with no response yet… thanks again :)

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  6. Thank you for this article, Ryan! I enjoy my engagement at Google + and I am active there every day, but I have an Empire Avenue score of 13 as well. I’ve even checked the Google Plus Leader Board and checked on folks who were ranked higher (and bought their stock) to see why they were ranked higher. I am often shocked to see that they haven’t posted at G+ in days or weeks, that their posts don’t get any comments or shares, yet they are ranking high on the Leader Board. I don’t think I’m “all that” either, but it is a confusing situation, and I appreciate your interview and questions. Wishing you all the best!

  7. I’m right there with ya, check out my profile and then look at my EA score. I don’t think they really clarified what’s happening there. I figured if they were to take an in-depth look at my situation that it could answer questions like yours as well.

  8. I understand the points they made about only being able to work with public posts, but 99% of the things I post/share are marked “Public” so I agree with you, that they need to take a closer look and clarify how they are measuring G+. (Oh and duh on me, I didn’t realize Gravatar was posting as “cyberpumpkin” – I’m Marti Lawrence. I filled out my Gravatar profile years ago – I should look into getting that changed to my real name *smile*.)

  9. Thanks Ryan Z.

    I’m not so sure that any of these Internet barometers actually give reliable data results. KLOUT, seems to be the official source for influence measurement- but I have reservations there too.

    I’m a bona-fide and card carrying EA-Addict. I’m not so much addicted to the game for the Expansion, Evaluation and Engagement factors as much as just watching my share price and dividends grow. My G+ is

  10. On a phone so not going to read right now – but am already excited to see this – thankyou Ryan – already have back link planned from my blog – mahalo

  11. Ryan, I ran into this article via Digg and wanted to stop by and say that I appreciated your interview approach. Thanks for keeping us in the loop.


  12. Ryan, thanks for Interviewing the EAv team. What did you mean by “Empire Avenue has long abandoned the mythical ‘influence’ game?”

    I am all for rewarding quality (engagement) over quantity (of posts or followers). I think EAv wants to do that, but I also think they still do reward quantity are reluctant to do anything about people who are trying to game the system through auto-posting and other means.

  13. Pingback: (e)RYANJZ Extracts Google+ Info from the EAv Team « Empire Avenue Tips·

  14. Thank you Ryan for keeping all of us in the loop. As soon as read this I went into my networks and connected G+. It’s good to see this new option. Thanks for all the details you provided. Keep the good scoops coming from the EAV peeps.
    ~Karen Marie Shelton

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  16. MY Google + stays at the same score 1 for weeks and nothing changes since EA changed their format, I have been on google+ sharing a lot but it doesn’t change. Put in a support ticket, but if google isn’t opening their API this won’t change.

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  19. Great article Ryan. Love hearing the background on some of the decisions. A question I have is regarding Facebook. I have a FB score of 59 ( top 80ish on EA companies) and a fan page score of about 51 (top 40ish) What I don’t understand is (1)why my personal is higher ? I have about 2700 friends about 400 subscribers and most posts I make get a minimum amount of engagement…say anywhere from zero to 20 likes and a few comments. To contrast my fan page has 42000 fans and massive engagement. We grew by 4400 fans this month alone and I have an info graphic tab on the page with some really big numbers. The fan page sits at about 2500 on talking about us high of 3800 & I have had posts that hit 25000 on reach and 3000 engagement. Can you shed any light ? My fan page score rarely changes…Is the score calculated on consistency more than reach and engagement ?

  20. That’s because your personal profile is measured against the global personal profiles and your fan page is measured against all of the global fan pages. Not a lot of people have 2700 friends and 400 subscribers. Conversely, there are tens of thousands of FB pages with 50k+ fans etc.

    Hope this helps!

  21. Pingback: Why Your Google+ Network Score Sucks… | SOCIAL CURRENCY·

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