Google+ may not be a big part of your marketing strategy now, but it may be worth taking another look. It’s been a couple months now since The New York Times dubbed Google+ a “ghost town.” New research from Forrester claims that the platform has more users than LinkedIn, Pinterest and Instagram, but having a Gmail or YouTube account signs you up for it by default. The real story lies in brand engagement. A recent Forbes headline boldly announced “Why every marketer should use Google Plus.” Long assumed by many that the only reason you would post your brand’s content would be too boost its search engine optimization, there are actually other benefits. So, there’s the user base, which is large and growing. Forrester’s Nate Elliott continues in the Forbes article:
Second, and more importantly, Google Plus generates much more brand engagement than you think. Recently we studied more than 3 million user interactions with more than 2,500 brand posts on seven social networks. The result? Brands’ Google Plus posts generated nearly as much engagement per follower as their Facebook posts — and almost twice as much engagement per follower as their Twitter posts.
Surprised? I was. There’s more, too. A Shareholic study claims that Google+ referrals spend more time on your site and visit more pages. That means G+ users are, on average, more engaged (and therefore, perhaps more valuable) than users of other sites. According to this video from Freshwire, Google+ also benefits from simply being “Not Facebook,” because Facebook has made a few moves that have made advertisers mad: In my recent social media work with IBM Cloud, we’ve been sharing most of our visual assets and our high-performing content—infographics, blog graphics, video and blog posts—with varying results on the platform. It’s not our most impressive venue, that’s for sure, but it costs us nothing to cross post the same content to our Facebook page, meaning it isn’t a huge time investment for us. Looking at our blog data from the past few months, we don’t exactly align with the trends mentioned above. Users coming from Google+ are fairly average to below average when it comes to time on site and pages per visit. It could be a B2B factor, or it could just be a lack of targeted effort. Either way, it’s clear that G+ shouldn’t be ignored.