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Google+ has achieved 1.15bn users, but only 35% of those use are active monthly.

These figures come from We Are Social, after analysing the growth trends for Google+ year on year, globally and locally.

Is this data a damning insight into the general malaise around Google+ or is this merely reflective of general social media sign up trends?

Registered user numbers for Google+ have shown extraordinary growth between Q4 2012 and Q4 2013, rising from 359m users to 1.15bn.

However, the percentage of actual active users has been left far behind. Currently only 35% of registered users are active on a monthly basis.

By Q4 2012 Google+ had the much higher registered user to monthly active percentage of 51%, but then it only had 435m users. This figure has now doubled.

It's a similar ratio for the UK.

30% of registered users in the UK are active monthly users.

Let’s compare this to the active versus registered figures of other social media networks.

Twitter

Twitter disclosed in November 2013 that it had 232m monthly active users, however it has been reticent to reveal its total number of registered users. Those who signed up to Twitter in the last eight years and said “nah, this isn’t for me”.

Twopcharts has been monitoring Twitter registrations and it thinks that the total number of registered Twitter accounts is 883m, leaving 651m Twitter accounts unused and unloved.

This essentially means that 36% of Twitter’s registered users are active on a monthly basis.

A Reuters/Ipsos poll from 2013 also backs up the above research. It reveals that 36% of 1,067 people who have joined Twitter say they do not use it and 7% say they have shut their account.

Suddenly the Google+ figure of 35% doesn’t sound quite as bad.

Also bear in mind that Twitter counts passive users, those that just read other people’s tweets without engaging or attracting followers, as active monthly users.

Facebook

The Reuters/Ipsos poll reveals much more positive figures for Facebook: only 7% of the 2,449 registered Facebook users surveyed say that they are not active monthly users.

Facebook itself revealed the following numbers in its Q4 2013 financial results:

  • Daily active users: 757m on average for December 2013, an increase of 22% year-over-year.
  • Monthly active users: 1.23bn as of December 31, 2013, an increase of 16% year-over-year.

In David Moth’s article reports of Facebook’s death have been greatly exaggerated, which covers a recent GWI Social report, it is found that despite the level of active Facebook use falling by 3% in the second half of 2013, Facebook remains the most popular social network in the following terms:

  • Global account ownership: 83%
  • Active usage: 49%
  • Visit frequency: 56% of users log in more than once a day

The future of Google+

Other social networks have a long way to go before they achieve the monthly engagement numbers that Facebook enjoys, however with 1.15bn users it may not be long before Google+ starts muscling in on Facebook’s territory.

Of course the thing that hasn’t been mentioned yet which is one of the reasons for Google+’s incredible user growth, is the plan that Google has for its social network.

Google+ is being used by Google to tie all of its products together. From Gmail, to YouTube, to the search engine itself. All these products either give a new registered user a Google+ profile as standard, or like the new YouTube comments system, demands you join Google+ to get involved.

Google+ isn’t going away anytime soon, if it was Google would have quite mercifully taken a shotgun to it when the criticism became more than boisterous. It’s to Google’s credit that it’s stuck by it and has chosen to only gradually reveal the bigger picture of its plan.

With Google constantly integrating the platform into its product,s eventually we’ll all have no choice to become active monthly users because we already are.

For more on Google+ from the blog, check out Henry Elliss's article on Google+ and SEO and Peter Meinertzhagen's article on Google+ Communities.

Christopher Ratcliff

Published 12 February, 2014 by Christopher Ratcliff

Christopher Ratcliff is the editor of Methods Unsound. He was the Deputy Editor of Econsultancy. You can follow him on Twitter or connect via Google+ and LinkedIn

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David Somerville

David Somerville, Head of inbound marketing at Fresh Egg

It's good to finally see some UK-specific stats on G+ usage, especially in relation to 'active accounts'. I think many brands and agencies are not yet convinced on the traction it offers when compared to the engagement levels of Facebook and Twitter.

We've had some small successes using certain elements of it, but ultimately until content that's posted starts to get good response (in terms of engagement and traffic), then it's sadly a platform that's hard to convince people to use as a priority.

almost 3 years ago

Hannah Rainford

Hannah Rainford, Associate Director of Social Media at Jellyfish Online Marketing

People are too quick to dismiss Google+ as it wasn't an overnight success. It's surprising, as neither were Facebook or Twitter. They built up their active users over a number of years. Google+ is doing the same but at a much faster rate - helped by Gmail obviously.

As I keep saying to my clients, Google+ is not a channel to be ignored. Now is the time to create a Google+ page; build your following, test out posts and get your objectives and strategy in line so that you are already ahead of your competitors when it really takes off.

You are right Christopher, Google could have easily sent Google+ the same way as Buzz and Wave when the going got tough, but they had bigger and better things in store for Google+. It's much more than a social network, it's a hub for everything Google.

We are seeing the interest and niche aspects of Google+ fascinating for our clients. People use Google+ to connect and share content with those who have similar interests with them, especially in communities. It's combining the best of Facebook and Twitter and allowing for greater sharing of relevant content. This relevance is only heightened by the ability to share content in circles - something greatly underused by brands.

almost 3 years ago

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David Duffy

That sounds about right - 651million cybersquattering on Twitter @usernames

I've always considered Google+ to be like someone who arrives late to a party but is then responsible for the party carrying on into the early hours of the morning - with the early arrivals flagging. Time will tell!

almost 3 years ago

Hannah Rainford

Hannah Rainford, Associate Director of Social Media at Jellyfish Online Marketing

I love that analogy David! Will be using it in the future (will credit you of course!)

almost 3 years ago

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Conrad Dunknerson

Google+ will soon pass Facebook in total number of registered users, if it hasn't already. Taking the numbers in the article above, 1.23 billion monthly active Facebook users and 7% inactive would mean ~1.32 billion total registered Facebook users in December. Google+ is currently at 1.38 billion registered users (see http://plus.miernicki.com/).

That said, Facebook has undoubtedly grown somewhat since December and I suspect that the 7% figure is somewhat under-stated by users self reporting as 'active' when they really aren't doing much with the site. Still, even if the 16% growth rate from last year continued, Facebook would only reach ~1.53 billion registered users by the end of 2014. Google+ is on pace to hit that mark in less than two months.

Facebook will continue to have more 'active' users for a while, though again radically different standards of 'active' are being used when considering the three sites (e.g. the Facebook and Twitter figures above include anyone who logs in, while the Google+ figures are only those who post new content), but Google+ is trending to overtake them there as well. Meanwhile, Twitter is a distant and falling third on both registered and active users and everything else is even further behind.

almost 3 years ago

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Luca2D

Here you can find the complete infographic related to the study: http://wearesocial.net/blog/2014/02/state-google/

I hope it'll be useful. :)

almost 3 years ago

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Tyler Mick, Personal at Personal

Why isn't the headline here something like "Google+: it's as bad as Twitter"? Rather leading, I think, only mentioning G+ up top.

about 2 years ago

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