Yes, it’s May of 2016, and I’m still talking about Google+. What?! you thought this network was dead and buried? If you’re under that impression, please take a moment to look with me at a few stats and facts that might make you re-think your view of Google+.
First, let’s highlight one of the biggest reasons why critics say Google+ is "irrelevant” - posting activity.
“When it first came out, the expectation among many experts was that Google+ would be a 'Facebook' killer" said John Bertino, CEO of The Agency Guy, Inc a new school client to agency match-making service. "It's remarkable to compare that against the current day sentiments we hear from most of our search and social partners. The consensus would have you believe that Google+ is a total ghost town".
Historical usage and account data seem to back this up. According to a Stone Temple Consulting study, 90% of users with a Google+ profile have never posted to the network. The study also revealed:
- 0.3% of the study’s 516,246 tested Google+ profiles posted 50 or more public posts
- 1.5% of the tested profiles posted 10 or more posts
- 2.5% of the tested profiles posted 5 or more posts
- 824 profiles out of the 516,246 that were tested returned 404 errors, implying that those profiles have been closed down
There is, of course, more to look at than the number of posts generated by Google+ users. Other Google+ stats, according to Statistic Brain, are as follows:
- Google+ users spend an average of 3:46 per visit
- 22% of online adults visit Google+ at least once a month
- 30% of smartphone users utilize the Google+ app at least once a month
- The average sales order for a visitor referred from Google+ is $40
Here are a few demographic stats of interest, again from Statistic Brain:
- 28% of Google+ users are age 15-34
- 26.3% of Google+ users are female
- 73.7% of Google+ users are male
- 40% of marketers use Google+
- 70% of brands have a presence on Google+
While the Stone Temple Consulting study certainly reveals a lack of user-generated content and sharing, other Google+ factors make the platform very relevant for businesses.
Again according to John Bertino: “Although nobody would suggest putting all your marketing eggs in the Google+ basket (or any single basket,) Google+ certainly has value. As part of a bigger marketing strategy, the platform offers some unique advantages.”
Here are a few important facts that form a business case for using Google+.
Although Google+ Isn’t The Behemoth That Facebook Is, It’s Still Big
Remember, even though most Google+ users are inactive, 212 million profiles are alive and active.
Yes, That’s a small percentage of total profiles, but it’s nothing to scoff at.
Google+ Lets You Build Free Communities Around Your Products
Google+ Communities are valuable gathering places for people to share their passions for a particular hobby, interest, organization, product or service.
Although this feature has some similarities to Facebook Pages, the content in Google+ Communities is seen by everyone in the community – even without promoting the content.
In this “pay-to-play” social landscape, building a community and creating authority without paying a dime is reason enough to maintain a presence on Google+.
Collections Lets Your Followers See The Content They’re Interested In The Most
Google+ Collections allows you to gather similarly themed sets (or “collections”) of content in one place. Your Google+ followers can then select the Collections they’d like to see from your business.
If your business is a clothing store, you might have Collections for shoes, shirts, pants, fashion tips, helpful hacks (like fast stain removal or how to perfectly tie a tie), etc.
Again, while Facebook makes businesses pay to promote content in order for audiences to see it, Google+ lets your audience freely choose what they’ll see from you.
Google+ Might Influence Your Search Rankings
Way back in 2013, an article in Moz suggested that +1s on Google+ posts receive favorable SEO treatment. The article received a lot of attention, and it even prompted Google’s Matt Cutts to respond.
To this day, there’s significant debate within marketing circles regarding the question of whether or not +1s strongly influence SERP rankings. Because of the other advantages Google+ can offer businesses, it can be argued that it’s best to add Google’s +1 button on your website, even though the results are debatable.
With the community-building advantages Google+ offers, as well as the control it allows audiences to have over the content they see, Google+ can be a valuable component of your marketing plan. Don’t underestimate its potential benefits. Because your competitors are probably not utilizing the features Google+ has to offer, your use of it might just give your business a competitive edge.
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* Adapted lead image: Some rights reserved by simonturkas