Google+ Slowdown Shows No Reason for Panic

By Clint Boulton  |  Posted 2011-07-28 Print this article Print

Google+ use is slowing! Google+ use is slowing! Those sentences must be uttered with the Chicken Little cadence and timbre of "The sky is falling."

Seriously though, Google+ was bound to slow down. It took off like a rocket, hitting more than 20 million users in three weeks, said comScore. Gut check time: Facebook took more than three years to hit 50 million users.

Experian HitWise, which first calculated explosive growth in Google+ stats last week, has done another calculation of traffic through July 23 and found:

  • Google+ received more than 1.79M total visits last week compared to 1.86M total visits the previous week, a 3% dip.
  • The average time spent on the site was down from 5 minutes and 50 seconds to 5 minutes and 15 seconds. Ouch
  • Among the top 50 upstream sites, 59% of upstream traffic to Google+ last week came from other Google properties. accounted for 37% of upstream traffic to the site. Gmail accounted for 15.59%, a 9% increase from previous week.
  • 40% of Upstream traffic to Google+ last week came from search engines (8% increase).
  • 59% of visits to Google+ are from males, that is a 4% increase from previous week. This is not good; a sausage fest can only be social for so long

Uh oh! A 3 percent decrease? Let's start dooming the product now. Seriously though, if a 3 percent decrease is all Google has to worry about about I'm sure Google+ leaders Vic Gundotra and Bradley Horowitz will still sleep well at night.

I'd be more concerned about the 10 percent decrease in users' time engagement. That should go up as more people take part in Circles, Hangouts, etc.

Mind you, the service is still in its limited field test. As a result, not everyone can access it, which means exposure is somewhat limited to Googlers, friends of Googlers, journalists and techies or techie journalists and those who they all invite to join.

You could wax devil's advocate and say Google Wave opened broadly and it never gained traction beyond early adopters and you'd be right. But Wave was a whole lot of weird and forward looking.

Google+ is Facebook with a more flexible privacy construct and the cachet of the Google brand. Some celebrities have joined. People think it's cool. It's not Wave.

What will be interesting to see is what happens when Google opens it to business brands, which clearly want to market themselves there, and then to the whole world.

Anecdotally, referral traffic to Websites from Google+ is good, according to Jason Calacanis.

Search Engine Land's Danny Sullivan just wrote a post on how the fact that he follows Ford on + boosted its search rankings:

I am connected to Ford through Google Plus. Ford is one of the very few brands that Google has allowed to maintain a brand page on the new Google social network. That connection is allowing Ford to rank better in my search results.

This is an extension of Google's Social Search construct. So what does that mean for businesses? Any Web-savvy businesses/personal brands will seize on that opportunity to follow as many users as possible in the hope of getting a reciprocal follow.

That will build up their social currency and by extension their place in the Google search landscape.

Yeah. No worries about Google+ here yet. Ask me again when/if traffic continues to decline. For more 411 on Google+, see Greg Finn's post on SEL. |

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