Google+ marketing reaches the second largest active social media network.

Is Google+ really the second largest social media network?

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The long-told story of the nerdy kid in grammar school growing up to become a stronger and successful person plays out in the world of social media, too. Google+, for example, often garners a reputation of being a failing and largely useless site next to Facebook, but new data from the Global Web Index paints a much different picture.

Most Active Social Networks Q4 2012In GWI.8 (Q4 2012), data shows a shift in platform usage by the world’s population. When evaluating behaviors of consumers aged 16 to 64, GWI found that 51 percent use Facebook, 25 percent use Google+, 21 percent use YouTube and 21 percent use Twitter. In terms of fasting-growing network, Twitter takes top prize, growing by 40 percent last year to reach approximately 288 million people across 31 markets.

However, GWI also discovered that Google+ has emerged as the second largest global social media network. YouTube comes in at No. 3, showing the immense power Google has over the social media marketing world.

Brands without active Google+ marketing campaigns may be swayed to embark on their first ventures with GWI’s findings in tow. People are flocking to Google+ to take advantage of the social media layer produced by Google, granting users access to the company’s social networks (Google+ and YouTube) seamlessly.

“This data comes as a surprise. When we look at the activity on Brafton’s and our clients’ social pages, we notice far more updates and engagement by users on Facebook,  Twitter and Pinterest channels than we do on Google+ Pages,” Meagan Parrish, director of social media at Brafton, said. “If “active usage” also includes being logged in to Gmail (and likewise Google+), I would be less surprised by the study’s results.”

Ted Karczewski
Ted Karczewski is an Executive Communications Associate at Brafton. He works to develop his own voice and apply his passions to the evolving world of SEO and content marketing, but he doesn't shy away from writing for fun. After graduating from Suffolk University, Ted used his Communications degree to test out Sports Journalism before Marketing at Brafton.


  • Marc Razia

    The data only shows users who visit once a month. That doesn’t say anything about how often they visit in that month and thus people likely visit FB and Twitter far more often over the course of a month (for now). But the point is that G+ is clearly growing and headed in the right direction. Keep in mind, its only been 18 months. It took Facebook 4 years to catch MySpace.

    • TedKarczewski

      Hi Marc —

      Thanks for reading and the comment. I agree, the data doesn’t dive deep into how often these users accessed their Google+ accounts, nor does it show how long these people spent updating their accounts. However, we shouldn’t over look Google+’s growth, either, so I agree with you there, too.

      I also can’t help but refer back to Nielsen’s “The State of Digital Media: The Social Media Report,” which highlighted minutes spent accessing various social media networks. While Nielsen didn’t offer raw data on how often users spent on Google+, the data did show that Twitter members and Facebook members all increased the amount of time they spent tweeting and posting status updates between 2011 and 2012, so I would argue those two networks still have a leg up on G+.

      Check out the study:

      Thanks for the great note!