Posted February 12, 2014 6:22 pm by with 8 comments

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I’ve been using Google+ a lot more lately but mostly because of the forced connection between the social network and YouTube. It makes me wonder if this new connection has anything to do with Google+’s spike in user registration.

We Are Social crunched the numbers and here’s what they found:

Wearesocial GooglePlus Users

In the past year, the site has seen tremendous growth in terms of registration. But in terms of active users, not so much. And note that active means using the site on a “monthly basis”. We’re not even talking about truly regular, daily users. A year ago, 51% of the users were active, now that number has dropped to 32%.

Who is using Google+ regularly? 62% are men and the most active age group is 25-34. Facebook has more active women but it’s a slight difference (not like the gender bias you see at Pinterest) and it skews toward the 18-29 age bracket.

Google+ users are also more likely to come in via a mobile device.

Wearesocial monthly mobile

Good numbers, but Facebook has them beat with 66% of the social sharing happening through a mobile app.

If you’re a marketer, getting people to the site is one thing but how long they stay is just as important. People who hit and bounce aren’t going to be influenced by your message. The longer they stay, the better chance you have of getting through.

So here’s Google+ going from an average of 3.3 minutes (per month?) per person in 2012 to 6.47 minutes in 2013. Compare that to Twitter with 170 minutes per month and 257 minutes on Instagram.

Those numbers are so far apart, I keep thinking I’m reading them wrong. Six minutes a MONTH? It hardly seems worth it and yet  70% of the top internet brands are on Google+. Why? Because it’s Google.

Think about it. If Google+ was actually George+ would anyone use the site? No. We use it because everyone says doing so will boost your search ranking in Google. Plus, as I said at the top, if you want to run a YouTube channel, you have to have a Google+ page and that page is going to auto populate when you post videos and comment. Your page is going to look active even if you never post directly or read your newsfeed.

If Google+ was the Facebook replacement they set out to be, they wouldn’t need to resort to extortion and bribery just to get people to play in their yard. The only thing that is keeping Google+ going is the name.

Your turn. Yea or nay on Google+?



  • Marc_Razia

    It is obvious that the G+/YouTube integration is the reason for the spike in total users, but that also illustrates how meaningless judging the network on the % of active users is. You completely overlook the fact that going from 223 million active users to 359 active users represents 60% growth in users activity. From a purely numbers sense I don’t see how that can be a negative.

    You also cite the number of minutes active users spend on the network, but those numbers exclude mobile usage. That seems rather dubious. Perhaps even worse, when you investigate those numbers deeper, you find that is usage ONLY on the G+ stream. Compare that to how the numbers are complied for Facebook. You can play Facebook games and be counted as active. You can watch a YouTube video on Facebook and it counts toward your activity. You can even login merely to comment on an article you are counted the entire time until you physically log out. Meanwhile, if you reply to a G+ comment in your own Gmail or comment on a YouTube video, that is not counted. Nor is logging commenting on an article using your G+ credentials. Its not even close to a fair comparison.

    Your suggestion that Google reports to bribery is simply a regurgitation of trendy comments. Google has been telling us since G+ was introduced that their plan was to merge G+ into all their products. This is about efficiency. Imagine the opposite, what if Facebook suddenly said you’d need a separate login for photos, messaging, posting, games, etc. It would be outrageous. Just because its trendy to complain about Google combing all their services into a single login doesn’t mean its a valid complaint. This isn’t forcing anyone to post or share anything within the stream any more than owning a Smartphone forces you to take photos using its camera.

    I guess for me then its a “Yea” as I’m more included to judge the network by the value I derive from it, not whether everyone else uses it. For instance, I don’t visit G+ communities because my friends do, I visit them because I enjoy posts about my personal interest. By the same account, I don’t use Gmail or YouTube because my friends use them, I do because they provide value to me. Conversely, I ONLY use Facebook because my some of my friends do. If they didn’t, I’d have no reason at all to be there.

  • Chris Paterson

    Personally I like Ravetree better than Google+ or Facebook. The privacy is much better, but it’s still really good (unlike some of those “privacy” sites out there).

    • Marketing techniques can be so deceptive to new users that aren’t engaged in this industry. It’s sad that things can look one way but in reality be completely different!

  • roninpenguin

    See, the problem is that people think that G+ needs to work like Facebook and other social networks, which is doesn’t.

    In the end they are all advertising companies, and the point is to get effective advertising in front of your customers. What is the best way to do that? Make sure that the people who are going to buy are the ones that see your advertisement. Facebook does that by taking all the likes and posts in your profile and caters ads to you, but you have to be on Facebook to see those ads and the only source for info for them to cater your ads with is Facebook and a few other services.

    But Google and companies that use them for advertising do not need you to interact on G+ to get that info. They get it from G-Mail, YouTube, Google Search, Blogger, and tons of other Google services. The problem was, though, all of these services had different accounts attached to them so it made it harder to track what your interests were, so what is Google doing? Starting to funnel everything through G+ so they have a central location to use in the algorithms for customization of advertising.

    So then you ask “Why would a brand have a G+ page then, it seams useless”, except it isn’t. If a person goes to a website and reviews or likes that brand, where could Google store that info to show what type of engagement customers have with that brand? G+ of course. Mobile reviews, mentions on blogs, +1s, all of these things could be funneled there for future use to make sure you are getting in front of your effective customer base.

    So, yeah, while Facebook and Google have similar goals it seams to me that they have two completely different paths to get to them. One is trying to expand out to funnel everyone to one site (Facebook) and the other is trying to get all the info from their expanded services into a more potent position. Don’t get me wrong, I’m sure Google would love it if your engaged more on G+, it is more information to feed into their algorithms, but I don’t think that is the key to their success with it.

  • Wow, really cool how the author of this story totally ignores REAL FACTS like the data I gather daily on the number of G+ accounts Google has. There is no spike… the increase has been increasing steadily ever since the site opened! But, alas, my comments here were deleted. If you are interested in the real growth rate of G+ … google the term: google+ growth and look for the 5th or 6th result which is a link to my site that gathers this data.

  • No Way, people are using Google+ to inflate numbers, create fake accounts, and exploit users? Weird.

    I just read on another blog “NAYLOR” how/why Google would inflate their numbers. The bottom line comes down to them making money on advertising. If you advertise on their network or network of sites, then the chances of one of these people clicking on a link (or a robot) is slim but does happen.

    • Marc_Razia

      Right, because none of the other networks inflate their numbers. Now excuse me while I go and log into one of my 10 active gaming accounts on Facebook.

  • I just love the quality of the postings and discussions. I’ve met more interesting people in one month of G+ than five years oft Facebook. I’ve read more interesting topics in one week than my total time on Facebook. I just love it. Next … if I want to reach out for more people reading my posts – G+ does not decide for me, which 15% of my followers get notified of my posts in their stream.