Almost instantly since Google+ has arrived on June 2011, it came along with a constant debate if it is meeting the high expectations the company (and probably the rest of the world) has from the social networking site, or identity service as they refer it.
The debate centers around two dimensions: The first is the growth of total number of visits and the second is the level of user engagement rate with the social network. But while the service users’ growth seemed strong, the level of user engagement rate appeared to be very poor.
Now, according to a new report of Experian Hitwise that been published on CNET, the folks at the Google+ team can be encouraged from new data related to the first dimension. The research firm is reporting that Google+ had more than 61 million visits in March which represent 27% rise from February numbers (about 48 million visits).
Before I continue, I have couple of reservations about the data:
- The definition of “visit” by Experian is entering the site within 30 minutes periods. Meaning that if the same person leaves Google+ and return to it after more than 30 minutes, it counts as another visit.
- The data includes only U.S. visits and not includes visits from mobile devices, which would most probably boost the total amount of visits.
Nonetheless, Experian numbers can still indicate on a significant growth in Google+ visits as measuring the data was consistent through time. However, it is important to mention that Google+ stats are still very far from the biggest player in the social arena, Facebook.
For comparison, Facebook had in March a total of 7 billion visits. That means that Google+ total visits in March constitutes as less than 1 percent than Facebook’s! And that is even after 15% drop in Facebook’s visits (1.3 billion visits) since July 2011.
I don’t think that Facebook drop in traffic has some meaning because, as I stated, the numbers don’t include mobile traffic which responsible for a huge and increasing amount of Facebook’s total visits (Facebook has about 432 million mobile users).
By the way, the same Experian Hitwise reported recently that Pinterest has surpassed Google+ and it is now the third most popular social network– Just on the week ending on March 31st, Pinterest had 62 percent more visits than Google+.
The social networking battle certainly took some interesting twists at the beginning of 2012 and its ending is surely unexpected (Game of Thrones season 1 spoiler alert).