A More Honest Look At Google+ Page Usage
Google+ has quickly gone from a laughing stock and butt of many jokes, to a platform where brands should consider hopping on board. One question that's been asked time and time again is, "how many people are actually using the social network?" Google gladly gives out the total number of people on Google+, but have yet to talking about what percentage are actively using pages.
Recently, I did a video review of Uncircle Inactives+, a Chrome extension that allows you to scan all your circles or specific circles, see who's inactive, and then remove them with one click. This sparked the idea of what about circling a bunch of brand pages and then running this exact same extension to see what kind of results we get? That's exactly what happened.
Thanks to the great work that Chris Porter did in putting together a massive spreadsheet of Google+ shared circles, I got to work. Going through the "Pages" category, I circled well over 1,000 pages which ranged from news, small business, large corporations, and more.
After removing all the duplicates, I fired up the extension, selected both circles, and ran the scan from three different dates: 6 months ago, 90 days ago, and 30 days ago. These were the results...
21% haven't posted in the last 6 months.
27% haven't posted in the last 90 days.
36% haven't posted in the last 30 days.
This is a start, but as with most findings, doesn't represent every single user. Usage appears to go down which could be for a number of reasons. The first reason is many brands being told they need to get on Google+, they finally get on Google+, yet don't have a strategy and lose focus.
The second reason is their audience isn't necessarily on Google+ or they don't know how to effectively reach their audience. Lastly, there's not enough perceived incentive to continually invest the time into Google+ and they get distracted and are more focused on other social networks.
To be honest, pages need work. Many businesses and individuals that I've spoke with, don't see the value compared to say a Twitter account or Facebook page. Google has their work cut out to make brand pages far better and offer more of an incentive for brands to invest the time.
Right now, the value isn't exactly clear.
Now, one could easily look at this data and say that brand pages are an absolute fail. However, how many brands were actively using Facebook pages one year after they released to the public? What about Twitter? And that's the thing.
The platform we see now is just a fraction of the age of Facebook and Twitter. I'd lay money down to say that Facebook didn't have 64% active pages a year after pages went live.
Google+, while it gets a mixed rap, does represent the next evolution of social media where social is highly integrated into search. Your customers and potential customers are using Google and possibly searching for something that you talk about or provide the answers to.
Obviously, you should invest time where your customers are and if you find that a platform is a good place for that, you need to have the right strategy. Most are simply winging it and don't have the right information to make things work, something that both Google and people such as myself, can help solve.
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