With its users only spending an average of three minutes per month on the site, Google+ is a “virtual ghost town” compared to Facebook and other social networking sites. That’s how the Wall Street Journal characterizes Google’s social network while reporting new usage stats from comScore.
According to comScore, Google+ users averaged only three minutes on the site during January, a pittance compared to Facebook’s average of 405 minutes per visitor. Tumblr and Pinterest both saw 89 minutes per user on average, while LinkedIn clocked in at 17 minutes per user and Twitter at 21 minutes. The breakdown:
- Facebook: 405 minutes
- Pinterest/Tumblr: 89 minutes
- Twitter: 21 minutes
- LinkedIn: 17
- MySpace: 8
- Google+: 3
ComScore’s data covers desktop activity only, not mobile — an area where both Facebook and Twitter are said to have significant activity. The Twitter number only accounts for Twitter.com usage, ignoring usage via clients like Tweetdeck, the official Twitter client and many others.
Time-on-site is undoubtedly a better metric to use than pure user counts when comparing social networks. During Google’s latest earnings call, CEO Larry Page said Google+ has 90 million users, which would be about 10 percent of Facebook’s active userbase. But Google won’t talk about how many “active” users are on Google+, and recently changed its account creation process so that all new users have Google+ accounts by default.
There have been some positive reports recently about Google+ usage, but it seems there are an equal number of unflattering reports. Even some Google+ users — both individuals and brands — that are seeing big gains in followers/circlers are doubting the quality of those followers.
In its defense, Google’s Bradley Horowitz tells the WSJ that Google+ isn’t just a destination site like other social networks — its features are increasingly being baked in across Google products and services.
Mr. Horowitz declined to share data about how much time people spend on Google+ but said “we’re growing by every metric we care about.” A Google spokeswoman said comScore’s data is “dramatically lower” than Google’s internal data.
And one important aspect that the WSJ didn’t address is the relationship between Google+ and search. With the launch of Search Plus Your World last month, Google is showing more Google+ content than ever in its main search results.
One brand manager whose organization is active on Google+ — along with Facebook, Twitter and other social networks — recently told me that, for his organization, Google+ is all about SEO. For many, that’s reason enough to be active on Google+, even if actual usage lags far behind other social networks.
Related Topics: Channel: Strategy | Facebook: Statistics | Features & Analysis | Google: Google+ | Social Media Marketing | Statistics: Popularity & Usage | Statistics: Social Media | Top News | Twitter: Statistics