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Social Media Growth Forecast: Google+ to overtake Facebook?

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!

Marcus Tober

Marcus Tober

My name is Marcus Tober and I’m the founder of Searchmetrics. Because we really love to analyze all kinds 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.

21 thoughts on “Social Media Growth Forecast: Google+ to overtake Facebook?

  • 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?

  • 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.

  • I don’t think Google+ will get in front of Facebook. People are not that engaged on that platform. Facebook is here to stay.

  • Considering that Google+ was treated as the proverbial red-headed stepchild during its I/O conference and that the company just announced that it is cleaning up the way search results look, which includes getting rid of Google+ authorship photos, I’m not sure what Google has in store for its social network. Maybe the brains behind the operation have something awesome planned, but it appears to me Google is, at best, treading water and, or worse, failing at making what could be something useful into an also ran.

  • 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.

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  • I’m curious how Google will gain Facebook’s fans, but otherwise I was pretty sure that Google+ will take a strong position in time. Anyway the “blue giant” appears to be unquestionably ahead but on the other hand G+ is more suitable for businesses and in certain ways more private.

  • I don’t think Google+ will ever overtake Facebook! But, first of all, you have to understand that they are very different platforms. I think Google+ is used more by bussinesses, while Facebook is more for everyday use for each of us.

  • Alexander Lindemann 2015/02/22 at 1:13 am

    The fact that G+ provides its users with a much more suitable search results, based on their own usage and G+ activities like PlusOnes, will at some point in this prediction kick in and ensure the fulfillment of the prophecy.

  • Georlandio Oliveira 2015/05/28 at 4:06 pm

    I believe that Google+ will never move from Facebook even with all this growth!

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  • Google+ may have grown a lot in the short term, but will never follow the Facebook !!

  • Negócios Lucrativos 2016/01/16 at 2:07 am

    Yeah, I don’t think Google+ will ever beat FB neither.

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  • Perfeição Feminina 2016/04/01 at 2:35 am

    I’m still wondering on how Google will be able to gain Facebook’s fans. It will take a long time still for sure.

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  • Franquias Baratas 2016/06/06 at 5:22 am

    I dont think Google + will overcome FB…

  • Hi, I don’t think so that Google+ can overtake Facebook anymore. Though, it trying so hard but still it take so much time as well as user to beat Facebook

  • Karla da Redação CNPJ 2017/02/02 at 11:24 am

    It’s a giant fight, that’s for sure.

    Let’s wait a little longer, okay?



  • Just thinking about the potential of these two powers. Although Facebook has viralized Google has much strength for such as well.


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