While the Guardian started back in 1821 as a black-and-white-and-read-all-about-it newspaper, today it’s evolved into a global entity that’s pioneering a multi-platform, digital-first approach. In this context, the Guardian champions a unique, open model of journalism, built upon the notion that the open exchange of information, ideas and opinion can bring about change.

Given this philosophy, it comes as no surprise that social media plays a central and growing role in the brand’s work. Google+ offered the opportunity for the Guardian to reach and connect with both users of Guardian.co.uk and new potential readers. Now with over 1.6 million followers, the Guardian’s Google+ page is aimed at creating a conversation around the Guardian’s content, reaching new audiences, and finding out more about readers and their interests.

The team posts different types of content (video, photos, text, front pages) and items from different sections as a way of seeing what their Google+ audience responds to. Science and technology stories are particularly popular among their readers, as well as world news topics and hot political stories. According to the Guardian, the Google+ feature Ripples has proved extremely useful in tracking the life cycle of posts and helping to identify key influencers.

In addition, the Hangouts functionality in Google+ has emerged as a key benefit. In making use of this high quality multi-user video chat feature, the digital engagement team has run several Hangouts on a mixture of topics, from fracking to the future of the open internet. “For us one of the most interesting aspects of Hangouts is the ability to connect people from across the world in a live chat,” says the Guardian’s Laura Oliver. “We're also exploring them as a way to allow our readers to pose questions and get even closer to the subjects of a story or discussion.”

As for the future, Laura is exploring how to use Hangouts in the most inclusive way possible so that debates can encompass questions from all across its audience.  To learn more about the Guardian’s success with Google+, read the full case study.

For more publisher success stories and tips on making the most of Google+ pages for your business, check out our Social Fridays blog series.

Posted by Arlene Lee - Inside AdSense Team
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