Is Google Plus Progressing or Stagnating?
Since the inception of Google’s social network, there has been debate about where it fits into the current social media landscape. Since the debut of “Search Plus Your World,” (and, quite honestly, before that), many of us have been aware that, though the network has faced setbacks and lackluster usage, in a lot of ways it has been a success (especially when compared to previous Google efforts in the social arena). First, Google Plus has allowed for authors to put their faces to their content with the rel=author connection. It has also allowed celebrities and larger companies to host “hangouts” with their followers, and it has allowed the average Joe to participate in hangout video chats with several friends at once.
Still, though, users have certainly not abandoned ship from Facebook and Twitter in favor of Google Plus, despite its ever-increasing impact on their Google search results. So, we’re curious – do you think Google Plus is progressing or stagnating? Will people continue to use it, or will they return to Facebook and Twitter to scratch their social networking itch? Will Google have to go to Facebook and Twitter with its tail between its legs and ask to include their results in social search in an effort to make “Search Plus Your World” valuable to users?
eMarketer may be able to answer this question for us, statistically at least, in the form of a report released yesterday entitled “Will Brands See User Engagement on Google +?”. The report cites results from comScore, which showed that users spend around 3.3 minutes surfing Google + in January of this year, which was less than in November of 2011 when users spent around 5.1 minutes on Google’s social network and 4.8 minutes during the month of December. This data is reflected in the below chart from eMarketer:
According to this data, users are spending fewer and fewer minutes on Google + as time progresses.
Despite this fact, brands are still flocking to Google Plus – and for many of them, presumably, this has a lot to do with the search engine results benefits that come along with being an active member of the social platform. The potential to have your brand rank higher in the SERPs because of your Google Plus brand page is reason enough to enter a seemingly diminishing market. However, it turns out, search engine ranking perks aren’t the only benefits of this social network, as eMarketer found when analyzing the results of studies done by Simply Measured, a social media measurement company. It seems some user engagement does occur:
62 Verified brand pages were studied. As it turns out, Wednesday is most popular for engaging users (this is consistent across all social networks, in fact). Brands tend to match user interest on this day by posting more often and therefore receiving more comments, +1 , shares, etc. eMarketer notes, “there were 56,980 points of engagement on brand posts on Wednesdays between November and March.” Of course, it’s like that these brands are larger – like Ford, and H & M, and therefore are likely to have engagement wherever they go. Where this leaves the small business owner trying to capture an audience, I’m not sure.
Mornings saw the most peaks when it came to engagement: 37,654 comments, +1s and reshares between 9am and 10am. According to eMarketer, this indicates that “as users get settled into their desks and check in on various social networks, they are starting to include Google + in the mix.”
So, is Google Plus progressing or stagnating? It would seem that it’s straddling the line between both – while average time spent on the social network decreases, brands continue to populate the platform and bring engaged followers with them.
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