Google+ gaining on Facebook?

Don’t be too fast to discount the social media cred of Google+. Google’s stab at social networking might be more successful than most have speculated, according to a survey released recently by digital marketing agency Greenlight.

The global Search and Social Survey (2001-2012) queried 500 people ranging from various professions including students and the unemployed to find out about their online habits and use of social networks and search engines.

The survey found that 23 per cent of Google use have been “+1ing” listings in Google search results thereby providing Google an enormous amount of data on what people like.

When compared to the 35 per cent of users that Greenlight’s survey found routinely ‘like’ a brand or company on Facebook, “then it is not that significantly more than Google’s social signal collection,” said Andreas Pouros, chief operatinf officer of the United Kingdom-based Greenlight.

However, the digital marketing firm also found that 28 per cent of the respondents said they had no ideal what “+1” actually meant. Greenlight, though, believes this sentiment will rapidly decrease over time.

Facebook’s search engine potentials

“These stats therefore suggest Facebook could capture around 22 per cent of the global search market by simply launching its own search engine tomorrow morning,” Pouros. “. “It wouldn’t need to be a spectacular engine either, just well integrated into the Facebook experience and generally competent.”

The company’s research revealed that five per cent of respondents said they would “definitely” use a future Facebook search engine if the firm were to launch one to rival Google’s.

The other extreme, those categorically saying that they simply would not use a future Facebook search engine, totalled 26 per cent of all respondents.

Those responding in the “definitely” and “probably” camps were 17 per cent. Those that ticked off “no” and “probably not,” totaled 48 per cent.

“What’s more, the results also suggest Facebook could increase that projected market share to a maximum of 50 per cent within a few years by converting the least overtly loyal Google users over to them,” Pouros said. However, that increase would need to come from the 27 per cent of respondents who replied “maybe, but only if it was better than Google and Bing.”

Facebook already integrates Bing into its search function, but it is a buried option in the navigational side-bar post query, so this really does not constitute its own search engine by any real definition.

Google+ is already important

“Brands and e-retailers need to be encouraging +1’s in Google, as it isn’t something that might be important in the future – it already is,” said Pouros.

“Google+ affects natural search rankings and will have an increasing impact over time across every Google product they utilise – AdWords, price comparison, Shopping, YouTube, etc,” he added.

Nestor ArellanoNestor Arellano is a Senior Writer at ITBusiness.ca. E-mail him at narellano@itbusiness.ca, follow him on Twitter, connect on , read his blog, and join the IT Business Facebook Page.
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