Google+ Emerging With Relevant Buzz
Google+ Emerging With Relevant Buzz
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How many of you have written off Google+ as a viable social network? I’ll admit, while I do enjoy a lot about the platform, each time I log in, I think to myself, “Well, this is great if all you want to see are posts about Google+ and SEO from other internet marketing folks.” It just seems like there’s little usage outside of the web marketing world.

Despite that, there’s an increasing thirst for knowledge about Google+ coming from business owners. Many have heard — correctly — that Google takes social signals from its own social network into high consideration when ranking a search engine page. Make your content more share-worthy on Google+ and you have a better chance of gaining organic search benefits from doing so. Maybe it’s because the tipping point for the network to move beyond just the tech circle is beginning to happen. But for whatever reason, I keep hearing more and more questions and curiosity about the nascent network.

This week, the GlobalWebIndex’s quarterly report of social network usage shed some light on another reason we all may have more reason to spend time on Google+. It turns out that while Google+ is still lagging behind Facebook, Twitter, YouTube and even Pinterest in terms of active usage in North America, it is holding its own with Facebook, Twitter and YouTube in the Middle East and Africa, Latin America and the Asia Pacific regions.

Global Social Network Use

Source: GlobalWebIndexQ2 2013, Question:Which of the following services have you used  or contributed to in the past month?; Base% of global internet users

Google+ is making a stab at marketshare internationally.

Certainly, for small businesses, this is rather irrelevant. But for medium and large, particularly those with audiences overseas, it brings to the forefront a legitimate reason to pay closer attention to Google+ and what its use can do for your marketing efforts.

Further, GlobalWebIndex reports that social networkers in developing nations are more likely to be on Google+ than other networks. There’s something to having that big, global and significantly older brand behind your efforts, apparently.

A cursory read of some of the detail in GlobalWebIndex’s report shows that Google+’s appealing interface on tablet and mobile devices is driving increased activities for social networkers like one-to-one messaging, watching video clips and sharing photos.

Honestly, if you can find a circle of friends (pun or not) with which to share information, or can develop an active audience with which to communicate on Google+, the functionality is quite compelling compared to other networks. Google+ is a nice confluence of what’s good about Twitter (short messaging, either private or public), Facebook (compelling photo and video sharing) and LinkedIn (the network is more intuitively setup for professional connections rather than personal ones) with some added bonuses like Google Hangouts.

For a business, though, it’s all about finding the audience there. Unless yours is the tech market in the U.S., you’re probably not going to want to prioritize Google+. But if you see opportunity abroad, it might be time to break out the circles.

More from the GlobalWebIndex can be found on its website.

About the Author

Jason Falls
Jason Falls is the founder of Social Media Explorer and one of the most notable and outspoken voices in the social media marketing industry. He is a noted marketing keynote speaker, author of two books and unapologetic bourbon aficionado. He can also be found at JasonFalls.com.
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  • Holly McIlwain

    “For a business it’s all about finding the audience there. Unless yours is the tech market in the U.S., you’re probably not going to want to prioritize Google+.” Thank you so much for this informative bottom line on the current state of Google+. Small business owners wear several hats and are normally stretched pretty thin if they are making a profit, so knowing exactly where to concentrate effort is vital to success. Thanks Y’all.

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  • The main problem with G+ is that it doesn’t solve a unique problem except that it is a place to go if you hate facebook or are focused on Google SEO. I think it will remain niche until it finds a way to be “cool” to the masses.

  • Hey Jason — I had a very strong reaction to your statement:

    “Well, this is great if all you want to see are posts about Google+ and SEO from other internet marketing folks.” It just seems like there’s little usage outside of the web marketing world.

    I have added G+ to my client’s postings mainly for the SEO benefits, but there are WAY more engaged communities on G+ than you seem to be finding. The food, photography, music and parenting world is fully present on G+. I know of people who have done tests and find their engagement is much better on G+ than on Facebook. I have someone in mind I can send here so she can present her findings which are pretty impressive. I really like G+ for so many tech and social reasons. I would much rather spend time on G+ than on FB.

    Sounds like the only people you’ve Circled are tech people. I’d be happy to Share my Photography Circle or my Foodies Circle or any of my niche Circles with you.

    • That’s awesome, Phyllis! And great to hear. Certainly, there’s a bit of generalization to the overview. Pockets of communities can certainly be found. But there’s still a certain “so what’s the big deal?” reaction by many to G+. But feel free to drop links to groups, etc., that are relevant. We’d love to find them!

    • I completely agree with Phyllis. Communities are where it’s at. They’re a great way to filter through all of the noise on G+ and get to where your audience is, whether you’re a business or individual. They haven’t really paid off for me in social marketing insofar as driving business. But for my service industry clients (hotels, restaurants, bars, dive shops) they have yielded some very positive results.

      A lot of that has to do with G+’s way of handling/displaying images and limited text formatting on posts. Phyllis mentioned photographers and foodies. They always have wonderful images that grab your attention. And G+ does a great job at making those images pop with text that pops too. The engagement follows naturally. Social media and tech? Kinda boring.

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  • Dave Link

    The sole reason I’ve ever advocated for a business taking up a G+ presence is search. With Google taking it’s own social signals as a high priority in search results it’s only prudent – for businesses with a web presence – to at least publish their strong content to G+ so that it gains the boost associated with that platform. Much like you, unless you’re in the tech/marketing world I just don’t see the conversation happening in the feed on G+ the same as I do on Twitter/Facebook. However, I really almost hope I’m proved wrong as the platform continues to evolve. Any place to get exposure to a new or broader audience is a win in my book.

    • I think it will be an evolution, Dave. G+ may be full of the SEO types for now, at least here in the states, but the 25%+ penetration in other markets shows there’s more there than gamification of the SERPs. I like the functionality. My only hiccup has been allowing for third party management solutions. Seems that would be an easy thing to allow, but they never have.

  • Hey, Jason. Your post kind of confirms what I’m seeing with a couple of my clients here in Costa Rica. They’re small businesses – a hotel and a dive shop. 90% of their clients are from North America and many are going to G+ to find out more about Latin America. We’re finding that G+ Communities are really paying off with growing their circles and getting people to their websites to fill out the reservation forms – which is what it’s all about. With one of those clients, 28% of the people who submitted web inquiries found out about them through social media. Of those, about 1 in 5 were Google+. Facebook and TripAdvisor still rule. But we can no longer ignore Google+. Facebook is about connecting with old friends. G+ is about connecting with new ones. I am hopeful the trend continues. Thanks.

    • Great perspective, Mike. Good to have some international confirmation. I always forget you’re from beyond the borders — or at least work beyond them. Thanks for swinging by!

  • I think that this study doesn’t go quite far enough to actually be useful. I am a member of several communities on G+ with international memberships. But all anyone is doing – no matter what their geographic location – is dumping links. I don’t think this is an actual indication of engagement. Do you agree? Or am I being cynical. Like you say in your first paragraph, I keep TRYING to like G+ but I’m not getting much out of it.

    • Well, Prudence, I’d disagree a bit. Sure, I can be cynical, too, but when you see 25% or more market penetration, you’re not looking at just spammers and hackers. That’s real numbers, even discounting bots and the like. While I do agree it’s hard to get much out of it beyond the SEO/Internet marketing types in the States, there’s a pulse elsewhere and that bodes well for the future. The toolset is good. The access to it and the personal vs. professional nature of the network has held it back, in my opinion.

  • emarketing .

    Nice article Jason. I liked reading your blog and find it interesting. Thanks!