Google Plus Users Haven’t Learned to Share

Social activity is light, even if sign-ups are high

It’s the second most popular social network by some measures, but when it comes to sharing, Google+ has the least reach compared to its rivals, according to the latest data from the social media tech firm Gigya.

Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest and LinkedIn all incite more sharing on their networks than Google+, per Gigya, which claims to measure how 1.5 billion Web users share content each month.

In fact, Gigya manages the sharing functionality for more than 700 partners online. According to its data, just 3 percent of all social sharing went to Google+ from July to September.

By comparison, 41 percent of users shared content on Facebook; 20 percent shared on Twitter; 20 percent posted to Pinterest; and 4 percent to LinkedIn. Google+ counts more users than all of these platforms except Facebook because any user of Google services has a corresponding Plus account.

Google+ is strong, however, when it comes to social logins—people connecting their Plus profiles to sign up for third-party websites, apps and services. More than a quarter of logins used in the third quarter were attributed to Google+ accounts. Facebook controls more than half of social login activity, according to Gigya.

Brands and advertisers are still testing the potential of Google’s social network, which incorporates a number of the same capabilities of Twitter, Facebook, messaging and photo-sharing apps.

Some brands and publishers haven’t even embraced Google+ yet as an option for sharing on their sites, which industry experts say is a mistake. A presence on Google+ and embracing its tools could even affect search engine rankings, Gigya said.

Google today also revealed it is testing a new Google+ display ad that could be shown across its network of 2 million websites. The “+Posts” are just that —Google Plus Posts from brands—that is, within banner ads. They do not run on Google+, but they look like Google+, offering brands many of the same functions, including video and enabling comments.

Brands such as Toyota and Cadbury are among the test partners. Toyota has embraced a number of new social media marketing platforms for its 2014 Corolla campaign—for instance, it developed a Tumblr page and is driving traffic to it with sponsored activity on Facebook and Twitter.