By adaptive - July 16th, 2013

As a latecomer to the social media party, Google+ has had some catching up to do. However, new research suggests corporations should be paying close attention to how their customers are using the plus

Businesses that have been shunning Google+ as an also ran in the social media stakes might want to re-evaluate their opinion of the burgeoning network. As USM has already reported in our special report on social login, this activity can be a massive win for corporations and their brands. A number of research papers have consistently shown that offering social login can generate massive positive sentiment and drive potential customers to a brand’s website.

The question then remains which social login platform to offer? It may seem as first glance to be a one horse race with Facebook being the obvious choice. However, research from Janrain into social login trends could mean your business needs to think again about Google+

With consumers now managing multiple email addresses and several social media personas, offering the right social login option can be a critical decision to get right. Facebook has remained the preeminent social login of choice, but this is changing.

Current research from Searchmetrics forecasts that by 2016 social sharing on Google+ will exceed that on Facebook. The Searchmetrics study is based on a comparison of the average monthly growth in the number of Facebook ‘shares’ and their equivalent, ‘plus ones’, on Google+ in the US, covering the 6 month period from November 2012 to April 2013.

Says Marcus Tober, founder and CTO of Searchmetrics: “Google wants as many people as possible to share things – web pages, blog posts, videos etc - they find useful and relevant with people they are connected to on Google+. It can roll up this information into the mass of data that helps it understand which content people consider valuable and useful and give it insights about how to position it in search results. This social data will also help Google build more personalized search results that tie in with a person’s social network connections and activities – something for which many people think Facebook has a head start.”

Social Login Preferences

Google+ now has more than 500 million registered users. The site has seen massive growth since its inception; easily out performing all other social networks expect the ubiquitous Facebook. The important metric however, is that Google+ appears to be growing at a faster rate. And the ease with which online consumers can attach a site and share information via the plus button is a powerful channel that Google is clearly going to expand and exploit.

Also, the divide between the B2C and B2B sectors clearly has parallels with which social media platform is favoured. LinkedIn notwithstanding, Google+ is gaining ground in both sectors. The last benchmark report from Circle Research indicating that Google+ now has a third of the market share in the B2B sector.

Clearly for many businesses the jury is still out when it comes to Google+ Some brands have wholeheartedly embraced the network with others being decidedly lukewarm. However, if the Searchmetrics forecast is to be believed, now could be the time to revisit Google+

Tober concluded: “Facebook is growing from its extremely large base to something larger, and is therefore slower. But it’s remarkable that Facebook is still growing. And that's why the blue giant appears to be unquestionably ahead of the market right now. But our data shows Google+ can catch it if growth rates for sharing activity continue as they are.”

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