In the realm of social media that is rapidly expanding across the World Wide Web, there is one thing that everyone thinks that they know for sure. The common belief around the web is that Google Plus is in no way the success that Google thought it would be. It has often been referred to as a “ghost town” and it is known for having a very small user base and very little potential for marketers. These are all the ideas that have been spread to marketers, and it has caused for very little interest to be put into Google Plus, compared to networks like Facebook or Twitter. However, the truth seems to be just the opposite, according to a recent report from GlobalWebIndex, a multi-platform market research company.
The report lays out in a chart the world’s social platform active usage for the final quarter of 2012, and as anyone could have expected, Facebook has an incredibly strong lead. Facebook’s active user base contained about 52%-53% of global internet users. The surprise came from the second place spot, which hosted Google Plus. Surely, no one expected Google Plus to be number two in active user base, but the network boasted about 25% of global internet users. After that of course came YouTube and Twitter, with YouTube’s active user base containing about 22% of global internet users, and Twitter containing just under that.
Google+, who despite being branded a failure or ghost town by large portions of the media, grew in terms of active usage by 27% to 343m users to become the number 2 social platform. Interestingly for Google, YouTube (not previously tracked by us as a social platform) comes in at number 3, demonstrating the immense opportunity of linking Google’s services through the G+ social layer. This is also a key indication of why Google+ integrated with the Google product set is so key to the future of search and the internet. We’ve got more coming on Google+ later this week as well.
Google Plus’s active user numbers seem to reflect any interaction with the network, which includes using things like Gmail or other Google services. Any time a user logs into any of Google’s services, they log into Google+ essentially. Therefore, their numbers may not even reflect usage of social media network itself. Either way, usage of Google Plus is up, and it shows that it is absolutely not true when you hear otherwise.
Between Q2 of 2012 and Q4 of 2012 which really is not a long time in the grand scheme of things, Google’s active user numbers increased by around 27%. Clearly, Google is doing something right in their social media efforts, and Google Plus may be more of an asset than people were originally led to believe. Or maybe not. Maybe these numbers are only the result of Google’s new social integration of all of their services, including Gmail. If that is that case, then maybe very little has changed for the social network itself, but numbers are being influenced by users simply logging into Google and not Google Plus. Whatever is the case, the numbers are exciting and Google Plus should at least be placed on marketers’ radars once again.