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Social Media Metrics: Pinpointing the Moment of Traction with Google+

In social media, the moment of traction could also be called the "best time to share on Google+ or other social sites." The best time for you may not be the best time for your fellow content generators. (The credit for this master tip goes to Christopher Penn who first shared his observation on search signals in Google+ and on his blog Awaken Your Superhero.)

If you look at Google+ shares, you'll notice a unique URL that's important to note because Google has begun to force Google+ and profile integration between all Google products, including search, onto users.

Here's an example of a typical Google+ URL:

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The stand out part of this URL outside of the normal variables is the 13-digit number within the URL that appears to be a UNIX time stamp. It's a UNIX timestamp with an extra three digits: Those extra digits are dubbed microtimes.

These time stamps are unique and change every time the URL is clicked. That's huge news for analytics tracking. If you're a Google+ user, you may have already experienced its analytics tool Ripples, which seems to visualize this data flow — you can track the velocity of the link itself and watch it become popular (or not) in real time.

If you've been collecting your metrics data in spreadsheets, you can see how having data this accurate will create traction arcs (a kind of visual of how well your content is gaining traction) you can graph inside your spreadsheets for your own content. These arcs, in turn, tell you not the best time to share in general, but the best time to share for you, which is much more useful. If you pay closer attention, you can also tell what kind of content works best for your audience and discover other useful data.

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