Monday, May 17, 2010

Google Buzz driving engagement

Just did a quick, unscientific sample of one blog - mine - to better understand where the stuff I write on my blog was producing the most engagement. Though I was peripherally aware of this, the conclusion was nevertheless a bit surprising: by a wide margin, there's more interaction going on on Buzz than anywhere else.

I looked at my last four posts. (That's fewer than I post in an ordinary month, but with a new role, I've been less productive than usual.) For each post, I looked at the number of comments left on the blog, the number of comments left on Buzz, the number of "likes" on Buzz, the number of times a link to the post was posted to Twitter (numbers courtesy of Backtype), and the number of comments on Facebook (I import every post as a "note" in Facebook).

Here's the data:

As you can see, the vast majority of engagement - 56%+ - occurs on Buzz. Next is posts on Twitter (though, it should be noted, that those are pointers to the blog post), followed by comments on my blog, followed by Facebook. (For reference purposes, the second sheet of that spreadsheet contains the numbers of each service's audience for my content, which is imperfect but directionally helpful in interpreting the results.)

Several things skew the results, to a degree: 3 of the 4 posts were about Google, so it becomes clear that my friends on Facebook could care less about my thoughts on Google (and, one could argue, that people on Buzz are disproportionately interested in Google-related stuff). Time is also a factor - comments on blog posts are more numerous the older a post is, though it's also apparent that when a post "pops" on Buzz it can drive a tremendous amount of activity nearly instantaneously.

This is an incomplete analysis, of course. I don't have any insight into how many people actually read my posts on Buzz, so I can't measure engagement as a percentage of activity. (I have this data for FeedBurner and Google Analytics, so I may re-run this analysis and incorporate that consumption data to get more insight... alas, I'm just about done with this morning's cup of coffee and I have a full day ahead of me.)

Disclaimer: I'm a product manager at Google, I work closely with the Buzz team as the PM on Profiles. This is my own data, published purely out of curiosity.


  1. Did you also take into account the Buzz comments on your articles Louis Gray has shared? :)

  2. @gxg I did not, though I probably should have. :)

  3. I have the feeling google buzz is the best interactive plattform. When I want to engage in seminars and debates, I go to Google Buzz, not to Facebook or Twitter.

  4. Or comments/likes on the Posts shared via the Buzz button? The biggest problem I find is that Buzz is a black hole for analytics/tracking via feedburner. Without an URL based Buzz search it is impossible to find all the posts that have been shared from your blog. Your previous post had 6 shares via Buzz.. Can you even find those shares in Buzz (to count comments/likes etc)?

    I agree Buzz can drive engagement, but how can companies monitor/search/engage without this basic functionality?

  5. @SVB I agree that better insight into the Buzz pool will be useful. Definitely one of the things the team is working on.

    As far as monitoring/searching/engaging for companies, I wrote about that back in February. Lacking in some data for analysis (for now) but I think that'll improve over time.

  6. Rick, I read your post back then and it doesn't work for most general cases, share via Buzz button, Buzz re-share, Native Buzz insert link, Reader share etc. Buzz search feedback.

    Text included in Buzz links/Urls is not searchable, an example of your post, Can you find this via Buzz Search? I can't!!

  7. Rick, I find the "like" feature in Buzz more useful than other likes, because it actually "does something" that impacts the amount of engagement on a post. I might "like" something just to keep track of it so I can come back and comment later. It's also much easier to comment in Buzz than on your blog because most people hate using CAPTCHA. It's just plain old annoying.

    I have Intense Debate installed on my Blogger and I think that the only way to attract comments on Blogger blogs is if to ditch the old commenting system and use ID or Disqus.

    The stats are interesting and I agree that Buzz is an excellent platform for engagement. I'm only commenting here because I want to check out some of your other posts and make sure I didn't miss anything.