Call Out the Urban Spelunkers, Google+ is Officially a Ghost Town (Infographic)

It’s only August, but I’m ready to give out my award for the best infographic graphic of the year. It’s the header from the Umpf’s examination of one of life’s great mysteries: Is Google+ really popular or is it a ghost town?

Google is cagey about releasing stats on Google+ and when they do, it’s often hard to distinguish general Google users from those actually on the social network. The current estimate is 170 million Google+ accounts, which would make it the second most popular social network after Facebook. But, as we all know, having a lot of signups does not an active community make. For marketers, it’s interaction that counts, so Umpf counted it.

Amazon eBook Sales Surpass Print Book Sales in the UK

“Amazon said it had sold 114 ebooks for every 100 print books in the UK so far this year.”

That news comes from ZDnet and it’s very good news for content marketers. Here in the US, ebook sales topped print sales in May 0f 2011. But Kindle EU chief Jorrit Van der Meulen said that it took four years after the release of the Kindle to hit that mark in the US. It only took two years to get there in the UK.

What it means is that more and more people are ready to make the switch to digital assets and not just in books. Digital music has nearly replaced the CD. Digital movie downloads are now taking a bite out of the DVD market and when was the last time you bought a hard copy of a piece of software?

Facebook Gives App Developers a Boost with Subscriptions and Mobile Ads

Facebook has announced beta tests on two new options that will help app developers raise their profit margin.

First up is Mobile Ads for Apps. Finding a way to monetize Facebook Mobile has been a problem but this sounds like the perfect solution.

This new ad unit takes advantage of the natural connection between mobile and apps. Facebook users will see an ad with a list of suggested apps. Click through and you’re taken directly to the App Store or Google Play where you can download the app instantly.

The app dashboard allows you to target users based on region, age and gender. Set your budget and go.

Currently, the ads are only available to select partners but you can sign up to be a beta tester right here.

Almost Half of All US Smartphone Owners Use Shopping Apps

Shortly after I bought my iPhone, I discovered shopping apps and after that, I never left home without it. My original favorite was Shopkick. Walk into a store, tap the bubble, get coupons and accumulate gift certificate points. Why not? I was going to shop at that store anyway, so Shopkick was a bonus. Then a weird thing happened, I let Shopkick tell me where to shop for holiday gifts. I went into stores I wouldn’t have visited otherwise and at that moment, I became the perfect user.

According to new numbers from Nielsen, 47% of American smartphone owners used a shopping app in June 2012 and they accessed these apps an average of 17 times during the month. What’s really interesting is the mix. Take a look at the top 10 shopping apps from June and I’ll meet you on the other side.

Wildfire Details the Secret to Facebook Success

It’s nice to have a lot of followers on Facebook, but social media management company Wildfire (who recently crossed over to the Google side) says that it only takes a select few to make a big difference.

The information comes from Wildfire’s new report, “How Superbrands Breed Superfans: 6 Best Practices for 10X Greater Fan Growth.” To get there, they analyzed 10,000 Facebook campaigns over 9 months then they pulled out the top 10% for performance (superbrands) for a closer a look.

What they found right away, was that Facebook fans fall into three categories, Joiners (83%), Sharers (15.4%) and Advocates (1.5%).

Lucky and NBC Try Out Personalized, Multi-Store Shopping Pages

With the holiday shopping season rapidly approaching, two online powerhouses are looking into new ways to grab hold of online shoppers.

Lucky Magazine, from Condé Nast is about to launch a new personal shopper website with an interesting twist. According to the New York Times, the site will feature fashions and accessories from all the top retailers, but shoppers won’t have to leave the site in order to buy.

Instead of clicking through to Macy’s to buy a blouse and Barney’s to buy the skirt, the new Lucky site will allow shoppers to put all their items into one basket. You know, kind of like that other giant online retailer, but in this case, it’s the small size that matters.

The Love Hate Relationship Between Facebook and the World

Last night, I watched Ryan Seacrest review the popularity of the American swim team by comparing their Facebook followers and comments. Even though I spent much of my day involved in social media, this still struck me as odd; several minutes of every broadcast, completely devoted to Facebook and Twitter. It’s unheard of, but you can bet it will continue to expand to news broadcasts of every kind as we move forward. Just imagine how it’s going to play into upcoming elections. . .

But social media isn’t one big love-in. Many people take to it with resigned acceptance. Steve Olenski of Forbes magazine knows this all too well. He conducted a very unscientific study into our thoughts on social media and came up with a very creative infograph detailing our love / hate relationship with the phenomena.