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.