Does Google+ Just Need Time to Mature?

By Mark Evans - Wednesday, September 5th, 2012 at 7:30 am  

google+It’s easy to get signed onto Google+. Many people and brands are using Google Docs or the new Google Drive, and the social media service naturally comes with membership.

But if you’re like me, you’ve added a few friends, but then done little or nothing with them other than perhaps add them to Circles. There’s lots to do with other Google products but not much going on with Google+.

These thoughts are confirmed by a study by RJ Metrics, published in Fast Company. The real numbers are beyond grim. RJ Metrics chose a sample of 40,000 Google+ users and looked at their publicly available timelines.

The average post had less than one +1 (the equivalent of a Facebook like), less than one reply and less than one re-share. About 30% of users who made a public post never made a second one. Even those who make five posts have a 15% chance of not posting again.

Meanwhile, the metrics organization CircleCount says people in the U.S., India and Brazil are top users on the site. Students, developers, engineers, designer and photographers are frequent users.

While the signs seem to point to a decline, some social media watchers say Google+ simply needs to time to mature, and that it’s a well-designed site with lots of potential.

In any case, if you’re active on Google+, check out your analytics to see if your demographic is camping out there. You should be able to isolate your organic search referral traffic.

See what percentage of that traffic shows a referral of (not provided). This shows who found your site while logged into Google. Those people could be there to access documents or Gmail, but some might be on the social media spine.

And if they are there, they will see your postings, which won’t be surrounded by the noise of competitors.

Yes, Google+ is a quiet place, at least for now. But it’s still a player to keep your eye on, experiment with, test some content on it, and see where it goes long term.

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3 Responses to “Does Google+ Just Need Time to Mature?”

  1. Google has already stated that most activity on the site is NOT public. Posting privately to a specific “circle” is one of the selling point of the site.

    A quick Google search surfaces many articles stating that most Facebook users also choose to hide their activity. If you look at what my wife has made public on Facebook you would assume she doesn’t use it multiple times a day, which isn’t true.

    Any study on Google+, or even Facebook had to go deeper than public postings

  2. Mark Evans says:

    Hashim: Thanks for the information and insight. Have you come across any studies on Google+ that provide a more accurate take on what’s happening?

  3. I haven’t, unfortunately.

    From my personal use, I see that I have twice as many “followers” and much more interaction on Google+ than on Twitter.

    But, that’s probably because I’ve made it my main social network.

    To understand how Google sees Google+, I think Bradley Horowitz’s classic blog post on participation in social networks is a good start:

    http://blog.elatable.com/2006/02/creators-synthesizers-and-consumers.html