Can Google Surpass Facebook for No. 1 Social Network?

Hillary Carver, special to Nvate

Can Google Plus surpass Facebook for the No. 1 social network? The two social networks have been Nos. 1 and 2 most of this year, with Twitter and Pinterest close behind. Figures from web analyst firm Janrain recently showed that over the past two quarters of this year, the two have remained steady, though Google Plus increased its share a fraction.

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Janrain noted that Facebook sees 46 percent of social logins, compared to Google’s 34 percent. But the Google Plus active user base grew by 33 percent to 343 million for the nine month period from June 2012 to March 2013. That’s a good sign, meaning more users are on Google Plus, engaging with other users, sharing links and enabling the social graph.

Search agency Searchmetrics forecasts that this engaged activity by Google Plus users will help to grow the network to rival or eclipse Facebook’s top standing. It notes that Google Plus saw an average of 19 percent growth of “+1s” in recent months. If the same rate of growth continues over the next few years, Searchmetrics notes that Google Plus could see more sharing on social networks every month than Facebook by as early as February 2016. The agency adds that by the numbers, this would show Google Plus generating nearly 1,100 billion shares, or +1s, monthly, with Facebook trailing at at about 850 million monthly shares.

That’s likely the goal of Google, to stifle Facebook’s competition for socially shared information on the Web. It will definitely be exciting to watch both Web giants as they battle it out for advertisers, users and search opportunities. Here’s a look at some of the latest elements.

Advertisers

Advertisers can find favor in Google Plus due to recent innovations by Google to enhance its social sharing network with its advertising network. In April, Google announced that its AdWords advertisers could use their enhanced campaigns and highlight the numbers of Google Plus followers. Why would advertisers want to do this? Because these type of ads, cites Google, receive generally higher click-through rates, upward of 5-10 percent, than those without the follower counts, according to TechCrunch. And the addition of Google Plus follower counts in ads won’t cost AdWords advertisers any more, as long as they have a Google Plus page and use an enhanced campaign.

Users

So many Google Plus users, so little time. There’s so much good content on user pages across the Google spectrum. Follow different users in circles, or find industry leaders in marketing, social media and search. Try G+ posts from iAcquire. By learning from leaders in different disciplines, you can enhance the rankings of your own Google Plus page for your own work and personal efforts.

Search

Facebook launched its Search graph in recent months and users are still trying to wrap their heads around the offering. TechHive suggests that in Facebook’s nine years, it has collected trillions of bits of data, and it makes sense to launch a search engine to share all that information. But Facebook users best be aware that all those photos, likes and more will be archived on Graph Search, so if you’re concerned about things you’ve said, posted or liked over the last few years, now’s the time to double check your activity log under Facebook settings.

In Google’s world, its search algorithms are relying less on recognizing link building in its search engine results pages, or SERPs, and more on elevating the status of those users with good author profiles, high-quality blog content and frequent sharing of it on Google Plus and other social networks. Web users will broaden its successes in the coming years using Google Plus by making stronger efforts to build greater web visibility, along with click-throughs and website conversions.

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