How Big is Google+?
I’m not convinced, based on anecdotal evidence but nothing more, by stories like these that Google+ is gaining on Facebook and overtaking twitter:
- Google Plus Becomes World’s No. 2 Social Network After Facebook, Knocking Off Twitter
- Is Google+ More Popular Than Twitter? And Other Hot Topics | Constant Contact Blogs
- Is Google+ Really More Popular Than Twitter? The Data Seems To Say So, But… [STUDY] – AllTwitter
- Social sharing on Google+ to overtake Facebook by 2016 predicts new study
- Google+ continues to dominate LinkedIn & Twitter, could catch up to Facebook | VentureBeat
- Google Plus Is Outpacing Twitter – Business Insider
But how to measure it? It’s not easy.
One way, I figured, was to look at the most popular pages/profiles on the three services and compare them. This wouldn’t be perfect, but I thought would be as good an indicator as any at how mainstream Google+ had gotten, both in terms of followers of the main kinds of people, things and products popular on other services, but also indicative of how those brands/people felt about Google+. It might also reveal whether Google+ is attracting a different kind of person/product/brand/interest.
Of course, it also doesn’t say a lot of things, Maybe the tail is a different shape on Google+. Maybe the layout of Google+ doesn’t so easily lend itself to following/liking/adding to circling/+ing pages. But it kind of does: in fact, Google+ is baked into so much other Google stuff these days that it’s hard not to like, as it were, pages, comments, stuff. I’d argue that it’s easier to do that.
So I went ahead, selecting the top 20 pages on each according to SocialBakers. Most were celebrities, of course, and most overlapped — meaning they featured on more than one service. If they only featured on one, I dumped them (eg ‘Facebook for every phone’ is massive, 274 million Likes, but not really relevant to this exercise.)
My conclusion in short: Google+ is way behind both Facebook and Twitter. No way is it getting close, at least based on this metric. (And only this metric, so far.)
My longer conclusion:
- of the 48 profiles measured, only 8 were more popular on Google+ than on Facebook.
- of the 48 profiles measured, only 9 were more popular on Google+ than on Twitter.
- These includes photographer Thomas Hawk, Google’s Vic Gundotra and Larry Page, Richard Branson and, Hugh Jackson. A motley group.
- Most mainstream celebs had way more followers on Twitter than Google+:
- Britney Spears (4x)
- Bruno Mars (9x)
- Cristiano Ronaldo (7x)
- Justin Timberlake (34x)
- Most mainstream celebs had way more followers on Facebook than Google+:
- Barack Obama (12x)
- Beyonce (1,774x)
- Britney Spears (4x)
- Bruno Mars (20x)
- Cristiano Ronaldo (22)
- Kim Kardashian (7x)
- Lady Gaga (8x)
- Usher (8x)
- Quite a few celebrities don’t seem to have bothered with Google+ at all, as far as I can see.
- Jennifer Lopez
- Justin Bieber
- Katy Perry
- Linkin Park
- Nicki Minaj
- Even those who score big on Google+ score bigger on other services. Here’s Google+’s Top 4 :
- Lady Gaga – 8x as many fans on Facebook, 5x on Twitter
- Britney Spears – 4x on Facebook and Twitter
- David Beckham – 5x on Facebook, but negligible on Twitter (unless you count his wife)
- Snoop Dogg – 5x on Facebook, 2x on Twitter
- Facebook: 1.6 billion
- Twitter: 612 million
- Google+: 130 million
This is just a personal project, and not affiliated with my employer. I’d welcome thoughts and insights which help hone this approach, or ditch it in favour of a better one.