Google+ is a ghost town, study says

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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.”

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