Facebook vs. Google Plus Engagement – You Had No Idea How Bad It Is For … ! [infographic]
There's a time a man must face the TRUTH! I liked Google plus better than Facebook. I called myself a Google Plus Ambassador. Then I looked at the numbers!
Most business owners and marketers still haven't joined Google plus.
- If you haven't joined g+, you're probably wondering whether it's worth the additional time.
- If you have joined g+, you're probably wondering whether it's worth the additional time. Oh.
Here's the story: Every time someone calls Google plus a 'ghost town' I get defensive and explain how great Google plus is. I tell them how everybody is getting Google wrong. Just like many fellow Google plus users with me.
- We've dissed Journalists who were writing about low Google plus engagement.
- We've suspected them of getting paid by Facebook.
- We bombarded the wall of g+ critics with malicious comments.
Hey, at least there's some engagement!
If you want to get slapped, go and send a message out saying 'Google plus is a ghost town,' or 'Engagement on Google plus is unbelievably low.'
Then, a few weeks back, I started to lookout for Google plus content that Plussers posted to their Facebook wall as well. And I looked at how many likes, comments, and shares they get on both platforms.
Then I looked at how many followers they have. And I crunched the numbers, with surprising results.
Here are 3 examples for prominent social networkers and how their fans engage on Facebook and Google plus.
- With Mari Smith's numbers you may still think 'so what?'
- When you see Robert Scoble's numbers you'll be surprised.
- When you see Guy Kawasaki's numbers, you'll be in tears (if you're a Google plus evangelist) or rolling on the floor laughing (if you're a Facebook fan, or Mark Zuckerberg).
The numbers below are for a specific post that was posted to Google plus and to Facebook on the same day. The numbers were taken a few days after the post, when activity had died.
(Sorry for the excessive ibmm branding, I pulled 9 separate graphics together on this page.)
Mari's numbers are interesting, because she has roughly the same number of subscribers on both social media sites. It must be said, though, that the post on Facebook was posted to her Fan Page, not to her personal profile. Mari Smith has many more subscribers on her profile.
But I needed to compare numbers for the same content on g+ and Facebook, and this piece was posted to the fan page.
This is the post for which I compared the numbers:
Here's Mari Smith's Facebook Fan Page:
Robert's results for this post vary more than Mari's. For likes this post's results are much worse, for shares the results are better. This is pretty rare, though.
While Mari Smith has similar audience size (remember, it's only her Facebook Page), in Robert's sample the g+ audience is much larger.
Many people say that larger following will result in less engagement.
Robert Scoble's Google plus post:
And Robert's Facebook profile:
Did I check the wrong post? Is it an outlier?
These numbers are so extreme that I wanted to make sure I didn't catch an outlier. I checked with CircleCount. The results above are in line with Guy's average results over the last 30 days. Average is 28 comments per posting, 19 reshares per posting, and 66 +1's per posting; with currently 1,912,115 followers.
Guy Kawasaki's numbers are way off, in two ways.
- Compared to Facebook, the engagement numbers are unbelievably low on Google plus.
- Looking at the posts of Mari and Guy on Facebook, his engagement numbers are also way down, compared to Mari.
Why is that so?
I believe the reason is that Mari mostly posts within a small range of topics. Mari is all about social media and Facebook.
Guy, on the other hand, is famous for doing the opposite. He loves finding interesting stuff across ALL TOPics.
Robert Scoble is somewhere inbetween. He's all about tech startups, gadgets, and a pint of Rackspace. His posts are broader than Mari's, but not as broad as Guy's.
Look at the topics from Guy's last 10 g+ posts today:
- Marshmallow Twig Roaster
- Graduation Speeches
- Yahoo CEO Resume Revelations
- His Google plus book, What the Plus!
- A Mother's Day gift for a hockey mom
- Apple Inc.
- May Day celebrations and protests
- A funny pic about Silicon Valley Nerds
- A cop pulling over a doughnut truck
People love Guy Kawasaki for the new, funny, and interesting things he finds every day.
Yet, it seems to decrease engagement massively.
Guy's Google plus post:
And Guy Kawasaki's Facebook profile:
The hidden metrics and the ROI of social media marketing.
Likes, comments, and shares are easy to count. They don't help us pay the rent, though. Or the Ferrari. *wink @ Mari* At least not in a way we can measure easily.
From a sales and marketing perspective the most important metric is 'click-throughs.' Clicks to our promotions, clicks to our sites. More click-throughs = more conversions and higher ad revenue.
I don't know the click-throughs for Mari, Robert, and Guy. It might well be that engagement on g+ is low, but the click throughs from up to 2 million followers are high enough!
Conclusions about engagement on Google plus compared to Facebook.
Keep in mind that I'm using 3 randomly picked posts to illustrate my ideas. This is not 'proof' for anything, further study is necessary.
1. Engagement is significantly lower on Google plus. This is a biggie, although Google plus users frequently deny it. Your day has only 24 hours. There are unlimited marketing opportunities out there. You have to evaluate if Google plus is really worth your time.
Chris Brogan has spoken open words in his session at Social Media Success Summit 2012 two days ago. Slightly paraphrasing: "I don't think it's critical to have a Google plus business page. You're not going to have a lot interaction." He recommended that if you engage on Google plus you rather use your personal profile than a business page.
The engagement analyzed in this blog post is from personal profiles. If you did the same analysis for pages, you'd quickly close the book on Google plus and move on to Facebook and LinkedIn.
2. Building a larger audience often results in lower engagement. On any platform. The larger your audience is, the less targeted it is. The more targeted your audience is, the more successful any campaign will be. You don't need to target all the 2 Billion people who have internet. You'll have less work and better results the smaller and more targeted your audience is.
3. If you restrict your posts to a tightly defined topic, you'll get higher engagement. This, too, is about targeted social media marketing. Posting across many different topics will give you lower engagement. Cats and bacon are the exception to the rule.
I'm neither criticizing any of these authors, nor saying bye bye to Google plus. I DO like g+ better. I AM a g+ Ambassador. But Google plus users must stop treating every critic like an idiot or a propagandist paid by Facebook.
Engagement is significantly lower on Google plus, even for celebrities. And for the little guy, like me, and probably you, at g+ there's a lot of time and work needed to get even a tiny bit of response.
I do believe, though, that Google plus will be a success, and I'll cover the 'Why' in a separate post.
Let me finish with a quote from Guy Kawasaki that I picked up today: