December 21, 2014

Google+ Less Popular With Brands Than Facebook, Report Claims

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Have you updated your company’s Google+ page today? How about in the last week? Or month? … Year?

Maybe your company doesn’t even have a Google+ page yet, and if that’s the case or you’ve been abandoning that page in favor of other social media networks, you’re not alone. According to a Reuters report, Google+ continues to generate less interest from brands than other social networks including rival Facebook.

In an informal survey, Reuters found that of the 100 most valuable global brands in 2012, only 72 have a presence on Google+ compared to 87 on Facebook.

Of the brands that have established a presence on Google+, 40 percent have either never posted content on Google+ or do so infrequently, Reuters found.

For example, Nike and Pepsi hadn’t updated their Google+ pages in more than a week.

Some other companies, like McDonald’s, had never updated their page, even though it was created. Another example provided by Reuters, was a side-by-side comparison of a recent Cinco de Mayo promotion run by pizza company Domino’s. The promotion was loudly touted on Facebook, but the company’s Google+ page hadn’t been updated since 2012.

Reuters’ Alexei Oreskovic writes, “For Google+ to thrive, it is vital to draw in household names, not just to lay the groundwork for potential future business, but also because users of the site have come to expect being able to follow, comment on or even vent about their favorite brands.”

There are many reasons why Google+ has been slow to get more active users since its launch. Remember, there wasn’t an initial crush of users to Facebook, either, and the look and feel of the site certainly has changed dramatically, even in just the last few years.

Google+ vs Facebook

Facebook of all other social networks has more active users. More than a billion people worldwide use their Facebook account at least once a month, and the average user spends at least six hours on the site in a month. While there are more than a half-billion people with Google+ profiles, the average per-month user time is less than seven minutes, according to the Reuters research.

As we noted recently, our own research here at Small Business Trends shows small businesses are still flocking to Facebook.  There are now 16 million small business Facebook pages.  And 3 million of those were added in the just the first quarter of 2013.

Also hindering the use of Google+, especially for business owners, is the discomfort level with learning a new social media environment and how to make what this site offers over rivals Facebook and Twitter work for their companies. For some functions, like video conferencing or streaming live video, Google+ clearly has an advantage.

Untapped Potential in Google+

However, the way brands react today may not reflect the future potential of Google+.  Reuters notes that some companies are beginning to realize that maintaining at a presence for their business or product on Google+ appears to help them in Google searches. “Many businesses do build outposts on Google+, eager to benefit from its integration with Google’s popular Internet search service,” the Reuters report concludes.

Here’s another reason to get more active on Google+:  Google is focusing more resources on Google+. Clearly Google sees Google+ as key to its future.  In fact, Google just rolled out some new features and a new look for Google+ this past week.

For small businesses, there are advantages to getting in early on a social network, learning the ropes and building your base, before the competition.  In the Google+ vs Facebook stakes, you may not want to wait.

More in: 7 Comments ▼

Joshua Sophy - Staff Writer


Joshua Sophy Joshua Sophy is a staff writer for Small Business Trends, covering technology and business news. He is a journalist and editor with 15 years experience in media. A former newspaper reporter and editor, Joshua also serves as President of the Board of Directors of a curling club and is editor of a regional newsletter focused on the sport of curling in the Eastern U.S.

7 Reactions

  1. Not that surprised by the findings actually, Josh. I suspect some of the same aspects of Google+ that attract many core users, including tech types and entrepreneurs, is what repels many big brands. Fewer members, more focus on B2B networking, more niche discussions. These are folks much more likely to be discussing the effect of the latest Google algorithm change than the latest frappucino flavor at Starbucks.

  2. I think what’s missing at this point is the people, not the brands.

    Most of my Facebook Likes are on Google+, though some haven’t updated in awhile. The same can not be said for my Friends list.

    I notice that the types of friends who are on Google+ are not the same kind of Friends I have on Facebook. More often, Google+ has the friends who I interact with more on a daily basis while Facebook is more like a scrapbook.

    What does this mean for brands? I think it shows that each will prove to have benefits in reaching completely different audiences and it will produce more jobs for social media managers in the future.

    I would be in on it right away so you’re ahead of the curve.

  3. Thanks for your post Joshua.

    I thinks it’s very tough to compare Facebook and Google+.. they are so different in my opinion (although it’s not something you would see looking at the UI and functionality). Obviously Facebook is the place where the users are and the sharing is happening. Brands need to be there. As for Google+, I don’t think it will add a lot of value for brands to be there at the moment.. but they can always claim their profile.

    As for (small) local businesses you need to be on Facebook as well and make sure all your information is there in case the Graph Search really takes off (although FB is expecting users to do search on FB.. tough one.). We actually did a small research to see how many local businesses claimed their Facebook Page. I’ve shared the numbers on our blog: http://blog.joopp.com/post/50485438219/how-many-local-businesses-claimed-their-facebook-page . We looked at restaurants in the UK and The Netherlands.

    But SMBs need to be on Google+ as well. Since they tend to care less about branding and more about calls, reservations, etc., and for the most part that is still happening on (social) local search sites like Google, Yelp, IYPs, etc. Google is moving Google Places (where you manage your business listing) to Google+, so local businesses need to get on Google+ to make sure their correct info is spread on the Google network.

    In general Google+ should try to reposition itself in order not to be compared with Facebook all the time. Also considering the fact that the future of social networking lies more on mobile and specifically on apps like e.g. WhatsApp and SnapChat. I don’t think that’s the direction Google+ is heading.. :)

  4. Joshua, do you think that with the new design update… Google Plus will attract more users? I’ve heard that Facebook is planning to add more ads and I bet that there are those who are fed up with these, those who appreciate a clutter-free space. Let’s see how things will progress..

  5. I have noticed people put up a profile on Google+ and then forget about it..mostly just a photo and no information. But for Facebook VS G+ for thoes that are very active, i notice better less Spam content and more adult conversations on Google+.. Great article!

  6. I don’t know but Google plus seemed to imitate the Facebook features if you may check it now. What’s lacking about Google plus is that it’s not connected to other social media sites. With this function it could have been better.

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