Google+ Interactive Posts: A Marketing Gem’s Front-End Implementation (for WordPress)

May 6th, 2013

When I first stumbled across the term “Interactive Post” on Google’s very own Developer Section, I initially didn’t pay too much attention to it.

Then I saw this post by Swellpath, called Get Up and Running with Google+ Interactive Posts and since here at inlineVision we’re all about increasing Conversions and CTRs, better Calls-To-Action and any kind of Performance Tracking we can get our hands on, I decided to read up on it and to find out what it is all about.
And I discovered what could be the next big marketing thing.

The Missing Link: The Call To Action

While creating and sharing content on Social Media is (or should be!) an important part of a business’ daily efforts to increase and maintain its visibility and to connect with users, there is no other way to include a dedicated Call-To-Action in the post, other than somehow embedding it into the post’s content itself.

If you are in any way involved in optimization and/or the testing of landing pages, you already know that having a clear Call-To-Action is one of the most important factors that directly affect your conversion rate. Whether it’s the “Add To Cart” button, a “Sign Up Now” button, or a “Download Free Trial” button – they guide the users and (hopefully) lead to the desired conversion.

Getting To Work: Creating The App

Inspired by SwellPath’s article and their Command Center Tool, I followed Google’s API implementation guide on Sharing Interactive Posts and created our own app in Google’s API Console:
inlineVision Interactive Post

App AuthorizationNext, I tried SwellPath’s Command Center tool and then looked at Paul Shapiro’s Google+ Interactive Posts Plugin for WordPress.

Said WordPress Plugin is based on SwellPath’s Interactive Post Creation Tool, and while the plugin does exactly what the author says it would do, I found the implementation to be a little “raw”, especially the fact that it opens another tab (or window) and that it’s overall not too visually appealing.

There had to be a better way.

It would a lot easier if there was a button on the front-end which allows site administrators to create the Interactive Post for Google+ right then, right there, without having to switch to the backend, searching for the post, clicking a link, clicking another button, etc etc.

Front End Implementation

What I came up with is a “Create Google Interactive Post” button that is only visible to selected users and allows for the creation of an interactive post within a modal jQuery dialog window – without ever having to leave the article’s page.

Google Interactive Posts

Full PageFull page with Google+ Interactive Post Creation Button

Modal Window

Modal jQuery Dialog

After Parameter Submission

Google+ Post Creation Button

Final Post Creation

Final Post Creation

How It Works

– The initial dialog loads the parameter collection form and and pre-populates the input fields (based on SwellPath’s Command Center and Paul Shapiro’s Plugin) with the current page’s title and its URL.
At this point unfortunately, you cannot insert mentions, they do not transfer over as interactive elements to the final post creation box. If you want to insert mentions, you have to do it in the final post creation window, since at that point you are interactively connected to the Google+ API and therefor have access to your circles and other functionality.

– It then process the user’s input behind the scenes and generate the actual interactive Google+ post generation button.

– In the final post creation box you can insert mentions by simply typing + and the first letter of the page/profile you want to include.

NOTE: We protected direct access to the script to avoid unauthorized access.

How It Looks

Google+ Desktop View

Google+ Desktop View

Google+ App NewsFeed

Google+ App View Newsfeed

Google+ App Detail

Google+ App View Detail

The Next Big (Marketing) Thing?

Did you notice that the app’s name is showing up in the post?

Google+ Desktop View
IV Interactive Post App Name

Besides the fact that you can have a real Call-To-Action button, you get a chance to sneak in your company’s name or anything else (as long as you do not violate Google’s policies).

Will Interactive Posts increase our (and our clients’) click-through rates and/or result in more engagement or higher conversion rates? We will find out soon.

Takeaway

– Anything that potentially makes a post more engaging is a welcome addition!
– Anything that makes Social Media Management easier is welcome as well – my major reason to code this implementation.

About the author:

Nina Khoury is a computer scientist, software engineer, data and information junkie and online marketer. She taught at various universities for more than six years and worked on projects for Fortune 500 companies including cisco, Intel and HP.

4 Responses to “Google+ Interactive Posts: A Marketing Gem’s Front-End Implementation (for WordPress)”

  1. OK, I’m going to have to re-read this one a few times, as I”m not a pro, but it sure looks like a good thing. Please just tell me it’s not quite as complicated as it looks once it’s set up?

  2. Nina,

    I’m looking forward to seeing your WordPress plugin once it is complete. I have been playing around with this for a while and although I am not a programmer, I would love for _every_ visitor that shares my page to have the “Read More” CTA included in their share. However, I can’t seem to find an easy WordPress site-wide integration from Google’s tutorial. Maybe you could sidebar and help me out?

    • Nina says:

      Peter,
      I don’t think that Google is planning to include the CTA into the regular share button. One could, however, create a button that simply integrates the “Read More” CTA automatically (together with Title & URL). It won’t be the same experience as the “common” +1 button though and therefore it might be tough to “sell” to users (since they like their consistency).
      Might be a little bit like facebook “like” vs “share” (and I will always prefer “share”).
      Thanks for the thought — I might be doing something with this.

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