Google+ Drives A Fraction Of The Referral Traffic That Facebook, Pinterest & Twitter Do [Report]

google-plus-logo-tiltGoogle+ is driving a fraction of the referral traffic to publisher sites that Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest and other social media sites are.

That’s the main takeaway from an annual report released today by Shareaholic, makers of social sharing buttons and widgets that the company says are used by 200,000 publishers. The report covers September 2012 — when Shareaholic last published network sharing data — through September 2013.

According to Shareaholic, Google+ has consistently driven less than one-tenth of one percent (> 0.1%) of all referral traffic to its publishers over the past year. LinkedIn hasn’t driven much more traffic than Google+; it’s been higher than Google+ over the past year, but is also less than a tenth of a percent of overall referrals.

The top three referring sites over the past year on Shareaholic’s network were Facebook, Pinterest and Twitter (in that order). Facebook’s 13-month average was 8.11 percent of all referrals, while Pinterest’s was 3.24 percent and Twitter’s was 1.17 percent — all substantially more than Google+’s average of 0.06 percent.


Shareaholic also says that Google+ is growing the slowest as a referral source at just 6.97 percent over the past year. Referrals from Facebook (58.81 percent), Pinterest (66.52 percent), Twitter (54.12 percent) and YouTube (52.86 percent) all grew more than 50 percent since September 2012.

Is Google+ Just Not A Place For Content Sharing?

Statistics suggest that Google+ usage continues to grow, but critics point out that those numbers are “goosed” to some degree because Google has integrated Google+ features across its properties and activity on other properties can count as being “active” on Google+, too. Last month, Google UK’s head of agency sales promised that the next set of Google+ usage numbers would “blow your mind” — but those numbers haven’t been released yet.

The Shareaholic data is reminiscent of a similar report from Gigya this summer, which said that Google+ is responsible for only two percent of social sharing. That report used data from Q2 of this year.

There was recent SearchMetrics study that suggested Google+ sharing will overtake Facebook by 2016, but the survey was flawed. It compared two different things: +1 clicks on Google+ against “shares” on Facebook. A better comparison would be Facebook “likes” to +1 clicks, or Facebook “shares” and Google+ shares/posts.

Related Topics: Channel: Social Media Marketing | Facebook: Statistics | Features & Analysis | Google | Google: Google+ | Social Media Marketing | Statistics: Popularity & Usage | Statistics: Social Media | Top News | Twitter: Statistics


About The Author: is Editor-In-Chief of Marketing Land. His news career includes time spent in TV, radio, and print journalism. His web career continues to include a small number of SEO and social media consulting clients, as well as regular speaking engagements at marketing events around the U.S. He recently launched a site dedicated to Google Glass called Glass Almanac and also blogs at Small Business Search Marketing. Matt can be found on Twitter at @MattMcGee and/or on Google Plus. You can read Matt's disclosures on his personal blog.

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  • Clay

    Not incredibly surprising. There’s less user interaction, and way more people spam posts with Hashtags, so things get cluttered incredibly fast.

    Unless you have a stable brand or have built a following over time, I can’t imagine there’s going to be that much movement if any with G+.

  • Sam Mazaheri

    I have a strong urge to share this article on my G+

  • @CliqueKaila

    How much of this data is not captured because the referral came from Google SERPs although the original message was posted on Google +? I click on a lot of results that are status updates in a SERP because I’m logged in to G+. Curious to know if that data was taken into consideration in this study.

  • Matt McGee

    Go for it. But it won’t go anywhere. The articles that do well on G+ are ones that praise G+. :-)

  • Colin

    Major flaw: this will not include click-throughs from Google search that are attributable to a +1.

  • Igor Mateski

    Interesting stats. But nothing strange. I use G+ only for the sake of authorship, and that based more on a gut feeling that in time, G+ authorship will gain more weight. G+ is not the first social attempt Google made, and very few of us remember those failed attempts. I would not be surprised if Google rolls out other updates after Hummingbird that leverage G+ activity and authorship. But… time will tell.

  • dilharo

    Trust Google,

    they dont even name their social media yet….they are calling it “Google”+ you

    in the future they remove the + brand

    and simply say “share on Google”

  • Ittiam

    I am active on G+ and its charm is exactly that it is not used by many. None of my friends are active on G+. But its a great place to make new friends across the globe, which makes it a very niche network.

    In my entire family, I am the only one who wants to connect with random people. Rest all are happy to connect with their known friends and relatives, for which FB is good enough

  • mohan

    sharing is instantaneous & it has lot to do with “top of mind” recollection & G+ is probabaly at the bottom now :P

  • Michelle Stinson Ross

    Actually, I came here from a G+ share (oddly enough) and shared it myself across all of my accounts :)

    But I’m an uber geek and don’t conform to any norms

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