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This article was published on February 28, 2012

According to comScore, users are spending just 3 minutes per month on Google+

According to comScore, users are spending just 3 minutes per month on Google+

According to the Wall Street Journal, new data from comScore on Google+ shows that the social network isn’t doing as well as expected.

We’ve reported on how major users are clocking up the follower numbers, with Britney Spears shooting past the 2 million follower mark, and even Google+ pages reaching 1 million followers. But according to comScore’s figures, users might be circling away on Google+, but aren’t staying on the social network long enough to do anything else.

The latest figures released by Google put the total user count at 90 million, with a reported daily engagement rate of 60%. At the time, Marketing Land was quick to call out Google on the figure, saying that it related to all of Google’s products, not just its social network.

Users spend 3 minutes per month on Google+

Now, ComScore’s figures are also telling a very different story, saying that users spent an average of only 3 minutes per month on Google+ between September and January. It is also worth nothing that this figure does not include mobile usage.

Google has been doing its best to drive traffic from its search engine to the social network by placing Google+ profiles front and centre. The move was quick to trigger an outcry over antitrust issues, and doesn’t appear to have done too much to convince Google search users to spend any time on the social network.

The inevitable comparison between Facebook, Google and Twitter, has put Google+ in second place, ahead of Twitter when it comes to its growth rate. Some figures put Google+’s brand page growth rate at four times faster than Twitter.

We already know that these figures are nothing in comparison to the following that brands have garnered on Facebook, but time spent – the one figure that Google has steadfastly refused to publicly discuss – apparently is its Achille’s heel.

Users spend 7 hours per month on Facebook

In comparison, Facebook dwarfs Google+ in terms of time spent. According to WSJ, that figure currently stands at 7 hours a month. Last September, figures were revealed that 16% of a user’s time online per day is spent on Facebook.

For all its features, Google+ may simply have come into the picture too late. While it has a buzzing and active photography community engaging with one another, if comScore’s figures are to be believed – there might not be much beyond that.

While the growth rates are impressive, they mean nothing if a user signs up and never returns. Have we had our fill of social networks? Maintaining a Google+, Twitter and Facebook account certainly does prove to be challenging, let alone other niche and mobile options available to users such as Instagram and Path.

Looking at it from a marketing point of view is where the real problems begin to appear. But something tells us that Google knows exactly what its doing. Advertising has yet to be introduced on the site, so clearly it knows that the social network isn’t ready. Yet.

Do these figures matter?

ComScore’s figures are courtesy of a third party, so should they be taken with a grain of salt? Even if they should, if Google had stellar engagement and time spent rates, would they not have shared them along with their impressive sign up rate?

But as our own Drew Olanoff said, Google isn’t sharing these figures because Google doesn’t have to share them. Engagement on Google+ and Facebook are very different beasts. As we’ve said again and again, there is far more to be considered, including how people are actually using the service.

These figures will no doubt be the start of yet another round of ‘Google+ is dead’ articles. Google+ has been around for about 9 months, and the question is, when do we really begin to give up on the social network?

Giving up on the service within 9 months seems extremely hasty, considering that neither Facebook nor Twitter reached their current engagement rates in the space of 9 months.

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