Publishers who have tried using Google Reader and Google+ should not be too surprised to learn that the RSS feed drives more traffic to websites than the fledgling social network.
But data from BuzzFeed show that Google+ drives a mere sliver of Google-related traffic to its partner sites compared to Google Reader. The BuzzFeed Network has a collective user base of more than 300 million people.
Between August 2012 and today, Google Reader had a low point of 5 million referrals in November 2012 and peaked at 25 million referrals in February 2013, while Google+ stayed on the low end of the under 5 million category throughout.
(See a visualization of the data and an explanation of how they arrived at these numbers here.)
But the same evidence shows that Google is not wrong to pursue a social solution. Compared to Facebook, which drove more than 70 million visitors to BuzzFeed Network sites in August 2012, Google Reader brought in less than 10 million visitors, according to BuzzFeed.
Google plans to shut down Google Reader in July 2013.
Image by SteveWoods.