Google+ vs LinkedIn
The Captain's Blog
Since the beginning of time (15th May 2012 - the day we started Chi-Squared Innovations) we have "engaged with the world", using various Social Media platforms. As we progressed we measured our engagement, and we present here our results for 2013 for Our Top 2 performing Social Media platforms - Google+ and LinkedIn...
Why is Social Media Important?
In 2013 Google+ had over 500 million users, and 80% of those users logged in at least once a week
LinkedIn had 238 million users in 2013, there were 1.5 million Groups and over 80% of users belonged to at least one group. LinkedIn is more popular with the more intellectual-minded audience - half of all users have at least one Bachelor's or Graduate degree
With these kinds of numbers, businesses can find some seriously large audiences. That's the optimist's view
The pessimist will say that with such a large crowd it can be almost impossible to get noticed
We take the view that both of these points-of-view are perfectly valid
So how can we rise above the noise and get noticed by the right crowd?
We all know the answer to this one - post interesting and engaging content regularly and build your audience little by little, day by day. Eventually you'll notice your audience growing
Engaging Social Media Content
OK, so how do we define 'engaging content'?
Simple - we don't!
By definition, content is engaging when people engage with it - so it is the audience that decides, not us
If we want to find out what content is engaging (and just as importantly, where people are engaging with it) we need to measure how the crowd engages with our posts, so we came up with a way to do that (well, we are a data analytics company, after all...)
Measuring Social Media Engagement
We decided to place scores on certain types of engagement for each post (counted over a period of 2 weeks from the post going live), like so:
Social Media Engagements Points
Notice that we haven't allocated any points for when a post has been viewed or read (LinkedIn gives these numbers but Google+ doesn't)
We figure that just because someone hasn't engaged with a post, it doesn't mean that they are not interested
For example, as a result of reading one of our posts, someone could go and search Bing, Yahoo or Google for "Chi-Squared Innovations", go to the website and sign up for our newsletter. We cannot know that they found us as a result of reading a specific post, so sometimes there is a disconnect between Social Media and Google Analytics, and these disconnects can't be measured so we have no idea what value to put on them. Hence - zero
+1s and Likes are awarded a single point because such engagement is limited
Comments should be more highly-valued because it gives us the opportunity to engage and build a relationship with the reader
Top of the pile are the Shares because this kind of engagement gives the post a whole new audience that it hadn't previously reached. Social Media Gold-Dust!
OK, so ultimately, what is the point of Social Media engagement?
Well, there are 2 important points (for us - your objectives may differ):
- Create, build and maintain relationships
- Encourage engagement with the Chi-Squared Innovations website
With these objectives in mind we also need to measure the traffic on our website from the various Social Media channels (Google Analytics) and track how many of these choose to 'Follow' us, and in which Social Media outlet (AddThis plug-in analytics)
Well, enough of the pre-amble - it's time for the results!
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We all know that a picture paints a thousand words, so we've created a handy Infographic to illustrate Our results of Google+ vs LinkedIn for 2013:
Infographic: Effectiveness of Google+ vs LinkedIn 2013
We found that our Google+ posts had 11 times the levels of engagement of LinkedIn. People seemed much more likely to comment and share in Google+ than LinkedIn, but we were surprised at how great the difference was
Google+ 1-0 LinkedIn
Interestingly, we had 7 times the number of visitors from LinkedIn compared to Google+. It seems that although people engage with posts more in Google+, in LinkedIn they are more likely to read the post and then go and visit the website. Clearly, LinkedIn is not dead!
Google+ 1-1 LinkedIn
Of all the people that decided to 'Follow' us whilst on the website (whether Chi-Squared Innovations or my personal Social Media channels), LinkedIn had 30% more of the 'Follows' than Google+, making the score:
Google+ 1-2 LinkedIn
So LinkedIn has come from behind, but with 2 more tests to perform there's still enough time for Google+ to launch a come-back of its own...
Well, LinkedIn visitors stayed on the website for a massive 80% longer than Google+ visitors, and that gives LinkedIn the title for 2013:
Google+ 1-3 LinkedIn
Final test, can Google+ claim some respectability and make it a close-run thing?
Nope! LinkedIn visitors viewed 10% more pages on the site than visitors from Google+. I guess 10% is pretty close, and almost a draw ('tie' if you're in the good old US of A), but that makes the final score for 2013:
Google+ 1-4 LinkedIn
Of real importance, we also noticed that of the people that registered on the Chi-Squared Innovations website for newsletters and to be kept up-to-date were mostly not the same people who engaged with us in the Social Media, even though that's where they found us!
That's really important to note:
Just because they don't engage with your posts, it doesn't mean they're not interested...
There really isn't much point in measuring engagement unless you intend to make changes as a result of what you find - unless what you find is perfection!
So what improvements can we make to our Social Media engagement?
In the spirit of trying to foster relationships we need to stop considering the Social Media channels as disparate entities. If Mr X engages with us on LinkedIn, we should try harder to encourage additional engagement in Google+ and through the Chi-Squared Innovations website (and emails, newsletters, blog comments, etc.). We need to consider Social Media and the website as a continuum for relationship possibilities
Of course, that doesn't mean spamming them - we hate spam as much as anyone else, so we wouldn't do that (and besides, it's counter-productive)
Once we can communicate with Mr X, Mrs Y and Dr Z through any and all media at our disposal, then the process of building and maintaining relationships should be accelerated, and if they decided to close their LinkedIn accounts, that's OK - we're still in contact via Google+, newsletters, etc., and we don't suddenly lose them
Predictions for 2014
It's fair to say that LinkedIn well and truly stuffed Google+ in 2013, but that's not the end of the story...
Google+ is very much the 'baby' of the 4 main Social Media channels (if you've lived under a rock for the past decade and didn't know, the other 3 are Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn) and still has some catching up to do
Our analysis (results not shown here) shows that the numbers for Google+ have been improving throughout 2013, and we wouldn't be at all surprised if Google+ didn't at least make parity with LinkedIn in 2014, and maybe even overtake it
And The Winner Is...
OK, so both Google+ and LinkedIn have been pretty good Social Media channels for us in 2013 (and the less said about Facebook and Twitter, the better...), so the overall winner for 2013 is:
Well, it's not about winning - as I said higher up in the post, it's about building relationships. As soon as you stop building (and stop working on) those relationships, you find yourself falling back into the background noise that Social Media creates and you begin to be anonymous
We know that because whenever we get too busy to engage for any longer than a week or so the number of visitors to the website fall off a cliff!
In an age where business is increasingly done online and through the Social Media, can you afford to be anonymous?
About the Author
Lee Baker is an award-winning software creator with a passion for turning data into a story.
A proud Yorkshireman, he now lives by the sparkling shores of the East Coast of Scotland. Physicist, statistician and programmer, child of the flower-power psychedelic ‘60s, it’s amazing he turned out so normal!
Turning his back on a promising academic career to do something more satisfying, as the CEO and co-founder of he now works double the hours for half the pay and 10 times the stress - but 100 times the fun!
He also wanted to be rich, famous and good looking. Ah well.
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