Knowing Google+ demographics from 2014 into 2015 can help businesses know the best way to market on the social network…or whether they should market on it at all.
Google+ Demographics and Statistics
Though a plethora of current statistics and numbers exist for most major networks, most Google+ data is somewhat dated, for reasons we’ll get into below.
However, here are some highlights of data from the past year and a half:
- At the end of 2013, Google+ had 300 million monthly active users. Compare that to Facebook’s 864 million daily active users.
- In March of 2014, the average time spent per month on the social network was only 7 minutes, up from 3 minutes in 2012. Compare that to Facebook’s 21 minutes per day per user.
- In early 2014, brand posts on Google+ generated almost as much interaction as Facebook posts: .069% vs. .073%.
- While Twitter and Facebook have a rather stable gender balance, nearly 70% of Google+ users are male. In mid-2013, over 40% of users were single and over 40% were looking for friends.
- According to a SearchMetrics report run in 2013, Google+ shares will outpace Facebook sharing in 2016.
- In 2013, the 45-54 year age group has grown the fastest on Google+ (and Facebook), showing a 56% increase.
- Google+ as a whole grew 33% between 2012 and 2013.
Despite the relative age of some of this data, most of it will probably remain similar well into 2015. The user base, naturally, will expand, but how much will the demographics shift?
The Rocky Road to Fame
Yes, Google+ has a huge base of users, but there are a few good reasons that can help explain the social network’s imbalanced demographics and meager time share when compared to the undisputed giant, Facebook.
Google+ social network has been touted by many magazines and news blogs as a must-have. Google+ is huge, it is run by the most powerful tech company in the world, you can integrate and use other Google services, and so on and so forth. Famous business people, such as Guy Kawasaki, for instance, have drawn a great deal of attention to the network.
Despite all the fanfare, however, some in the blogosphere pointed out that Google+ is heavily favored by internet marketers because Google coerced them into endorsing it.
Google authorship, for instance, clearly gave prominence in search results to those with Google+ accounts, which spawned some controversy when it was first implemented.
And when Google integrated Google+ with YouTube comments, plenty of people got angry.
These facts suggest that Google+ has had a slightly challenging road in the past, and the search engine has resorted to some potentially questionable tactics in order to gain market share for its social network. It is probably these tactics, such as the authorship strategy, that explains why Google+ consists of so many well-educated, tech-savvy males.
So what does this imply for the future of the network?
Using Google+ for Advertising, Marketing, and Lead Generation
There are some clear implications from this data:
- Google+ is only useful for a certain type of audience – If you are marketing to the above-mentioned demographics, then Google+ may be a good option. There are also certain niches that thrive in the Google+ communities section, such as photographers and writers, but your marketing department will have to do some research to find out if you will reach enough people.
- The network will have to do something drastic to alter its current situation – The so-called “coercive” tactics used by Google to build its user base may explain some of the imbalance we can see above. Going from 2014 into 2015 and beyond, the search giant will need to take some extra measures if it wants to compete with the likes of Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat, and other social networks.
- Despite the large number of users registered on Google+, it still commands a tiny fraction of social network time per month – It is very important to look past the number of registered users on a social network, since that doesn’t give the whole picture. When you add other data, such as the average amount of time spent on the site per month by those users, the picture becomes a little clearer. While Facebook users average 21 minutes per day, Google+ users average 6 minutes per month (according to the above study)…that is, 12 seconds per day.
So should you use Google+ for your business? We can’t answer that question for you, but it pays to look at the usage data and the demographics.
Also, examine the social network’s public image and its advertising and marketing campaigns. As we move from 2014 into 2015, does Google appear to be tackling its challenges and ramping up to compete with other social networks? With the above data in hand, a little bit of marketing research should give your business the big picture.