29 Dec 2011

Google+ On Track To Hit 400M Members in 2012



By Jennifer LeClaire at NewsFactor Network:
"Google+'s membership reaching past 60 million is good news for Google as it tries to build a Facebook-killer, but at issue is engagement," said Jake Wengroff, global director of social media strategy and research at Frost & Sullivan. "What percent of these users are actually utilizing the social network on a daily or monthly basis?"

Google+ is gaining members at a rapid clip, just passing the 62 million-member mark and set to expand exponentially in 2012. At this pace, Google+ could get to 400 million members by this time next year. All this is according to Paul Allen, founder of Ancestry.com and a statistician.
"Google+ is adding new users at a very rapid pace. It may be the holidays, the TV commercials, the Android Relevant Products/Services 4 sign-ups, celebrity and brand appeal, or positive word of mouth, or a combination of all these factors, but there is no question that the number of new users signing up for Google+ each day has accelerated markedly in the past several weeks," Allen wrote on his Google+ page.
Allen has tracked the steady climb of Google+, from 10 million members on July 13 to 20.5 million on Aug. 1 to 24.7 million on Sept. 1. Allen predicts Google+ will have 65.8 million members by Jan. 1 and a whopping 88.5 million by Feb. 1.
Engaging Googlers
"What is really remarkable is that nearly a fourth of all Google+ users (24.01% to be precise) will have joined in December alone," Allen wrote. "If this rate of new sign-ups (625k daily) continues then Google+ will reach 100 million users on Feb. 25 and 200 million users on Aug. 3. They will finish 2012 with 293 million users."
However, Allen expects the growth rate to continue accelerating. Google can continue to integrate Relevant Products/Services Google+ into its other products and word of mouth will continue to build, he said.
Most important, he said, 700,000 Android devices are activated daily and that will become a significant source of new users for Google+. That number will also grow next year. That's how he finally settled at about 400 million members. But what does that mean, really?
"Google+'s membership reaching past 60 million is good news for Google as it tries to build a Facebook-killer, but at issue is engagement," said Jake Wengroff, global director of social media strategy Relevant Products/Services and research at Frost & Sullivan. "What percent of these users are actually utilizing the social network Relevant Products/Services on a daily or monthly basis?"
Slow and Steady?
Wengroff pointed to Twitter, which suffers from the same aches and pains as Google+. Less than 20 percent of the micro-blogging service's 300 million users are considered everyday, active users,
according to his research.
Facebook, on the other hand, boasts more than 800 million active users -- those, according to the social network, who have used the site in the last 30 days, Wengroff said.
"We all want Google+ to succeed. Features have been slow to roll out: It took over one month from the launch of Google+ Pages for administrators to allow for additional managers," Wengroff said.
As he sees it, Google is taking a calculated approach so as not to make mistakes -- but also measure the response rate to its feature rollouts -- which is perhaps partly responsible for lower engagement levels at this point.
"Hopefully, sooner rather than later, engagement on a large scale Relevant Products/Services will take place and Google+ will be competing head to head with Facebook for an audience -- and loyalty," Wengroff said.

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