Google+, the social networking service owned and operated by Google Inc., has been around for a little over two years now. You’ve probably heard some buzz about the social networking site, but chances are you still have some questions. Who is using Google+? Is Google+ something I should join for my business? Are the reported usage numbers really accurate? Google has been pretty protective of the actual Google plus numbers, and while often thrown in the same category as Facebook, Twitter, or Pinterest, it has some unique features and its own unique language which serve as differentiating factors.
Google reported in December 2012 that Google+ had passed 500 million members. The numbers are difficult to quantify, since Google measures its active users in two ways – the number of registered users who are using other Google services (i.e. Google Search, YouTube, and the Google app – if you’re signed into one, you’re signed into all), and the number who specifically visit the Google+ app. It is estimated that there are 359 million active users (for comparison’s sake, Facebook has about 1 billion monthly active users). To that point, while the number 500 million members may appear grand, Mashable reported in April 2013 that Google+ users are only spending 6 minutes 47 seconds minutes monthly on Google+, compared to Facebook users spending a little over 6 and a half hours monthly.
Now maybe you can see why consumers are so confused about the truth behind Google+. The numbers are all well and good, but what do they matter if G+‘s users are hardly, well, using the site. Numbers aside, I wanted to find out who is actually utilizing Google+ and what are they using it for? Is there a potential opportunity for Google+ and my business? Social Media Today recently offered some demographic statistics for actual Google+ users that help unveil the mystery. These users are predominately male (63%), primarily in the United States, and a tech savvy audience.
I also found this image from Social Media Today quite helpful when breaking down the actual usage of Google+ as well as some demographical information about social media use in general.
Our advice? Never put all of your eggs in one basket; take a hard look at the users of ALL social media platforms and determine where your target audience hangs out. There is something to be said for G+‘s current culture, which is not the selfie posting, wedding album inundated world of Facebook. You’re much more likely to find content, blogs, and links that appeal to those trying to grow their brand through social media marketing. Also, don’t underestimate the power of G+’s SEO; it is currently formatted so that Google+ content trumps non G+ content in a Google search.
If your interest is peaked in joining Google+ to grow your business or reach your target audience, check out this great “beginner’s guide” over on Social Media Today for some useful tips.
Google+: Ghost town or potential gold mine? Are you currently using Google+ and if so do you feel as though you’re getting a good ROI? Weigh in in the comments section below!