Google’s social project Google+ is still in “limited” beta testing, but now boasts an estimated 18 million users. To find out who the early adopters are, research firm Experian Hitwise has released some new data on who is using Google+ and how often, including visits, demographics, and usage patterns.
Google has previously confirmed that Google+ has 10 million users. Despite that large number, Hitwise reported only 1.8 million total visits last week to plus.google.com, which made Google+ the 42nd most visited social networking site, and the 638th among all U.S. sites, ClickZ reported.
Launched on June 28, traffic steadily climbed as buzz grew and invites were sent out. Traffic peaked between July 5-12, Hitwise noted, with ClickZ reporting that Google+ had 300,000 visits for three days in a row July 12-14. July 12 and July 14 were the peak traffic days for Google+, according to Hitwise.
These traffic estimates seem pretty accurate when combined with signup estimates. Paul Allen, who has been tracking Google+ signups, noted that for two days last week, more than 2 million people signed up in a single day. However, signups are now declining, with Google averaging 948,000 new users per day – Google+ only added 750,000 users July 18 and 763,000 users July 19, according to Allen's estimates.
Which sites does Google+ trail? As of July 2, Hitwise reported the following as the top 10 most visited social networking sites: Facebook; YouTube; Meebo; Twitter; MySpace; Yahoo Answers; Tagged; myYearbook; CafeMom; and LinkedIn.
Who is using Google+? Early figures estimated that males made up about 75 percent of Google+ users, but that seems to be changing, as Hitwise estimates that 57 percent of Google+ users are male.
People between the ages of 25 and 34 (38 percent) visited Google+ most last week, though for the week before that people between ages 18 and 24 (38 percent) visited most often.
Los Angeles, New York City, and San Francisco were the top big markets for Google+. “When population differences are factored out, the cities with the most Google+ visitors per capita are Bowling Green, KY; Portland, OR; Bend, OR; and Presque Isle, ME. College towns indexed very well in general, according to Experian Hitwise spokesperson Matt Tatham,” ClickZ noted.
Not surprisingly, early adopters tend “to be more affluent, over-indexing for those earning a household income of $60k and over, particularly $150k and up.”
Google+ Usage Patterns
Average time on site is steadily increasing on Google+. Users stuck around for just under six minutes (5:50) for the week ending July 19, as compared to just under 5 minutes (4:52) for the week ending July 12, and under 3 minutes (2:56) for the week ending July 5. Meanwhile, Facebook users, on average, spent nearly 22 minutes (21:57) on Facebook last week.
Google and Gmail sent the most traffic (more than 50 percent) to Google+, with YouTube and Google profiles also contributing – in total, Google properties sent 56 percent of traffic to Google+. Facebook was the third most visited site before Google+. Overall, search engines drove 37 percent of visits.
Experian Hitwise’s data was collected between June 28 and July 19.