Wednesday, 8 August 2012

Google+ Demographics: One Year On

Seeing as it's just over a year after Google launched it's first social product, I decided to do some digging and look into some of the statistics behind the reports of dizzying growth, and being the fastest-growing social network of all time.

At a glance, according to the publicly available information on PlusDemographics, the current worldwide Google+ audience can be broken down in the following way:

  • 70% Male 
  • 30% female 
  • 79% between the ages of 18-34 
  • Top occupations: 
    • Student
    • Software engineer
    • Consultant
  • Top UK employer? The NHS! Danny Boyle would be so proud...
So that information certainly poses a few questions for Google+ in the future. Personally, I don't think that the ultimate aim for Google+ is to own the social space. It would be spreading itself too thinly to do that, and besides, I don't think they'll ever knock Facebook off their perch, even if they tried.

I don't want to comment along gender lines on this. Too much is made of the fact that Pinterest is a site heavily-frequented by women. You don't hear people talking about Facebook or Twitter in these terms, and I don't think it's fair to judge a social network along cutesy gender lines - whether it's a twee-fest or a sausage-fest is irrelevant - what is relevant is whether it's helping people connect in an effective, meaningful way.

I think Google+ could become the King/Queen of this wave of niche networks - social networks you can form that are based around interests, rather than strong ties.

It's totally independent and unreliant on Facebook - unlike Pinterest and Instagram, which both rely heavily on being built into Facebook's open graph or Twitters app ecosystem - meaning the only whims it's subject to are the whims of Google, and the direction they want to go in.

It will remain niche, but niche on a large scale - a place to share updates with like-minded people. And, like most niche networks, it's not for everybody - so don't expect your mum or dad to be on there any time soon - but expect to see plenty more savvy niche brands and interests start to find their home there in the next year.

It's been a rocky year, for sure - but I wouldn't bet against Google+ being a success in Google's eyes, if not in the eyes of the mainstream media

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