• http://profiles.google.com/trappermark Mark Traphagen

    It’s very frustrating to see that many publishers who say Google+ referral traffic sucks not surprisingly suck at using it.

    I can tell you that for the many sites I work with who now use Google+ effectively (i.e., doing more than just dumping links there) get big traffic from it. For many it is their #1 or #2 social referral source.

  • Matt McGee

    So the fact that a Billboard article gets 21,000 Facebook likes and only 1 G+ upvote is more a reflection of Billboard magazine sucking at Google+ than a reflection of the audiences on the two services?

  • http://vope.net Vope Digital Agency

    Looks like this article is just a buzz. Check for example what Similarweb gets and learn from them: http://blog.similarweb.com/is-google-plus-as-dead-as-its-detractors-say-it-is/

  • LM Stewart

    Did the comment (with a link in it) showing metrics that disagreed really just get deleted?

  • Cyberats

    FB is just as Government monitored as G-oogle, what is the difference ?
    Google is for adults, no game content in the chat boards, whereas FB is a mix and match of everything.
    A digital playground to drop your kids in (not recommended but people do anyways) or leave the kid minded adults to entertain themselves, fleeing reality and the physical world for a phony, hacked & traced website with simplified games for the simple minded.

  • YuCMi

    This is just a long-shot, but could it be possible that the G+ audience does not care about the Billboard magazine and other related content?

  • http://searchengineland.com/ Danny Sullivan

    Looks like it got named by the automated spam filter, or perhaps several user reports. No editor pulled it, if that’s what you were wondering. And I’ve restored it.

  • LM Stewart

    I was wondering. It seemed strange to pull it.

  • http://www.TheSocialMediaHat.com/ Mike Allton

    Equally as frustrating is to see that data provided to the author was summarily ignored because it didn’t “fit the conclusion” being floated by the article.

    I was asked to provide referral traffic information for my site, http://www.TheSocialMediaHat.com, and reported how Google+ has been and continues to be my #1 Referral Source, with significant volume. But that wasn’t included.

    The problem here is that the author wanted to concentrate on “large publishers” which, by definition, have been around for years. These are websites who have already established large followings on Facebook and Twitter, and even though they probably have a large audience on Google+, they clearly have invested zero effort in really connecting with that audience.

    Just take a look at ArsTechnica’s Google+ Page, often cited within the article as an example of a publisher not seeing any referral traffic from Google+. Post after post is a “link dump” – nothing but a link shared. No thoughts or commentary offered at all. They actually have a smaller following on Facebook, yet EVERY POST is introduced with at least a sentence or two. This is what Mark Traphagen refers to when he talks about publishers who suck at using Google+.

    At a MINIMUM, put more than two seconds of thought into what you’re doing. I don’t really care of these publishers use Google+ or not, but if they’re going to judge the platform, let’s be smart about it.

    I get very little referral traffic from Facebook, personally, but whose fault is that? Is it Facebook? OF COURSE NOT! It’s me. It’s the way I use the platform, and it’s the tie I choose *not* to invest there, due to the success I’m seeing on other platforms.

    This is just another disappointing piece from a writer who doesn’t understand the topic.

  • http://www.marriner.com Jared Wilmer

    Yup. Pretty much.

  • http://dannybrown.me/ Danny Brown

    In fairness, it’s not just down to the publisher but also the audience. While I’m not a heavy user of G+, I do try and use it effectively – mixed content, descriptive lead-ins, etc. From my own point of view, G+ still only accounts for 8% of social traffic – waaay beyond Facebook and Twitter, which equates to 34% and 32% respectively. And, I don’t share much of my content on my Facebook profile (I no longer have a Page), so clearly it’s other Facebook users, not me, that are sharing.

    I ran a poll around social network use for my subscribers and found very few cared about G+. So, the audience dictates a lot of the success too.

  • http://dustn.tv/ Dustin W. Stout

    Yes. Is that surprising? The referral traffic I get from Google+ dwarfs the traffic I get from Pinterest and I don’t blame Pinterest– I haven’t spent much time focusing on the platform. Go look at Billboard Magazine’s Google+ page. They’re getting a bit of activity but not engaging their audience. They’re using it like a glorified Twitter account. My following is significantly less than theirs and I get way more traction in reshares which is where the real referral traffic is.

  • http://marketingland.com/ Martin Beck

    Hi Mike. Thanks for your comment. I totally respect where you are coming from. It’s true that I focused the article on larger publishers, which is why I decided not to include data that you graciously provided. It wasn’t because I thought it didn’t fit the narrative.

    I hoped that the counter example of Android Authority would provide sufficient balance and show that some high-volume publishers are getting good results. Perhaps it wasn’t enough.

    As to your argument that established publishers already have strong Facebook and Twitter followings and haven’t worked hard or smart enough on Google+ … well, the fact is those strong FB and Twitter followings came easily for big publishers. And the huge majority of the referral traffic comes from organic sharing of content, not because of anything that publishers post on their social accounts. The scale of the overall audience dwarfs the number of people who follow even the New York Times (7.5M FB likes, 12.2M Twitter followers, 2.3M G+ followers) so I don’t think you can blame publishers for prioritizing the networks that push them more readers.

    That’s likely why Ars Technica has chosen to treat its G+ page as a link dump (which explains why there’s not much engagement on that page). It doesn’t explain why the organic web audience isn’t sharing very many Ars stories on G+ (or they are but few are clicking through) compared to Facebook and Twitter. Ars could do better — and perhaps should try, considering its techy audience would seem to be similar to what we assume Google+ audience is like — but the publishers are going to fish in the obvious fishing holes first.

  • http://profiles.google.com/trappermark Mark Traphagen

    Matt, what Dustin said. Won’t go further as you and I have already debated this on G+.

  • http://profiles.google.com/trappermark Mark Traphagen

    It’s what I said to you on G+ Martin. Google+ requires a different strategy, and not just in the style of how you post. You have to build a strategy that brings your own audience into Google+ and incentivizes them to be active with your there.

    Yes, that’s a lot of work. But the payoff? You gain extraordinary influence into their personalized search results.

  • http://marketingland.com/ Martin Beck

    Very interesting Mark. So you think that strategy works for publishers (at the brand page level) as well as authors?

  • http://searchsimplicity.com/ Gregory Smith

    Interesting question Martin.

  • http://searchsimplicity.com/ Gregory Smith

    I really enjoy Google+ and G+ is by far my favorite Social platform. It also provides the most (by far) referral traffic.

  • http://tradematch.us Rob Gordon

    Ok, once again I read this an learn that people “people suck at using it” if they don’t get referral traffic – never mind the facts stated in this very article. This is so typical – if there is something that doesn’t work for you in Google+ than there must be something wrong with you – perhaps a personality defect. The actual answer is much more basic than that – it is simply not designed for that like say Twitter is. The stream is designed to read on its own – clicking a link takes you away from the “now” to a different place, and most people don’t want to do that. I have a large business network there – we spend a huge amount of time fighting link dumping – especially from the social media experts and Google+ evangelists who have come to dominate the network. It is unfortunate that anyone who thinks a little differently now gets mocked there.

  • http://www.movies-suck.com/ Wastrel Way

    They’ve changed the interface several times, meaning you have to relearn it, and they keep linking it to other things, like Youtube. Click on something and you get a lot of additional content that is unrelated and you don’t care about. They try to predict what you want and fail pretty badly. Of course, I’m not using it to promote myself or my business — I’m interested in science and several other issues, but G+ continually steers me away from the things that interest me to the things I should be spending money on, in their opinion.

  • http://profiles.google.com/trappermark Mark Traphagen

    Absolutely it does. If someone plusses or shares my brand page’s public content, it can get elevated in personalized searches by that person’s G+ following.

  • Matt McGee

    Since you have a product that’s aimed at marketers, and you’re an ex-Googler, this shouldn’t be a surprise, Vanessa. :-)

  • Matt McGee

    Yes, I think that’s exactly it, because the G+ audience is not at all a mainstream group of people.

  • http://www.keylimetoolbox.com/ Vanessa Fox

    I *was* surprised! Seriously, I don’t think I’ve ever posted there before. I didn’t think anyone spent time there for consumption, even marketers. (Current Googlers maybe.)

  • http://profiles.google.com/trappermark Mark Traphagen

    Vanessa, did you do anything to track down who shared about your product on G+. Sounds like an influential user or two recommended it.

  • http://outsourcedmarketingservices.co.uk/ Phil Smith

    Might be controversial but who really cares what traffic (or not) others may receive. It’s relatively easy for anyone to measure the result of their own G+ activity. If it works for you – use it, If not – find another channel.

  • http://phillipmarquez.name/ Phillip Marquez

    Amusingly this article, y’know the one talking about the shortcomings of G+ and it’s lack of shares, currently has FB likes at 80 and Tweets at 293 but 419 +1s.

  • Outtanames999

    Uh not really. On G+ I see more stupid cat pics and idiotic “creative” landscapes that somebody spent hours photoshopping that no one else wants to see than I do on FB. FB and Yahoo are the new AOL which marketers loved because of highly engaged users that skew female (read buy things you find in stores). G+ is the new Compuserve – male dominated and too geeky for words. They buy autos and tech and that’s about it.

  • http://www.ammonjohns.com/ Ammon Johns

    Actually, Matt, yes.

    I can’t tell you how frustrating it is to see so many big brands treating G+ as an afterthought, posting their twitter content to G+ as an afterthought option via software without ever engaging on G+ outside of mis-placed tweets.

    Tweets, especially, *suck* big time on G+

    The posts that do best on G+ are often virtual blog posts.

    I’ll tell you what G+ reminds me most of, in terms of all social media – it reminds me most of quality forums. Short posts that just tell you someone has launched a blog post elsewhere get no love, and no clicks.

    Engaging, thoughtful posts that actually communicate meaning and depth on G+, and *then* reference a link for more, succeed incredibly well.

    But I see hundreds of posts per day that are obviously just re-spun default posts done via software, and the exact same post that they wrote first for a ‘more important’ platform – which becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy.

    Take it from me, who uses all platforms for a huge variety of clients, that no other platform comes close to the engagement of G+ when you take the time to treat G+ as the most important, and make *that* your self-fulfilling prophecy.