After a much-hyped private beta launch that’s now reached 170 million users, where does Google+ fit into the social networking landscape? To be honest, Google+ is still miles away from reaching Facebook’s 850 million users base and Twitter’s 500 million, but it appears to be comfortably ahead of LinkedIn’s 150 million. And so, the question arises: Is this unprecedented growth of Google+ likely to threaten LinkedIn?
Google+ is still relatively young in comparison to other social networking giants, but it’s already becoming a significant traffic source for various companies. Even the company’s management was surprised of the Google+’s growth as Vic Gundotra, Senior VP in charge of social initiatives, commented “The growth of Google+ has surpassed any estimates the company had. Despite the milestone achieved, the thing to ponder over is whether the Google’s social network website will be able to continue with the trend of growing customers. “
Let’s recap the figures that Google has diligently reported since Google+ began:
- July 2011: 10 million
- October 2011: 40 million (30 million gain, 10 million per month)
- January 2012: 90 million (50 million gain, 16.7 million per month)
- April 2012: 170 million (80 million gain, 26.7 million per month)
When the “40 million” figure came out last year, many people started wondering how exactly someone was canted as a Google+ user. As it turned out, anyone who had created a Google+ account got counted, whether they were actively using that account or not. But what is the active user figure for Google+? That’s not something Google’s giving out, right now.
A report by ComScore, in March 2012, Google+ had more than 23 million active users as compared to Facebook’s 158.9 million, Twitter’s 40.3 million and LinkedIn’s 37.4 million active users. The report highlighted that Google+ was in line with Tumblr’s 21.8 million and Pinterest’s 18.7 million.
On the other hand, another report by Experian Hitwise claimed that Google+ is well behind other in terms of visits in March 2012. Facebook, as usual, had 7 billion hits, Twitter had 182 million, Pinterest had 104 million, LinkedIn had 86 million, and Tagged had 72 million while Google+ had only 61 million hits.
So the definition of “active” users has been blurry from Google+. However, a company representative told The New York Times earlier this month that 50 million users access “Google+-enhanced” products daily and that 100 million do so once per month. It should be noted that “Google+-enhanced” includes YouTube, Google Play and the company’s homepage.
Despite of the total numbers surpassed, Google+ still has a lot to do to retain its user base. For this matter, do you think Google+ will exceed LinkedIn in retaining Active Users?