Last week I wrote an article called “4 Reasons Why the iBeacon is a lot Cooler than QR Codes.” Often as I do, after publishing an article I went to my usual social networks to promote it. I shared the link to my blog post on Facebook, Google+, and LinkedIn. To my surprise, the post I shared on Google+ gave me a lot more engagement compared to Facebook or LinkedIn. Facebook has always been the network that gave me the most referrals to my blog so it came as a bit of surprise. LinkedIn has historically never given me any referrals to my blog so that won’t be a focus of discussion in this post, but hey, I have to mention that I always share it to that network as well.
Does this mean Google+ is now the more effective social network? Is Facebook throttling updates to the point of choking its reach more than it should? I will lay it all out there and you can be the judge.
Message and Timing
I shared my post on both social networks roughly about the same time. I shared my post on Facebook at 1142AM, Monday, December 9th, 2013 and on Google+ within ten minutes shortly after.
Below is a screenshot of the update that I shared on Facebook.
Below is a screenshot of the update I shared on Google+. You can also view it here: https://plus.google.com/+HowardHuang/posts/j376Tox87aB
The only thing different to mention here is my messaging. On Facebook I was trying to promote my blog post but also push that I have a new Facebook Fan Page dedicated to my blog. Could the low referrals from Facebook be because I had too many calls to action? I mean, I only had 2 calls to action. Is 2 one too many? I should also mention that, no one clicked to like my What’s Huang Fan Page. Kind of a fail.
Sponsored Posts are Worthless?
I want to be comparing apples to apples as much as I can, but one thing that I did differently on Facebook that I normally do not do is I paid the post to be sponsored for $6.99. Since I have always been curious what happened if I paid for a post to be sponsored and was interested to see how far I could push my post I decided to go ahead and do it.
Below is a screenshot of what Facebook shows you after they have finished running your sponsored post. Quite honestly, Facebook does not actually tell me in quantifying detail how my update actually performed. I mean, to be frank, it says that I have 32x as many views because I promoted it. What does that even mean? Does that mean instead of 3 people seeing it, 96 people seen it? I know I am being a little extreme, but they are kind of leaving it up to my imagination of the results. It should not be this way.
The actual results is probably what most of you are interested in. I used bitly to track the number of clicks I was getting as well as to track the source of my clicks. Below is a screenshot of the report from bitly. Similarly, you can access the public bitly report. It has more information such as demographics, clicks broken down by hour and etc. Here is the public report: https://bitly.com/1jEqVeA+
Below is another report. This time this report is taken just on the day of the share using the Jetpack plugin that this WordPress blog uses.
For good measure, below is yet another report taken from Google Analytics. It shows the referral traffic directly to that blog post.
The only reason why I wrote this article is because it is the first time that Google+ actually gave me meaningful results. I received 6 +1’s, 7 comments (Not counting my own reply), and 4 re-shares on Google+ versus just merely 2 Likes on Facebook.
You could say that I have a significantly larger following on Google+ which caused more referrals from Google+, however, that never seemed to have mattered in the past.
You could say that because I promoted the post in Facebook it caused this comparison to not be valid, however, that would make no sense because isn’t the whole point of a sponsored post to have an increase in reach, engagement, and exposure?
Looking back from all of this I do have to mention a few other things. When posting my update on Facebook, I wrote my status and published it. A few moments later I then edited it. After I edited the post I then proceeded to sponsor it.
Does editing the post have an impact on the reach? Should I have waited a little bit for the status update on Facebook to reach organically before I promoted it? Is Facebook throttling my post and is not in reality reaching everyone in my network? Besides my 101 Facebook followers, my Facebook friends all consists of my closest friends and family. I would think they would be more engaging than complete strangers on Google+.
I am not 100% certain this means that Google+ is a better network to promote things like a blog post, but it certainly means that something is going on and I should experiment more. If you have made it this far you can be sure I am studying where you came from. Perhaps the winning referral traffic could be something completely different. I guess we shall see.
Leave your thoughts below. Have you had successful traffic from Google+? What social network gives you the most referrals? Could I have done something different?