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Google+ is a ghost town, study says

Updated Dec 19th, 2018 8:25PM EST

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Google’s emerging social network Google+ may boast big user numbers, but a new study suggests that social activity and user engagement are anything but impressive. Intended to give Google a stronger grip on the massive amount of data shared by users on social networks, Google’s answer to Facebook opened its doors to the public last September. After using some user acquisition methods that seemed a bit desperate, Google revealed in December that Google+ was then home to 62 million users. Google+ boasted an impressive 100 million users as of early April, but according to eCommerce analytics firm RJ Metrics, the social network is not the waterfall of data Google hoped it would be.

Fast Company on Tuesday revealed the findings of an RJ Metrics study that analyzed data from a sample of 40,000 public Google+ accounts in an effort to determine just how successful the crown jewel in Google’s social network portfolio really is. According to the firm’s findings, Google+ is a ghost town.

The RJ Metrics suggests that an average post on Google+ gets fewer than one “+1,” the equivalent of a “like” on Facebook, and fewer than one reply as well. Links and other items shared publicly by Google+ users are re-shared just 0.17 times per post on average. Users covered by the study averaged about one post every 12 days, and usage per user declines each month after they make their first public post.

In what is perhaps the most concerning stat from the firm’s study, about 30% of users who make a public post on Google+ never make a second one.

In a statement provided to Fast Company, a Google spokesperson claimed that RJ Metrics’s findings are not accurate.

“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+,” the Google spokesperson said. “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.”

Zach Epstein
Zach Epstein Executive Editor

Zach Epstein has been the Executive Editor at BGR for more than 10 years. He manages BGR’s editorial team and ensures that best practices are adhered to. He also oversees the Ecommerce team and directs the daily flow of all content. Zach first joined BGR in 2007 as a Staff Writer covering business, technology, and entertainment.

His work has been quoted by countless top news organizations, and he was recently named one of the world's top 10 “power mobile influencers” by Forbes. Prior to BGR, Zach worked as an executive in marketing and business development with two private telcos.


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