Google Plus Ghost Town? G+ Social Shares Lowest Compared to Facebook, Twitter And Even LinkedIn

Adrian Johnson

August 8th, 2012

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Facebook60LinkedIn25Google+52Pinterest0Twitter187

There’s been many articles written about how good, bad and indifferent Google+ is.  But our favourite debate is the ongoing It’s Really Popular Vs It’s A Ghost Town one.

So what’s the truth?  Our findings and infographic (see below) appear to suggest the latter: despite its large number of accounts, G+ is bottom of the list of social network users’ favoured channels.

Google, of course, claims it is fast-growing and really popular.  Why wouldn’t they? And, of course, there is research to support that argument. But does this chart, left, for example, which shows the rise in G+ unique visitors, tell the whole truth?

Let’s face it, you don’t actually have to be a G+ user to view a post on G+.  So, there’s every chance that a post uploaded to G+ and then posted on, say, Twitter or Facebook, is being veiwed by hundreds or thousands of people who have never logged in or created a G+ account, nor perhaps never will.

And does this explain why, according to ComScore, G+ users spend just 3.3 minutes per month on the site, compared with 7.5 hours – hours – per month on Facebook? ie is G+ traffic transient, clicking on a link, reading it and moving back to their Facebook/ Twitter stream?

So, we decided to do our own research.  It is by no means exhaustive and is only meant as a snapshot view, so judge for yourself.

Google hasn’t released active user stats or levels of engagement, but they have confirmed on their own blog that there are 170m G+ accounts.  To put that into context, it puts G+ second behind Facebook (901m: recently updated to 955m) and ahead of LinkedIn (161m) and Twitter (140m) in terms of official user accounts (see links below).

If these official user figures are accurate, you might surmise that levels of activity – such as sharing stories, for example – would mirror user stats ie the more users, the more people sharing content on that network.

Not so.

We analysed 100 random online entertainment, health, business, technology and general news stories and looked at how many times each story was shared by Facebook, Google+, LinkedIn and Twitter users.

The stories were taken at random by three staff from Umpf using websites including The Independent, Telegraph, Forbes, CBS News, Evening Standard, Mashable and TechCrunch.  The only criteria was that the site had to have a share counter showing all four networks as a minimum.

We then worked out, on an average per user per channel basis, the propensity of a social media user to share a story on either Facebook, G+, LinkedIn or Twitter.

For every 100 million users, the following number were likely to share an online story:

Twitter, 197.3 people were likely to share an online story
Facebook, 41.8 people were likely to share an online story
LinkedIn, 15.2 people were likely to share an online story
Google+, 6.0 people were likely to share an online story

Or, in other words:

LinkedIn is 2.5 times more effective than G+ for sharing
Facebook is 7 times more effective than G+ for sharing
Twitter is 33 times more effective than G+ for sharing

Our infographic, above right, visualises the Umpf findings and the full press release is below.

And the absolute irony of all this?  We can’t share our Google+ article and infographic on the Umpf Google+ page.

Why?

Because Google made it so difficult to set up an account in the first place.  Initially, Google required early G+ users to first create a Gmail account before they were allowed to create a G+ account.  We created a Gmail address, didn’t note down what it was, nor did we add a secondary email account on the day we set it up last November.  Because we manage a host of YouTube accounts, once we had logged out of G+ and then tried to log back in, we were locked out.  So there is a Gmail account out there somewhere, lost.

And with it so is our access to G+.  And that about sums up G+.

To embed this infographic into your site, copy the code below and paste it into your site:

<img src=”http://www.umpf.co.uk/wp-content/uploads/2012/08/Google-Plus-Ghost-Town-Social-Shares-versus-Twitter-LinkedIn-Facebook-Umpf.jpg” alt=”Google Plus Ghost Town? G+ Social Shares Lowest Compared to Facebook, Twitter And Even LinkedIn” /><p>Infographic and research by <a href=”http://www.umpf.co.uk/social-media/”>Umpf social media agency</a></p>

 

Umpf Press Release

Google Plus Ghost Town: The Network That Promised To “Fix Online Sharing”, Bottom of the List For Sharing Stories

Twitter Streets Ahead; Google+ Least Favourite Social Network For Sharing Content

 

Google claims 170m Google+ users but other reports have said it is a ghost town, so what is the truth?  Findings released today appear to confirm the latter – despite its large number of accounts the platform is bottom of the list of social network users’ favoured channels.

Social media agency Umpf analysed 100 random online entertainment, health, business, technology and general news stories and looked at how many times each story was shared by Facebook, Google+, LinkedIn and Twitter users.

The findings show Twitter as the most active social network for sharing stories, followed by Facebook in second, LinkedIn third and Google+ last:

1. For every 100million users of Twitter, 197.3 people were likely to share an online story
2. For every 100million users of Facebook, 41.8 people were likely to share an online story
3. For every 100million users of LinkedIn, 15.2 people were likely to share an online story
4. For every 100million users of Google+, 6.0 people were likely to share an online story

Whilst Google+ is the second largest of the four in terms of official users*, and despite it arguably being the best placed of all four to succeed – it was created by Google post-Twitter, post-Facebook and post-LinkedIn, and designed to be the most socially-integrated network (“Online sharing is awkward. Even broken. And we aim to fix it.”) – it performs the worst.

Jon Priestley, of PR and Social Media agency Umpf, said: “Our findings clearly show a gulf between Google+ user numbers and their willingness to share online content, particularly when compared to rival platforms such as Facebook and Twitter.

“Whilst posting meteoric increases in user numbers since its launch barely a year ago in June 2011, levels of sharing have failed to match this growth and in spite of Google’s claims that the platform would be the cure to online sharing, it seems to be anything but.

“Whether or not this lack of social sharing is down to dormant accounts, user apathy or counter-intuitive functionality remains to be seen. One thing is certain, though; Google+ is not hitting the targets its set out to achieve and has not gained ground on its rivals as a place where social sharing characterises user activity.”

For more information and infographic of the survey results, visit http://www.umpf.co.uk/blog/social-media/google-plus-ghost-town-g-social-shares-lowest-compared-to-facebook-twitter-and-even-linkedin

*User statistics for each channel taken from each channel’s official blog:

901,000,000** Facebook users: http://newsroom.fb.com/content/default.aspx?NewsAreaId=22

170,000,000 Google+ users: http://googleblog.blogspot.co.uk/2012/04/toward-simpler-more-beautiful-google.html

161,000,000 LinkedIn users: http://press.linkedin.com/about

140,000,000 Twitter users: http://blog.twitter.com/2012/03/twitter-turns-six.html

**Research compiled and data analysed pre Facebook’s 26 July 2012 user update from 901m to 955m

ENDS –

 

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9 Responses

  1. LaPingvino says:

    Several things you forget here are the unusual amount of original long stories appearing first on G+, the big number of private shares you will never see, communication that happens in places you cannot check on like Hangouts and the fact that if you don’t do anything, you probably don’t see anything back on Google+. Google+ is a tool, and a great one at that. Twitter and LinkedIn don’t have the private instant communication you have with Google+, and while Facebook does have that, it’s mostly for family and existing friends with a lot of content you are not really interested in. Google+ has very low noice and because of that doesn’t need a firehose of sharing. The shared content already is quite some times better.

  2. Andy Burke says:

    Looks like you’ve just looked at shares direct from the source website rather than including shares from the host’s relevant SM site

    Using a Mashable story on internet connected Tshirts as an example:
    On mashable.com: FB likes 734, Tweets 1.6K, G+1s 110, Linkedin shares 92, 20 comments
    But
    Mashable FB page post: 104 shares, 265 likes, 42 comments
    @Mashable’s tweet: 133 RTs, 34 Favs
    Mashable G+ page post: 588 shares, 1183 +1s, 365 comments
    Mashable LinkedIn post: 2 Likes, 0 comments, 0 shares

    Maybe the data actually shows that G+ users would rather comment and share from the mashable G+ page. FB, Twitter and LinkedIn are more likely to share from mashable.com?

  3. cliff says:

    There is no question G+ is smaller than Facebook. That being said, I think these graphics show more about the culture of G+ than it’s relative size (i,e, G+ users are less likely to share something directly from a website) If you go to the original story, Umpf got these numbers by looking at the number of times articles were directly shared from the websites for The Independent, Telegraph, Forbes, CBS News, Evening Standard, Mashable and TechCrunch
    Just as an example, we could look at the Forbes article “Beware, Tech Abandoners. People Without Facebook Accounts Are ‘Suspicious.’”
    6944 facebook”shares”, 1101 tweets, 331 linkedin shares and 0 G+ shares 395 G+ “+1″
    On the facebook page for forbes 50 reshares, on the G+ page 5 reshares and 157 re-re shares (ripples, reposting of someone else’s share)
    Should the facebook: google+ comparison be 6944:0, 6944:395, 50:5, or 50:157 for this one story?

  4. Sebastian says:

    Fantastic infographic and interesting insights. Many thanks.

  5. Shaun says:

    Ironically this article has more + than it does likes or shares.

  6. I find your story truly amazing.

  7. Tony Cook says:

    It’s not really fair to judge a social networks success on whether their users share news stories. Surely you should be seeing how socially interactive they are with their followers as that is the primary thing the site is designed for – conversation.

    I have noticed, as one commenter above stated, that there is a lot less noise on G+ compared to Twitter for example. The people in my circles generally very rarely just share new stories, and if they do they usually include an in depth comment on it putting across their opinion and thus opening up a conversation.Most of their posts are original thoughts and not just a status update, as you get on FB.

    Obviously as a PR tool, G+ isn’t that good (based on the posts narrow source) but it wasn’t designed to be a social bookmarking site, it’s a social network.

  8. Ovbiously It’s the most popular topic for online marketer and still thing has not bean cleared as far as my view is concern i think that Facebook is the best and will be best. :)
    and also think that there are many users who has several fake accounts on Facebook and G + as well. It increase the number of users and I rarely found fake account in LinkedIn and twitter.

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