Google+ counts 400 million profiles, but what’s its real social marketing reach?

Published on
by Brafton Editorial
Google+ now has more 400 million profiles, but it's usage numbers show a cloudier picture of the platform.

Vic Gundotra, Google’s senior vice president of engineering, reported through his own Google+ account that the social network now counts more than 400 million users. These accounts were primarily activated by Google users who chose to create a Google+ presence when prompted to do so while using another service from the company. However, many have wondered how many of these users make the site a regular part of their web activity and what the network, itself, offers for social media marketing.

At the end 2011, Google+ reported that it’s goal was to enroll more than 400 million users by the end of 2012, which would make the recent milestone a major one for the company.

However, at Google I/O in July, the company said that its social network has more than 150 million active users. The disparity comes from interpretations of data from Google. Although, there are more than 400 million accounts registered to the site, the 150 million users are those who access the site or its mobile app directly. The remaining users typically click +1 or Share buttons throughout the web, but they may not use the site and mobile apps.

Gundotra explained in a response to a post comment that “(T)he numbers at I/O were google+ (sic) users all across Google. So gmail (sic) users who used circles, or Android users who +1′d an app were included. Today’s number of 100m (visitors in August) is just our destination site and the mobile app. Pretty amazing.”

Making Google+ an attractive destination for social activity has been a struggle. Even as Google continues to roll out new features that many enjoy, most seem to ignore the site entirely.

According to Marketing Land, just 100 million users access the site in a given month, meaning a vast majority of Google+ accounts go untouched. Making Google+ an attractive destination for social activity has been a struggle. Even as Google continues to roll out new features that many enjoy, most seem to ignore the site entirely.

Where Google+ is seeing success

Part of Google+’s appeal for many is the ease with which they can share content from around the web directly from search and other sites. Users can share content from sites with Google+ widgets or directly from SERPs, which has led to substantial activity – and SEO wins for brands.

The problem has been getting people to visit the network or access the app to engage with shared content. For marketers, +1 activity and Shares are still positive metrics since logged-in users see the endorsement from their friends when they search. The number of people, and the amount of content they share from around the web, continues to grow. Brafton recently reported that there are about 2.7 billion pieces of content shared or +1′d every month.

Still, it’s difficult at this point to say whether Google+ has helped many organizations in terms of engagement on the site or network-driven referral traffic.

Still, it’s difficult at this point to say whether Google+ has helped many organizations in terms of engagement on the site or network-driven referral traffic.

Google+ marketing improves while brands wait

Despite uncertainty over Google+’s success as a network, brands have opted to make the site a part of their web presences. Aside from positive effects related to search standing, many seem to be actively using the site in the event that it really does take off among their targeted audiences. Brafton cited data from Simply Measured in late July that found 75 of the global top 100 brands have a page on Google+.

As a result, Google has slowly looked to fine-tune its social marketing offerings to help businesses brand their Pages more effectively.

In early August, Google announced the availability of vanity URLs for accounts and pages that can help companies simplify navigation to their site. The first wave of ew URLs came shortly after the announcement, with Google+ Pages in a certain amount of circles receiving the option to customize their URLs. However, some users expressed frustration with the company following the release. Essentially, early adopters that worked to organically build strong followings on the site said it was unfair that major brands and notable personal profiles could adjust their URL first.

Clearly, there are still issues Google must resolve to maximize the network’s marketing appeal – even with 400 million accounts.

 

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  • http://www.thesocialmediahandyman.com Paul Chaney

    I use Sprout Social for social media management. At this point, the G+ API is not available. When it’s added, Google+ will become much more useful to me. For me, the issue is time management, not an unwillingness to embrace the platform.

    • Meagan Parrish

      Hi Paul,

      Thanks for commenting. Hopefully the G+ API will be widely available to other social management platforms soon. We find HootSuite works really well for G+ social scheduling. Now all users (even those using HootSuite’s free version) have access to schedule on this platform.

  • Guest

    Hi Paul,

    Thanks for commenting. Hopefully the G+ API will be widely available to other social management platforms soon. We find HootSuite works really well for G+ social scheduling. Now all users (even those using HootSuite’s free version) have access to schedule on this platform.

    Meagan