SEO

Get Up and Running with Google+ Interactive Posts

interactive-posts-button-cloudIf you’ve ignored Google+ for this long or consider it anything other than a legitimate inbound marketing channel, your opinion is about to change. The age of Google+ Interactive Posts was quietly ushered in months ago, with little fanfare. In fact, barely anyone seems to have noticed.

So allow me to introduce you to Google+ Interactive Posts!

Interactive Posts, meet Marketers.

Marketers, meet Interactive posts.

Before I leave you two to get to know each other better, let me tell you a bit about Google+ Interactive Posts, their background, and why they’re so dang awesome.

What Google+ Interactive Posts Are All About

Interactive posts on plus allow you to enhance your existing sharing by embedding a clickable Call to Action in your post. They’re pretty easy to set up and I hope that after this tutorial, you’ll be able to get running with them right away.

Here’s Why Google+ Interactive Posts Rock My Socks

I’ve praised the visual markup options on Google+ for a long time (the ability to use bold and italics to compose a remarkable post), but the new interactive post is exponentially more impressive. If you haven’t seen an interactive post on Google+ yet, they look like this:

Example of a Google Plus Interactive Post

Yep. That’s a CTA embedded directly in a Google+ post! When you set up Google+ interactive posts, you can create a custom share button that allows you to share a page to Google+ and leverage a custom CTA that links to the same or different URL. Yeah, you can share a blog post about an event announcement and link off-site to eventbrite.com so people can sign up!

You can even deep link to a specific location within a mobile app, a la Twitter’s recent Twitter Card enhancement. Implementation gets a bit trickier for mobile apps, but what else is new?

About CTAs for Interactive Posts

When you configure an interactive post for Google+, you get to set the CTA. Right up front, you can only choose from a limited (yet extensive) list of Call to Action “labels”. Now, what could be seen as a drawback initially is, in my opinion, actually a huge benefit for scalability and reach. The reason that you can’t write your own CTA text is that Google wants to be able to translate that CTA into the native language of every Google+ user who views it. If you’re involved in international SEO (or any aspect of international digital marketing for that matter), this is a godsend. You also never have to worry about how that button renders because Google+ takes care of QAing it for you. As someone who did time at MySpace towards the end, I can tell you that the over-customization of social networks is seldom a good thing for user experience.

Getting back to the point, there are a ton of “label” options to chose from. There’s a full list over at Google, but here are few cool ones:

  • ADD_TO_CART – Select this label when you want to link to a dynamic URL that adds the product you’re talking about to the user’s cart on your site.
  • ADD_TO_CALENDAR – Use this if you’re talking about an event and you’re linking to a calendar invite file like a .ics.
  • ANSWER – You can link out to Quora questions! Sweet!
  • ATTACK or DEFEND – Google recommends using this for game apps, but I just want to use it for EVERYTHING! :-)
  • BOOKMARK – Click to bookmark a webpage.
  • COMMENT or DISCUSS – If you’re sharing a blog post, you can include a CTA that links directly to the comments section.
  • COMPARE – Link to a page that compares to two different products.
  • CONTRIBUTE or GIVE or HELP- Great for taking people to a donation form.
  • DOWNLOAD – Perfect for whitepapers and such.
  • INSTALL – If you want to direct mobile users to download your app.
  • LEARN or LEARN_MORE or READ or READ_MORE – Pretty decent generic option for a blog post or tutorial or case study.
  • PIN_IT – Google is, apparently, down with Pinterest in a big way. Pin it up!
  • RATE – Direct users to rate a product, movie, experience.
  • REGISTER or RSVP or SIGN_UP – Send user to a page where they can register for an event.
  • SUBSCRIBE – Use Google+ to grow your email subscribers. Nice.

Select Use Cases

So what exactly can you DO with Google+’s new interactive posts? Let’s explore options using some examples.

Event/webinar Information and Signup

google-plus-interactive-post-for-mozinar

Scholarship announcement and application

google-plus-interactive-post-for-scholarship

Interview with a designer and buy now

google-plus-interactive-post-for-designer

SaaS Overview page and Get a Quote (Lead Capture)

google-plus-interactive-post-for-saas

Political Issue and Take Action

google-plus-interactive-post-for-non-profit

There’s a lot you can do with the new Interactive Posts and, at the risk of sounding cliché, you’re only limited by your imagination.

How To Use Google+ Interactive Posts

Itching to get this set up? While there aren’t many easy options for dynamic, site-wide implementation as of yet, I put together a pretty nifty tool that you can use to get the full benefit of this awesome new opportunity sooner rather than later. The biggest benefit of Interactive Posts is their customizability and I’d imagine most site-wide implementations would either need to be pretty rigid or 100% customized on a page-by-page basis. The solution I worked on involves using a central Interactive Posts Command Center that your team can use to create and push out Google+ Interactive Posts on the fly.

This Command Center is free to download and completely open source. Experiment with it and let me know what you think.

DOWNLOAD or check out the DEMO (note that you can’t change the values in the demo).

Step One

Download the Command Center and upload it to your website (or your client’s site if that’s who you’re using it for). I’d look into setting up some password protection on that directory since anyone who knows the URL can compose and push posts from it.

Step Two

Open command-center.php in a text editor and enter your Google+ API Client ID at the top of the file and then save it. To grab your API Client ID, or set one up if you don’t have one, head over to the Google APIs Console. Your client ID is just the number listed on the first line under “Client ID for Web Applications”.

google-api-console

Note that the “Product Name” gets displayed when you share Google+ Interactive Posts, so make sure it aligns with the name of your website.

Finally, make sure that the “JavaScript origins” is set to include the site you’ll be using your Interactive Posts Command Center from. If this doesn’t align (pay attention to http vs. https), you’ll get an error. (UPDATE) Note that when you create a new API Project, you need to set the JavaScript Origins. It’s not filled out by default and you’ll get an error if it’s not set.

(UPDATE) Step Two: Part II

You’ll also need to enable Google+ API as a “service” while you’re in the Google APIs Console. When you’re in the console, click on “Services” on the left-hand side menu, then scroll down to Google+ API and turn it on. It may take a few minutes to kick in.

Google+ API Service

Step Three

Fire it up in a web browser by going to www.yoursite.com/optional-directory/command-center.php or similar.

You have all the options to play with when you go to compose a post.

  • Content URL: The primary page that you want to point to. This is the link you’d use for a standard Google+ post. The meta description and on-page images from this page are what get pulled in for the standard Google+ rich snippet.
  • Prefill Text: This is the message that will be pre-composed when you hit “Share”. Not really 100% necessary since you’ll be managing this on your own, but you could embed the output into your own pages and leverage that prefill text.
  • Call to Action Label: The CTA label that you pick from the list of Google’s available options.
  • Call to Action URL: The page that the CTA directs visitors to. Can be a static or dynamic URL.
  • Button Text: Optionally, change the text that shows up on the actual button.

Note that some variables aren’t user-facing, notably “data-cookiepolicy” and “data-clientid”, which you won’t need to change unless you’re customizing this. Also, I’ve disabled the fields for Mobile App deep linking, since this is a web-based tool and, if you’re setting up Interactive Posts for a mobile app, you probably know this stuff better than I do.

Once you understand the above, you can go ahead and start pushing out Interactive Posts from your new Command Center!

Step Four (Optional)

You can also hit the checkbox at the end of the page to grab the embed code for whatever Interactive Post you come up with. You can then follow the simple instructions to drop that into the HTML of your site wherever you want.

More Interaction, Higher Engagement, Better ROI

I think Google+ Interactive Posts are an amazing opportunity to take what you’re doing on Google+ to the next level. The new CTAs allow you to not only share your content to a growing audience, but also direct users on what to do next. However, don’t starting thinking putting a CTA in everything you share on Google+ is some magic formula that leads directly to higher user engagement; you still need to work hard at building an audience, establishing trust and authority, and giving your users a reason to engage. Once you do that, Google+ Interactive Posts dramatically streamline the process of connecting interested users to their end destination.

I’m sure we can expect plugins for easy WordPress integration soon enough, but you should now have everything you need to hit the ground running. As with all the tools that Google gives marketers (especially SEOs), use it for Good and not Evil. Remember, Google knows who you are (you just registered to get a Google API Client ID) so they can easily take away your privileges if you’re spamming Google+ non-stop with your affiliate links and not being a, you know, real company/person. But what else is new? #AmIRite?

Let me know in the comments if this worked out for you, how you’ve been using it, and whether or not you have any feedback on the Command Center tool.

Good luck and happy optimizing!

Mike Arnesen

Mike Arnesen - SEO Team Manager

Mike, who leads the SwellPath SEO service, is a self-confessed SEO addict and uber-geek. He is also a board member at SEMpdx. Mike's fascination for search experience optimization, structured data and semantic markup, and web technology knows no bounds. Beyond geeking out with the SEO team, Mike is also a prolific blogger, speaker (MozCon, SemTechBiz, SEMpdx, SMX, State of Search Conference, etc.), and company culture advocate. When not in the office, Mike is spending time with his wife, playing outdoors, or keeping up with inbound marketing news via mobile; most of the time, it's all three simultaneously.

Watch Mike talk about his role and life at SwellPath

223 Responses to “Get Up and Running with Google+ Interactive Posts”

  1. twitter_AdreanaAtTAP

    So there is no way to implement this for an individual Google+ user? It can only be implemented by adding code to one’s website?

    Reply
    • Mike Arnesen (@Mike_Arnesen)

      Well, you need to think of it just like a regular Share or +1 button that you’d add to a website. It’s just an enhanced version of that. An individual Google+ user is always the agent that’s going to be taking the action to share/post/+1, but the sharing functionality is always tied to a website.

      There’s no way to create an Interactive Google+ Post straight from your standard Google+ interface. Maybe that was more what your question was about.

      Thanks for checking this out!

      Reply
  2. Marketing Day: April 23, 2013

    [...] Get Up and Running with Google+ Interactive Posts, http://www.swellpath.com [...]

    Reply
  3. Marketing Day: April 23, 2013 | Uk Marketing

    [...] Get Up and Running with Google+ Interactive Posts, http://www.swellpath.com [...]

    Reply
  4. Vincent Pishton

    Wow Mike, Thanks for sharing… This is great info, I might have to read this post a few times before i understand how to install and post it in my G+ correctly. Im just playing around with the demo and the download right now. I never knew that G+ has the ability to call to action in post updates, hopefully it will work out for me :) Thanks again…

    Reply
  5. facebook_ulrikebayrle

    thanks for information. have a nice day :D

    Reply
  6. Stan Bush

    If this works, I’ll buy you a beer. I won’t be able to actually do this until Monday, but I can hardly wait. Where do I send the beer?

    Reply
    • Mike Arnesen

      Hahaha. Well, I certainly hope it works. I’ll put the beer on display in the office. If you’re serious (lol), our office is at 411 NW Park Ave #400, Portland, OR 97209.

      Let me know how the command center works out for you!

      Reply
      • Stan Bush

        Got it work..and tagged you in something today using it! Good work. I have a private/hidden community (small) owned by G+ Business page, which makes it really interesting, fyi… that I was demonstrating the tool in yesterday. One of the members said “I just don’t understand how I would use this”… So I used it to post to the book she wrote on Amazon, using my affiliate info. She sold three books off it yesterday. Can you say “lightbulb”.

        Reply
  7. jpb

    Not to be a Debbie Downer, but what is Google doing to make sure that Install or Download action isn’t used as a vector for malware?

    Reply
    • Mike Arnesen

      I imagine that they’ll have to be pretty rigorous with revoking API access to people who are abusing it. Same as with anyone using any API for malicious activity I suppose. At least with these Interactive Posts, Google has the ability to just shut spammers down with the flip of a switch. Pretty safe as long as they’re attentive (which may or may not end up being the case).

      Reply
  8. Michael Kamleitner

    I’ve built a small tool for non-developers, that lets em build & publish any interactive post:
    https://dev.diesocialisten.at/google+/
    Feedback welcome!

    Reply
    • Philipp

      Looks great. Could you please integrate an option to rename the shown button? I mean I would like to use it in a german post and so I would like to rename the button by myself with a german cta. That would be awesome!

      Reply
    • Mike Arnesen

      Nice. I’ll have to check it out. Are you just allowing anyone to post using your API access? I contemplated that, but didn’t want to put myself at risk if people started doing malicious things with it.

      Reply
  9. twitter_courtneyengle

    I’d love a way for this to be easily dropped into my WordPress websites as a plugin.

    Reply
    • Mike Arnesen

      I know, right?! I need to get a crash course in WordPress plugin development. If I can figure out how to do it, I’ll totally develop one. No promises though. :-)

      Reply
  10. twitter_varungyan

    G+ interactive posts make it possible to add call to action in social sharing #googleplusrocks

    Reply
  11. So Do You want a clickable button as part of Your Posts on Google+? | The Hangout Helper

    [...] Get Up and Running with Google+ Interactive Posts – SwellPath Meet Google+ Interactive Posts. This changes everything. Learn about how to get started and download our Command Center tool for free. [...]

    Reply
  12. facebook_Jared.CBR

    Thanks for the free script and the insanely great write up. All web developers and social networkers need to read this to leverage Google+. I can’t wait to make my first interactive post.

    Reply
  13. Dawn

    This is pretty cool! I am not a marketer selling anything, but I am a blogger. Now on Blogger you can opt for Google+ comments instead of the traditional Blogger commenting. This allows people to interact with your comments through G+ and gives them the option to share it to their G+ profile.

    I like it, but not sure how well it will work since not all of my readers are on G+ and you have to be there to comment now. Trying it to see tho!

    Reply
    • Mike Arnesen

      Yeah, I’m reeeaaaally excited about Google+ Sign In for commenting. I need to dig into it. Glad to hear you’re having some good experiences with it so far!

      Reply
  14. Amid Yousef

    Fabulous post, thank you. I look forward to utilizing it soon

    Reply
  15. Google+ Interactive Posts - Ulf Weihbold

    [...] Arnesen hat auf swellpath.com dazu ein kleines “Command-Center” geschrieben, das man relativ einfach auf seiner eigenen Website implementieren [...]

    Reply
  16. April Edition of Marketing Brainpower - Silver Square

    [...] Yes, Google has done it again by taking their social media platform interactive. Find out what that means in this SwellPath post. [...]

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  17. The Inbound Wrap-Up » Week Ending April 26th |

    [...] » Get Up and Running with Google+ Interactive Posts » swellpath.com Google+ just got a whole lot cooler for marketers. If you aren’t familiar with [...]

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  18. Rick Noel

    Great post and tool Mike. I am not sure how Google+ Interactive Posts came to market under the radar, but am sure glad you surfaced it hear along with the Command Center tool. Very cool. Thanks for sharing.

    Reply
  19. David

    You are a wonderful man I owe you a hug and a round of beers, I got it up and running in about 20 minutes and it looks damn well amazing! https://plus.google.com/114246814151335572510/posts/gpwCR55mBX2

    Reply
  20. Stan Bush

    I get all the way through the generation of the post. The actually post comes up with who to share (which communities/circles/etc) but when I ‘share’, it does not post to the stream. Looks very promising, but not sure what I’ve missed. Will review tomorrow…

    Reply
  21. Tips Tuesday – Plugins for Site Management Ease - BlogAid

    [...] a super post on SwellPath about the new G+ Interactive Posts. It allows you to embed a clickable Call to Action on your post. What do you think that will do for [...]

    Reply
  22. How Google+ Interactive Posts Push CTAs & Deep Linking Directly Within A Post

    [...] week Mike Armesen of SwellPath launched an in-depth look at a variety of real-world examples of companies successfully leveraging interactive posts on Google+. The article also includes a [...]

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  23. How Google+ Interactive Posts Push CTAs & Deep Linking Directly Within A Post | Uk Marketing

    [...] week, Mike Armesen of SwellPath launched an in-depth look at a variety of real-world examples of companies successfully leveraging interactive posts on Google+. The article also includes a [...]

    Reply
  24. Google+ Interactive Posts - The Search Engine Blog

    [...] Get Up and Running with Google+ Interactive Posts [...]

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  25. Google+ Interactive Posts | Manage Your Credit

    [...] more about how to use Google+ Interactive Posts over here and Mike Arnesen shared an excellent post on using it, which you may want to check [...]

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  26. Power Your Content Marketing with Google+

    [...] Mike Arnesen of Swellpath.com gives us the details and walks us through how to do it in his post: Get Up and Running with Google+ Interactive Posts [...]

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  27. Netmark.com - Think. Explore. Know.

    [...] after Google launched interactive posts, Mike Arnesen kicked out a great web tool to allow users and their team to start posting, (Medium Tech [...]

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  28. Google: "Game Changing" Features Will Boost Google+ Adoption

    [...] Get Up and Running with Google+ Interactive Posts [...]

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  29. Angie Meeker

    There IS a WordPress plugin now: http://blog.paulnshapiro.com/new-google-plus-interactive/

    And here’s an example of it in use. It took me about 10 minutes to set it up and start using it. https://plus.google.com/112599914349682509210/posts/MmCNFXafLj5

    Reply
  30. Gianluca Fiorelli’s Super Search Update – May edition - State of Search

    [...] Get Up and Running with Google+ Interactive Posts by Mike Arnesen on SweelPath Blog. [...]

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  31. Marketing Automation Blog - Act-on

    […] Coleman also has this helpful walkthrough to offer on Moz’s official blog. And, read Mike’s post on SwellPath to check out the Interactive Posts Command Center they offer; it will help you create and push out […]

    Reply
  32. How (and Why) to Use Social Media Meta Tags | Socially Acceptable

    […] Coleman also has this helpful walkthrough to offer on Moz’s official blog. And, read Mike’s post on SwellPath to check out the Interactive Posts Command Center they offer; it will help you create and push out […]

    Reply
  33. 10 Smart Tips to Leverage Google+ for Increased Web Traffic | Content Generator

    […] Arnesen wrote up a good overview of getting started with Interactive posts, or you can find more at the Google Developers […]

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  34. 10 Smart Tips to Leverage Google+ for Increased Web Traffic | WEB SEO BY PANDA

    […] Arnesen wrote up a good overview of getting started with Interactive posts, or you can find more at the Google Developers […]

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  35. 10 Smart Tips to Leverage Google+ for Increased Web Traffic | Atlanta Web Traffic

    […] Arnesen wrote up a good overview of getting started with Interactive posts, or you can find more at the Google Developers […]

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  36. 10 Smart Tips to Leverage Google+ for Increased Web Traffic | Xero Media Services

    […] Arnesen wrote up a good overview of getting started with Interactive posts, or you can find more at the Google Developers […]

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  37. 10 Smart Tips to Leverage Google+ for Increased Web Traffic - Webular Technologies

    […] Arnesen wrote up a good overview of getting started with Interactive posts, or you can find more at the Google Developers […]

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  38. 10 Smart Tips to Leverage Google+ for Increased Web Traffic | Search Engine Opitmization Lab - SEO Company, Delhi, India

    […] Arnesen wrote up a good overview of getting started with Interactive posts, or you can find more at the Google Developers […]

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  39. 10 Smart Tips to Leverage Google+ for Increased Web Traffic | BookSocial.net

    […] Arnesen wrote up a good overview of getting started with Interactive posts, or you can find more at the Google Developers […]

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  40. 10 Smart Tips to Leverage Google+ for Increased Web Traffic | Search Burst – All The Search News

    […] Arnesen wrote up a good overview of getting started with Interactive posts, or you can find more at the Google Developers […]

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  41. Carlos

    I’d love for this to work, but I can’t copy the files to my site. I get a message that says “Items can’t be copied to “dav” because you don’t have permission to read them”

    I’ve tried unlocking them. I’ve also tried to do it through Windows without success. Anyone else have trouble uploading this?

    Reply
  42. 10 Smart Tips to Leverage Google+ for Increased Web Traffic | Seo Marketing Biz , Social Media News , Internet Marketing

    […] Arnesen wrote up a good overview of getting started with Interactive posts, or you can find more at the Google Developers […]

    Reply

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