Why You Suddenly Lost All Those Google+ Followers

On March 25, many Google+ brand accounts noticed a big dip in followers displayed on profile pages. In fact, Marketing Land decreased by 20%, even Search Engine Land decreased by 40%.

Initially some have thought that this was a “spring cleaning” of spammy Google+ accounts following profiles pages; however, it’s really pulling out the followers from a combined follower and +1 number. Google+ brand pages, until recently, didn’t show a true follower count, and Google+ badges still don’t.

Circle-Count-Drop-In-Followers-March-25

Average growth of number of followers as tracked by Circle Count. Circle Count tracks the number of circles in which a Google+ profile is included, representing the number of persons who are following a user’s posts at Google+.

What’s Changed In Google+ Profiles

Before, the Google+ number displayed prominently on brand pages was more of a “social score” of that profile or page that aggregated +1, followers, and in-circle numbers, which gauged an overall interest and as well as activity of a profile. (Thanks to Mark Traphagen for sharing this image of Red Bull’s Google+ profile before the change.)

Red-Bull-Google+-Profile

Now, what Google has done, is pull out all of the followers from that number, and highlighted views separately, which is new, as we reported a few weeks ago.

Marketing-Land-Google+-New-Header

Google+ Follower Counts Still Confusing

Of course, this can be confusing, it has been since the beginning. Until now, that number did not reflect a clear distinction between following a brand, or +1′s of a brand’s page when visiting a brand page.  Meanwhile, the call-to-action button on brand pages are to “follow”  the brand.  Search results that delivered a knowledge box also delivered a “follower” number.  And if you’ve looked at your dashboard as a Google+ page admin, that number you see is a “follower” number, it’s been that way for over a year.

Marketing-Land-Google+-Dashboard-Followers

Google+ Badges Keep Blending Followers And +1s

It’s important to note here that the social badges used on sites are still using the old metric of combining followers and +1s. For example, Mashable’s Google+ page indicates it has 3,045,999 followers, yet the badge on the site show it has 4.2 million:

Mashable-Google+-Follower-Numbers

Working Toward Simplified Google+ Follower Counts

Of course simplifying the metric to reflect  just followers makes more sense. It is consistent with other social platforms, and it is a better representation of your reach. Google+ users can now follow a brand and +1 and / or share the content, eliminating that extra step of also +1 the brand. It would still nice to be able to see views for specific content, and segment views as well as follower growth by date range. But at least it’s a step in the right direction.

Related Topics: Channel: Social Media Marketing | Google: Google +1 | Google: Google+ | Top News

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About The Author: Monica Wright serves as Director of Audience Engagement for SearchEngineLand.com and MarketingLand.com, two of the leading trade publications for the digital marketing industry. With over 15 years of experience in online publishing, content marketing and audience development for media companies, she is focused on content consumption and measuring user engagement on both sites across multiple platforms including desktop, mobile, social and email. In addition, she serves as a program coordinator for the SMX conference series, produced by parent company Third Door Media, publisher of Marketing Land and Search Engine Land. You can find Monica on Twitter, LinkedIn and Google+.

Connect with the author via: Email | Twitter | Google+ | LinkedIn



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  • http://docsheldon.com/ Doc Sheldon

    ahah! Thanks for clearing that up, Monica! It definitely was causing a little chatter.

  • http://metzmiranda.wordpress.com/ Metz

    Being inactive or not updating your Google+ account is the first things
    that popped up in my mind while reading the title of your post. It was proven
    and tested that your numbers of followers won’t swell. It’s like you are making
    yourself look dead in the world of alive Google+ users.

    I left this comment on kingged.com, the content curation website and blogging community.

  • http://www.bunnaya.com/ Bunnaya Motivate

    Yup it is really confusing, i already send an email to G plus. Haven’t notice any answer yet. Thanks for the article

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