It started with an email exchange and ended in extensive research, interviews and, finally, this blog on the viability of Google Plus for B2B marketers.
While there is much written about Google Plus being one of the biggest and most active networks, for some reason, we did not seem to see this in our own networks. Natascha and I are also both on Facebook, where he have been building our network for a longer time, and maybe – for that reason – we have not been as dedicated on G+ as we needed to be to see more return.
I asked Natascha: “Where on G+ is all this supposed activity happening. I don’t see it in my newsfeed”. Her response: “I think where it’s happening is in the communities, and via Google Hangouts.” But, she added: “That’s just my personal experience, we’d need to dig deeper”.
Well, here we are.
As we did for our popular series about the use of social media around the globe, we started to reach out to our networks to gather some facts.
- Analysis of data obtained from sources including: Jeff Bullas, Janrain, eMarketer, Marketing Xlerator .
- Interviews with people in our network who are active on social media. This is a random and small group and, hence, not statistically significant.
While the Google CEO Larry Page said in his own post on the company’s social network that: “We’ll continue working hard to build great new experiences for the ever increasing number of Google+ fans”, we dug deeper to see what this really means.
1. Janrain Report: Social Login Trends Across the Web Q1 2014
The graphic illustrates how in the first quarter of 2014, Google Plus increased as a choice for social login, not too far behind the number one, Facebook.
What are the reasons?
- Google Plus might not be gaining social media activity but it is technically gaining users because its login is the same for Google’s entire ecosystem of products.
- Google tried to integrate Gmail with its user base on Google Plus, the company will scrap that mandatory integration with its other products.
2. Jeff Bullas (Social Media Expert)
According to Jeff Bullas, G+ is all about data gathering for Google:
«To create a Google Plus account you needed to tell them your age, location, email account and other data that revealed your likes and dislikes. We also live in a digital data age that empowers us to express, publish and share. That reveals who we are and Google can use that to increase revenue and improve user experience. Nothing is for free.»
Jeff’s article 12 Awesome Social Media Facts and Statistics for 2013 provides more insights. We’ll focus on facts #1, #5, and #6:
Fact #1: Google+ is catching up to Facebook in terms of membership
- Facebook still dominates at 70% of account ownership.
- Google+ is not far behind at just over 50%.
Note: a Google+ account is mandatory whenever you create a new Gmail account, pushing up the account ownership stats.
Fact #5: Usage of social networks by older age groups is increasing
- Social media is not just for millennials but all age groups.
- According to the graphic below, a high % of G+ users are part of Generation X.
Fact #6. Google+ dominates on monthly visits
The graphic below shows:
- That monthly visits on G+ have risen above 1 million visits per month.
- The ugly truth is that this activity is (at least partially generated) by visits to other Google services than to G+ (e.g. Gmail) that are counted as a Google+ visits.
More proof (see graph below):
- Facebook users post more updates and are generally more active than G+ users; even considering the fact that Facebook has more users than G+ overall.
- Twitter has a much smaller foot print than G+ in terms of accounts and monthly visits, but comes astoundingly close in terms of activity and post updates when compared to G+; even within the 140 character limit. You do the math.
3 . Marketing Xlerator
According with the post Are You the Steward of Your Social Identity? :
If we talk in terms of convenience of logging in with your Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Google Plus, Pinterest account called social sign-on – we can see that:
- Mobile devices like cell phones and tablets have accelerated the social sign-on trend; particularly for apps.
- Google Plus position ( 25 % ) is not bad, but not great, and it looks like the recent policy change allowing “fake names” on Google+ might give the search giant the social login boost — attracting those who are not into divulging their real names online.
- Social sign-ons are great news for marketers, as the convenience they offer can increase registrations and other (potential) buyer engagement in marketing campaigns.
- The social sign-on information can then be used to match individuals with existing records in a CRM system to create more complete personas. As a result, marketing messages can become even more relevant in regards to product, place, promotion, and even price.
It is very interesting to note that Google has much more to offer, with a very important market: teens and young people
eMarketer report bellow show :
- Facebook is still the preferred platform for young people (teenagers)
- Facebook still leads in terms of preferences engage, social login, shares, ages, etc.
- Google Plus is a very interesting and important network, however, still has much to gain in this battle .
And some interesting thoughts :
- What if it is not mandatory to open a Gmail account to access Google Plus?
- What would be the real numbers ?
If you have comments, please comment . We’d like to hear about your own experience with Google Plus.