Are Google Plus Circles teaching us Marketers a thing or two about segmentation?

I’ve been using Google Plus for a couple of weeks now and still yet to really find a way of using it for something that isn’t just a duplication of my Twitter and Facebook efforts. I’m sure I will find something new it’s just a matter of time. However, what I have found very interesting to use is the use of the Google Circles.

Google Circles allows users to group people based on certain interests and then share information or content specifically to each segment or Google Circle. For example, I have a Google Circle called ‘Industry People’ and another called ‘Industry Marketers’ and another called ‘Web Analytics People I have met’. Each Circle contains a group of people who fall into one or two of those buckets and I can then separate them out based on interest or area of expertise. Segmentation. You may decide to keep ‘Friends’ separate to ‘Work Friends’ or ‘Architects – Customers’ separate to ‘Architects – Prospects’ and create circles for each and then put the relevant people into each one. This allows you to send or share information and messages based on their interests or needs. I can now share information on Web Analytics with just the people within my ‘Industry Marketers’ circle and not with ‘Industry People’ who have no interest in marketing measurement as they are people who are talking about procurement and supply chain issues.

The example below shows how Google Circles can be created based on interest, industry or area of expertise and then share information and messages with those circles.


Segmenting your audience or connections into small groups based on interest/industry or area of expertise

Now the great thing is I can share content about Solar and Renewable Energy (might be my business or products I supply) just with the people within the ‘Specifiers with an interest in Solar’ circle. I may have a great blog post which I have just written about Facilities Management and Energy Performance and only want the people within the Facilities Management and Journalist circles to see and comment on. I don’t need to let everyone see this content as its of no interest to other people in other circles. The people within my ‘CPD Attendees’ circle don’t see this content or message as its not relevant to them. Or I don’t think it is anyway. Relevance.

Only today have I realised that what I have been doing over the past 2 weeks (placing people into buckets based on interests , area of expertise and industry) is the basics of email marketing and segmentation. I have been analysing and thinking about what this person is all about, what their interest is, what industry they work in, who else is similar to them and putting everyone into buckets. Basically, understanding your audience and then delivering content based on their needs, wants and interests which is a fundamental rule in email marketing. Unlike Twitter where I am sending out messages and content which is shared to ALL my followers, I am now having to think about the content I am sharing and who is it relevant for?

In email marketing you are required to segment your audience and deliver content which is relevant in order to achieve full campaign effectiveness and ensure that you meet your objectives. Spooky thing is that whilst you are segmenting your audience and placing them into circles, Google is also learning about each person as they get placed into circles by other people.

Anyone else had a chance to have a look into Google+? Care to share your early thoughts?

About Stuart Dinnie

Stuart has worked in the world of digital marketing for over 15 years. With his measured and planned approach, he has delivered robust digital strategies for construction companies to achieve real business growth. He now heads up the team at Pauley Creative as Managing Director and is leading his team & clients towards digital marketing excellence. He’s worked with over 100 construction clients; helping them on their digital transformation journey, providing sustainable strategies that return year on year incremental growth, delivering award-winning websites and adding value from board level to marketing assistant.

3 Responses to “Are Google Plus Circles teaching us Marketers a thing or two about segmentation?”

  1. Ieuan Compton

    Again, another good blog post – thank you.

    I have some concerns however about segmenting people into ‘circles’. If I was in your construction marketeers group I would get relevant messages that you decide to post to that circle.

    However, I might not be in your analytics circle. You may not know that I’m interested in this topic, I may not know I’m interested in this topic. If I’m not in this circle I also never get to know that you have considerable experitise in this area.

    I like twitter for this very fact. I get to learn new things. I get to understand what other skills the people I’m following might have. I get to know a little about their personal tastes and interests are.

    If I’m in a circle, will this experience become restricted? By using cicles, do you run the risk of almost becoming a news stream?

    Caveat: I’m yet to sign up to Google+

  2. Pritesh Patel

    Hi Ieuan

    Excellent point. Never thought about it like that, almost like a 3rd level interest. I suppose it comes down to the type of information I share. Make it Public or specific to a Circle? I may share an interesting article but make it ‘Public’ so that everyone can view it. However, I might then share an article about a competitor which I may then just share with ‘Work Colleagues’ circle. So i guess you will still be able to see stuff, it just depends on whether or not I want you to see/receive that bit of information.

    Hopefully I’ll get a few more comments from those who have figured it ALL out. I’m still learning.


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