Dear Larry Page, Please Save Google+ !!!

By Megalytic Staff - October 16, 2014

Google+ has become an awesome little social network that just might need saving.
Journalists love to hate on Google+. The TechCrunch article Google+ Is Walking Dead made a big splash in April. Then there was ZDNet’s article at the end of June: Google Plus: three years old and still failing as a social network. And, most recently, there has been speculation in Forbes that the end of Google Authorship means that Google+ is next on the chopping block.
Google+ might be killed off? Say it isn’t so Forbes! Google+ is a great place to build community and drive engaged traffic to our websites. As digital marketers, social media managers, community builders, and small business owners, we need Larry Page to Save Google+ !!! But will he?


Google+ Traffic is Valuable

Having read the constant stream of press negativity about Google+, I was surprised how well the social network did in our October Website Engagement Survey.

Website traffic referred from Google+ is significantly higher quality than the traffic from Facebook or Twitter. It beats those networks hands down on measures of Bounce Rate, Pageviews / Session, and Avg Session Duration.

  • Bounce Rate: Google+ 49% vs Facebook 59% and Twitter 64%
  • Pageviews / Session: Google+ 2.86 vs Facebook 2.25 and Twitter 2.05
  • Avg Session Duration: Google+ 2 min 58 sec vs Facebook 1 min 57 sec and Twitter 1 min 39 sec

However, it’s true that Google+ is a lot smaller than Facebook or Twitter. Shareaholic’s study showed Google+ with only an 0.08% share of social media referral traffic vs Facebook at 21.25% and Twitter at 1.14%.

But, if you are a social media marketer or community builder, do you care that Google+ is tiny compared with Facebook? Not really. What you care about is whether or not you can effectively engage with customers and prospects on Google+.

The numbers show that Google+ users are more engaged than website visitors from other social networks.

In addition, there’s plenty of anecdotal evidence indicating that Google+ is a great source of engaged visitors. I recently attended the eMetrics conference in Boston and started casually asking people I met, “Which social network sends your website the best traffic?” The most common answer was “Google+”. Usually, they would also tell me that they got a lot more visits from Facebook, but that the quality of traffic from Google+ was better.

If you read the blog posts, and particularly the comments, relating to social media marketing, you’ll notice a lot of positive statements like this one, posted on Yoast’s Blog.

comment screenshot from Yoast blog about Google+

Is Google+ Too Small for Google to be Bothered?

So, it looks like Google+ is a small, high-quality, social network. Does that mean we should be worried? Does Google tolerate anything small?

Google killed off Google Reader, apparently because – even though it was really popular with a core group of fans - Google operates at vast scale, and a niche consumer product like Reader just doesn’t move the needle.

So, yes, it does seem like there is reason to worry about the future of Google+. But, not because it is a failure. Like Google Reader, it may just not be big enough for Google to care about.

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