Google+ 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.
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