Sharing of online content by users on Google+ will surpass sharing by Facebook users by February 2016, according to a new US study from Searchmetrics.
The study, based on a comparison of the average monthly growth in the number of Facebook ‘shares’ and their equivalent, ‘plus ones’, on Google+ in the US, found that Facebook shares in billions grew by almost 10 per cent per month.
Meanwhile, Google+’s average growth of plus ones was almost 19 per cent per month.
According to the initial study, which covers the six month period from November 2012 to April 2013, if growth continues in this way, Google+ would be generating more monthly shares than Facebook by February 2016 (graph 1).
By May 2016 Google+ would be predicted to achieve around 1096 billion shares per month while Facebook would be generating approximately 849 billion shares per month.
To better understand the trends, Searchmetrics conducted a longer 15-month analysis of the percentage growth rate of Google+ plus ones and Facebook shares in the US from January 2012 to April 2013.
This showed the steep growth curve for Google+ compared to Facebook’s slow, steady growth (graph 2).
“In April 2013, the absolute number of shares for Facebook was over 29 billion compared with just over two billion plus ones for Google+ - so Facebook activity in terms of sharing was 15 times greater than that of Google+,” said Marcus Tober, founder and CTO of Searchmetrics.
“Facebook is growing from its extremely large base to something larger and is therefore slower. But it’s remarkable that Facebook is still growing. And that's why the blue giant appears to be unquestionably ahead of the market right now. But our data shows Google+ can catch it if growth rates for sharing activity continue as they are.”
The latest data from eMarketer indicates that Facebook is currently the most popular social network with around 51 per cent of global internet users logging onto the site at least once a month. Google+ comes second with a penetration of 26 per cent of internet users worldwide.
For the studies quoted above, the company analysed anonymous data on user sharing activity on Facebook and Google+ during the aforementioned periods.