Social Media Growth Forecast: Google+ to overtake Facebook?

June 20th, 2013 | Analysis 19 comments

Much is written about “social media” these days. Social networks, and in particular the user signals that flow from these platforms into the net, play an increasingly important role in the overall perception. Shares, Likes, Comments, PlusOnes, Tweets and Pins coming from anywhere, promoting recommendations, URLs, images, and content through the Internet – all of which are closely linked to personal user information from the Social Graph.

Searchmetrics Google+ vs Facebook

We here at Searchmetrics are in the wonderful position of being able to measure this data. Our ever growing database and our software, which not only tracks millions of keywords in search engines worldwide, also provides social signals – historical and current – to analyze data more precisely. This puts us in a position to evaluate data on a large, well-founded basis – and to identify relationships between the corresponding factors. Social is just important for Search – and we now have more than 20 trillion global social signals in this large and continuously growing database.

Comparing Social Signals from Google+ and Facebook

We recently carried out an analysis taking social signals from Facebook and Google+ and placing them under the microscope. The basic message: Google+ is growing like crazy, but is in absolute terms still worlds behind Facebook. The fact that Google+ percentage grew much stronger than initially proposed is especially surprising. However, the activity of users on the Google network is much more behind. The social platform of founder Mark Zuckerberg grew more moderately, but is already incredibly large. Concerning both absolute numbers of social signals and the activity of users, Facebook is seemingly indisputably ahead.

The first analysis on Facebook and Google+ has been revised and repeated. In the center of the investigation, the shares as signals from both networks were now measured exclusively. Based on these values, we have calculated the percentage growth of Google+ and Facebook starting from January 2012 to the current period of April 2013. The graph below represents figures for the United States:

Comparison: Shares of Facebook and Google+

Again Google’s network shows a strong percentage of growth – especially the striking increase from February to April. With Facebook however, the curve only rises very slowly. If you look at the absolute numbers to the right you can see why this is.

In the month of April 2013, the absolute number of Shares for Facebook was fifteen times greater than that of Google PlusOnes. The Google network is growing at the stage of small to small which therefore is fast. Facebook is growing from its extremely large base to something larger, and is therefore slower.

The remarkable thing is that Facebook is still growing. And that’s why the blue giant appears to be unquestionably ahead of the market.

Facebook uncatchable?

This statement now becomes questionable, given the current market situation. Now, Google’s network delivers more users through several of their services making it nearly impossible to not use Google’s online services. The question now seems to be no longer “whether” Google+ can overtake Facebook, but rather “when”?

How can Google+ overtake Facebook?

With the support of new services like Google Glasses and the mandatory creation of a Google+ account as part of Android Activation for smartphones, the rise of Google+ accounts will only continue to increase as new services become automatically linked to profiles. Not long ago, Google announced that its Android operating system has over 900 million activations. A large part of it is directly connected to a service and Google+ profile. Last year alone, this meant a growth of over 100% on the basis of 400 million about a year ago.

This interested us and we wanted to know precisely when this would happen. Therefore, we have developed a small growth forecast.

When will Google+ be bigger than Facebook?

First, I want to emphasize that the following calculation – in stark contrast to our other publications – is rather a small glimpse of what the future might be, not a scientific claim. There are many factors that can change how the networks evolve.

Ultimately, growth rates are constantly changing – which in itself is always the variable ratio of the calculation basis related (condition: before and after), i.e. the increasing network size as absolute value, and the growth rate as a percentage size.

Now let’s take a look at the numbers. The basis for the calculation are the percentage growth rates of the two networks of the last 6 months, referring to the rise of social signals or, more precisely, only the shares.

Over this period, Facebook saw a monthly average growth of almost 10 percent, while Google+’s average grew by almost 19 percent per month (again, we refer to U.S. figures). These values form the basis for our forecast. So if this should remain so, we see the development of the two networks for the coming years is as follows:

Searchmetrics Prediction: Google+ overtakes Facebook

One thing that is clear in this chart is the incredibly rapid growth of Google+. With a constant percentage growth, Google+ will overtake Facebook in less than 3 years in February 2016.

Google+ grows not only regarding signals but also users at an insane speed. And Google is doing everything to ensure that they well continue! We are aware of the speculative aspect of this calculation. But we ourselves wanted to see what that might look like and share it with you.

Do you think Google+ will overtake Facebook? Let us know in the comments!

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Who’s writing this stuff? My name is Marcus Tober and I’m the founder of Searchmetrics. Because we really love to analyze every kind of online data, we can give you more insights than any other company in SEO, SEM and Social Media. It’s not a job, it’s passion. You can find me also on Google+ .
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Comments (3)

Comments (19)

  1. 2013/06/27

    I think, this impact also will result in SERP rankings. Google+ will plays the crucial part in internet marketing. But it’s still interesting, How Google will attracts the Facebook maniacs?

  2. 2013/08/26

    Google+ still has the problem of getting people actually engaged with the platform. Forcing them to use it by increasing G+’s importance as a ranking factor isn’t helping the cause. They have to figure out how to engage Facebook users instead of SEOs. This will be their hardest task.

  3. 2014/09/01

    With Google+ fixing all of Facebook’s problems, being better for businesses, the cleaner interface, more private sharing options, etc., it definitely makes since that Google+ will overtake Facebook. However, Google+ overtaking Facebook in three years seems a little unlikely, with Facebook still being the king of social networks. But it will very likely happen, even if it’s a slower process.

Trackbacks (16)

Comments (19)

  1. 2013/06/24

    [...] GOOGLE+ Searchmetrics SEO Blog: Wird Google+ bald Facebook überholen?: Seit Monaten schon fördert Google sein eigenes Netzwerk Google+ und baut den Dienst zum zentralen Punkt in seinem Dienste-Universum aus. Searchmetrics-Gründer Marcus Tober hat sich das Wachstum genauer angesehen und sieht eine konstante Steigerung für möglich, so dass Google in weniger als drei Jahren Facebook bei den Nutzerzahlen überholen könnte. [...]

  2. 2013/06/24

    [...] Facebook might not be going down per say, a new report by Searchmetrics analyzing over 30 trillion social signals suggests that Google+ could overtake Facebook in total [...]

  3. 2013/06/24

    [...] presented the data in a blog post on their site. While acknowledging that Google+ is still miles behind Facebook, the research group claims that [...]

  4. 2013/06/27

    [...] estudo recente da empresa SearchMetrics aponta um dado curioso: o Google+ deve ultrapassar o Facebook em quantidade de compartilhamentos em [...]

  5. 2013/06/28

    [...] Um estudo recente da empresa SearchMetrics aponta um dado curioso: o Google+ deve ultrapassar o Facebook em quantidade de compartilhamentos em 2016! Esta informação pode parecer estranha, uma vez que muito se fala do Google+ ser um local sem pessoas ou ainda que a rede social não pegou. [...]

  6. 2013/07/24

    [...] Facebook, zeigt jedoch ein solides Wachstum und scheint seinen Ruf als Geisterstadt zu verlieren. Laut Searchmetrics steigt die Anzahl der Social Signals aus Googles Sozialem Netzwerk mit einer beeindruckenden [...]

  7. 2013/07/24

    [...] SearchMetrics recently carried out an analysis taking social signals from Facebook and Google+ and placing them under the microscope. [...]

  8. 2013/08/04

    [...] leitores da Mestre, Um estudo recente da empresa SearchMetrics aponta um dado curioso: o Google+ deve ultrapassar o Facebook em quantidade de compartilhamentos em [...]

  9. 2013/09/20

    [...] Let’s not forget that Google has its own social network as well and even though some may doubt Google Plus’s importance today, it is apparent that this social network is definitely an important element to include in a brand’s marketing strategy. Today a business can highly improve its search results and indexing on Google by posting its content on Google+. The results of a recent survey taken by B2B marketers show that they predict that Google+ will be three times more relevant by 2014 than it is now. Also, consider this: From January 2012 to February 2013, Google+ has seen shares increase by 788 percent compared to only 202 percent for Facebook. [...]

  10. 2013/10/02

    [...] “This statement now becomes questionable, given the current market situation. Now, Google’s network delivers more users through several of their services making it nearly impossible to not use Google’s online services. The question now seems to be no longer ‘whether’ Google+ can overtake Facebook, but rather ‘when’?” Search Metrics [...]

  11. 2014/01/24

    [...] Social Media Growth Forecast: Google+ to overtake Facebook by 2016?: http://blog.searchmetrics.com/us/2013/06/20/social-media-growth-forecast-google-to-overtake-facebook… [...]

  12. 2014/02/13

    [...] Facebook as the top social media platform in the years to come.  Below is a chart put together by Search Metrics that predicts when Google+ will overtake Facebook based on how quickly Google+ is currently [...]

  13. 2014/03/15

    [...] Search Metrics released their 2013 analysis of the social signals of both platforms (Facebook and Google+). From January 2012 to April 2013, the data revealed that Google+ is “growing like crazy” in the United States, yet it still lags behind Facebook in terms of absolute numbers. [...]

  14. 2014/03/17

    [...] Tober, the founder of Searchmetrics, a global provider of digital marketing software and services, has researched the possibility. [...]

  15. 2014/05/16

    [...] Photo credit: Searchmetrics [...]

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