A new study from Searchmetrics reveals that sharing of online content by Facebook users far exceeds sharing by Google+ users, but offers the aggressive prediction that by February 2016, Google+ shares could take the lead. That assessment is based on a comparison of growth rates between November 2012 and April 2013, during which time the number of Facebook shares grew by about 9.5% per month, while Google+ shares grew by roughly 18.5% per month.
Extrapolating those growth rates out results in the prediction that Google+ shares would overtake Facebook shares by February 2016, at which point Google+ would be generating almost 1,100 billion shares (plus ones) per month compared to Facebook’s 849 billion. As of April 2013, the number of shares for Facebook exceeded 29 billion compared to slightly more than 2 billion for Google+.
The prediction – while interesting – needs to be treated with some caution. For one, despite signs that interest in Facebook is weakening among teens, only 1 in 4 Google+ users are active, per a separate Searchmetrics analysis of publicly visible posts. Moreover, predicting social activity on different networks is difficult at best. Finally, and perhaps most importantly, simply extrapolating a growth rate over a 3-year period neglects several variables that could stunt (or boost) those rates.
So while February 2016 may not be the month that sharing on Google+ overtakes Facebook, it’s interesting to note that at the least it’s rising at a more rapid rate. Of course, that may simply be a reflection of it being a less mature platform.
About the Data: The Searchmetrics analysis of posting activity was based on a representative sample of 100,000 randomly selected global user profiles.