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.
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.
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
Tags: Facebook, G+, Ghost town, Google, Google Plus, Google+ Ghost town, linkedin, social media, social shares, Twitter
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