OCT. 29, 2013 • Since May the number of monthly active users (MAU) on the Google+ social network has grown 58% from 190 million to 300 million. The increase was announced at a Google event held in San Francisco. That puts Google+ squarely behind Facebook’s 1.15 billion MAU, and ahead of Twitter’s 230 million.
Impact: At first glance it would appear that many more people are interacting with each other via their Google+ social pages. That would be an easy assumption to make since most people’s guidepost for social networks is Facebook. The reality is that so many Google services are tied into Google+ that the nature of an active user on the platform is often different than on Facebook. Already Calendar, Drive Gmail, Picasa and Search are integrated into Google+ in some fashion. One example of how this is manifested is Google Local. Any business listed there will automatically have a functioning brand page created for them on Google+ that can be claimed later. Businesses that do take possession of their pages on Google+ find incentives to have customers and employees add the business page to their personal Circle: namely higher Search page rankings. Similarly, soon Google will force users who want to make comments on YouTube to have active Google+ accounts. So what it means to be actively social on Google+ is a bit different than what is commonly associated with Facebook. Therefore we suspect this 58% growth in MAU is to a large extent being driven by integration with Google services. Another data point released by Google bears this out. The number of Google+ users who have interacted socially with Google services is now 540 million, up 135% from 230 million in May. Obviously these are active users, yet the case can be made that how many of them are interacting with Google+ is moderately social instead of actively social. That is an important distinction to consider for content creators considering Google+ as a distribution partner.