What ComScore Data Tells Us About Google+

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comScore released a report on Friday examining the demographics of the first 20 million people to join Google+. Some of the statistics were not surprising. American users tend to be from technology centric cities, and the overall user base is 2/3 male with a particularly strong age group of 25-34 years old. What was surprising was the international flavor of Google+.

Only 5 million of the 20 million are U.S. based. If you add the 800,000 thousand Canadiens, only approximately 30% of Google+ users are in North America. With strong showings in Europe, India, Brazil and Taiwan, Google+ is clearly an international phenomena.

The international flavor demonstrates the discussion about social media uberinfluencers dominating Google+ is a myth. Almost all of these influencers have less than 50,000 followers, and a great majority have less than 10,000. While perceived to be dominant in this corner of the blogosphere, they represent just one small part of the Google+ community. Even in the North American part of the network, their followings are well under one percent of the community.

Additionally, most people on Google+ believe that Facebook is the big loser in the network’s success. But if you look at the numbers, with 5 million Americans, Google+ has a long way to go to beat out the 50% penetration Facebook has in the U.S. population (more than 150 million). Even at its current growth rate, which is likely not sustainable, it would take Google+ the better part of a year to seriously rival Facebook’s reach.

comScore’s analysis shows a very strong networked effect occurring on Google+, which is indicative that it will succeed in achieving major social network status. However, as the report suggests, the network has to break out of the early adopter
community and into the general population. The next big test will occur as Google+ opens the network to the general public at the end of the month.

Update on Google+ for Business

Reports indicate that Google+ will launch its formal business offering towards the end of the third quarter (mid to late September). The company plans to continue policing businesses that set up branded profiles via personal accounts until then. Per the advisory, published here and on Danny Brown’s blog, businesses should experiment informally.

11 thoughts on “What ComScore Data Tells Us About Google+

  1. Interesting stats – though I think the Facebook versus Google+ comparison (as far as timescale and growth goes) is maybe a wee bitty unfair. Facebook has had 7 years to get to where they are now. Google+ has had maybe 7 weeks? I think the litmus test will be when it opens its doors to the general public, and we see what kind of uptake it has outside the nerd bubble. 

    • For sure.  Google’s rate of growth is far exceeding anything we have seen yet so comparisons aren’t really fare.However, it is inevitable that the two are compared, and as you and I both know, this larger group (for better or for worse) we’re in tends to think in a bubble. As a marketer I love to look at the data.

      The big test comes in August and September, of course. I got my Dad on and he saw nothing of interest…

      • Geoff, here’s how I see it. Google+ is neat, but I’ve been building a network of friends on Facebook for 5 years now. This is the kind of stuff that is hard to transfer over, not to mention, for many, there is no desire to transfer over. There are people that resisted Facebook for a long time but are there now, all settled in an happy.

        Maybe it’s because I’m used to it, I like Facebook. I find it easier to use and follow than Google+. Like your dad, I’m underwhelmed. Unlike you dad (I’m guessing), I’ve studied social media and communities of practice in-depth (academically even) and I see nothing new that Google+ is bringing to the table other than the Google+ branding. 

        I’m not saying it’s going to be a flop. I just don’t see it being an uber success. For the moment, it’s going to be a strictly professional place for me where I cross-post what I put on my Facebook Author Page & Twitter, while I keep Facebook more personal. I’ll see in time what happens with it.

  2. I think Google will need more works before push Facebook. But this will be a nice move of Google. If they maintain the velocity, they will be the biggest social network.

  3. Good article Geoff.  With the international demographics, we are anxious for the business offering.  Facebook and Google competition conversations will continue, but the reality is Google+ is and will be another important tactic in overall social communications strategy.  How those numbers break down into individual personal and professional networks will be the key for us all.

  4. I keep pulling for Google to keep the network closed to Brands and instead serve highly targeted digital ads. They could create an Ad Words for G+ with brands bidding for the best placements. I myself think I am going to leave Brands off my network. I really don’t need to interact with them via social. While I have fanned many pages on Facebook most were pre-Brands taking over the pages when consumers just created pages for fun. I talk to only 1 brand on Facebook. And very few on twitter. I would say 99.9% of my social network communication is with people directly and I don’t see that changing.

    But this is great stuff Geoff as always!

  5. Until I read this post I was unconvinced about Google + being the hangout of anyone other than early adopters and ‘uberinfluencers’.

    I have to say I’m surprised about Facebook being seen as the main site under threat here, as so much commentary seems to focus on Twitter being the most directly comparable to Google +, particularly in terms of the people on there.

    It’s interesting to get this data early on, and I look forward to seeing how it changes throughout the crucial next few months.

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