People can be surprised by our G+ numbers. Take this post for example from Mike Eglan, where many of the comments are sceptical.
From our point of view, this was to be expected. In todays globalised and socially defaulted internet, the fact that an organisation with the reach and resources of Google can build the world’s quickest growing social platform is no shocking revelation.
To better understand Google+ growth, we must first stop thinking about it as a destination social site like Facebook.
Increasingly, Google+ is just Google.
This has impacted our research, as the distinction between a Google+ account and a Google account no longer exists. Now every single Google account provides access to Google+ and every new sign up is required to create a profile by default. This is why we record that Google+ has 672m accounts (most are likely to be Google accounts) and 336m active users across their social layer, which is just 21% of the global internet universe.
If we consider that Google has 1.3bn monthly visits, 900m YouTube visits and now, an incredible 422m Android users (an increase from 158m in Q2 2011), all of whom are now required to create a Google / Google+ account and now upload their photos as a default setting.
These numbers are not in any way a surprise.
And that’s why, from our point of view, most commentary on Google+ is misguided. Talk of it being a “wasteland” or “lacking in active community” misses the point completely. This is born from our numbers, as we track that 120m active users have shared photos through the service and 108m have hit a +1, which is right in line with Google’s own released “active” numbers, which underline’s why comparing it to Facebook is misguided.
Another other crucial fact is the rising growth in international markets, for example the US, with 14m active users, only make up 4% of their active user base.
In this global world, China, India, Brazil and Indonesia power Google’s growth, a shift that is only going to become more prevalent in the future.
Based on these facts, and the fact that Google is the gateway to the internet for the vast majority of internet users on the planet, it is vital that brands and businesses roll it into their social strategy now. It is irrelevant whether users interact with it in the same way as Facebook; it’s not the same product and never will be.