Google+: Public engagement is very low
RJ Metrics sampled posts by 40,000 randomly selected users. For each user who had actually posted (about one third of the sample), the company downloaded their entire public timelines, which consist of all of their publicly visible activities.
Here's what they found:
- The average post has less than one +1, less than one reply, and less than one re-share.
- 30 percent of users who make a public post never make a second one. Even after making five public posts, there is a 15 percent chance that a user will not post publicly again.
- Among users who make publicly viewable posts, there is an average of 12 days between each post.
- After a member makes a public post, the average number of public posts he or she makes in each subsequent month declines steadily.
Not surprisingly, Google disputes the findings of the RJ Metrics study, and in a statement to Fast Company, which wrote about the research last week, the company said, "By only tracking engagement on public posts, this study is flawed and not an accurate representation of all the sharing and activity taking place on Google+.... As we've said before, more sharing occurs privately to circles and individuals than publicly on Google+. The beauty of Google+ is that it allows you to share privately -- you don't have to publicly share your thoughts, photos, or videos with the world."
Google+ usage: Just three minutes a month
As Moore himself points out, there's no way to know how many posts are shared privately. But there's another metric, one that wasn't used by RJ Metrics, that is probably even more distressing from Google's point of view: Time using the service.
In February, ComScore found that visitors using personal computers spent an average of about three minutes a month on Google+ between September and January, versus six to seven hours on Facebook each month over the same period. Google says that ComScore data understates the amount of time people spend on the service, but did not share its own numbers.
It's possible that Google+ is a different kind of animal, one whose popularity researchers haven't been able to capture. But I suspect that we're seeing three things: