Come On Google, Show Us Some Real Google+ User Numbers Already


Last week, the Wall Street Journal reported that things aren't looking so great for Google+. According to data from comScore, Google+'s users spend just about 3 minutes per month on the site. On Facebook, that number is closer to six or seven hours per month. Google itself, however, has never provided anybody with any useful data about the service and – at worst – is just using deliberately misleading information to provide the press with big numbers that look good but are absolutely meaningless.

100 Million "Active" Users?

In January, for example the company's CEO Larry Page said that the site had 90 million users at that time and that "+users are very engaged with our products — over 60% of them engage daily, and over 80% weekly." That, however, was a pretty misleading statement. While it may sound that Page was saying that 60% of Google+ users come back to Google+ every day, his argument was simply that 60% of those users who signed up for Google+ also use any other Google+ service on a daily basis. Those numbers said absolutely nothing about the engagement Google+ is seeing from its users.

Today, Google's VP for engineering Vic Gundotra – in what is clearly a reaction to the WSJ piece – talked to the New York Times' Nick Bilton and once again used the same kind of tactic. "On a daily basis, 50 million people who have created a Google Plus account actively use the company’s Google Plus-enhanced products, Mr. Gundotra said. Over a 30-day period, he said, that number is 100 million active users." Google+, of course, is now part of virtually every other Google product, including search, which most of the company's users probably use on a daily basis without ever trying to actively engage with the company's social network.

Nice, Meaningless Numbers

Google is obviously trying to paint a nice picture here by using large numbers that, at the end of the day, say nothing about Google+ and how engaged its users are. Maybe things are great at Google+ and it has a huge, highly active community (though most of us aren't seeing it in our own accounts). The problem with this is that unless Google provides us with any concrete data, it just looks as if the company has something to hide.

1:56 pm

Study: Mobile Web and App Usage Now at Parity


The online analytics company comScore released its annual "Mobile Future in Focus" report earlier this morning. Just ahead of the Mobile World Congress in Barcelona next week, comScore is taking a closer look at how consumers in the U.S., the five largest European markets and Japan are using their phones. The report is far too long to be summarized here, but here is an interesting statistic that I don't think most people are aware of: mobile Internet users now use apps at about almost exactly the same rate as they use the web on their devices.

ComScore 2012 mobile browser and apps



European Smartphone Users Still Different from their U.S. Counterparts

There are some interesting differences between the U.S. and the top European countries. Even though the overall smartphone penetration is about the same in the U.S., Germany, Spain, France, the UK and Italy (41.8% in the U.S., 44% in those five largest European markets), Europeans don't quite use the mobile web and apps at the same rate as their counterparts on the other side of the Atlantic.

Maybe this is due to the fact that European and U.S. users do have slightly different usage patterns, with European users, for example, using mobile email significantly less than U.S. users (30% vs. 41%). They also seem to be less interested in using social networking platforms and reading blogs while on the go (26% vs. 35%).

Another factor may be the higher popularity of tablets in the U.S. when compared to every other major market. According to comScore, more than 14% of U.S. smartphone owners also own a tablet. In Germany, that numbers is just 7.4%, while the other European countries fall in between the 8% to 11% range.

ComScore 2012 Mobile Future in Focus pdf  page 28 of 49

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9:59 am

December Was Not a Good Month for Video on Facebook


Online metrics company comScore just released its monthly rankings of U.S. video properties. As usual, Google's YouTube remains far ahead of the competition with 157 million unique visitors who spent an average of 471.9 minutes on the site and watched 21 billion videos. The music-focused network VEVO came in second, but while Facebook was in third place in November with about 50 million uniques, it has now been overtaken by Yahoo's properties and fallen to fifth place with just about 42 million uniques. The length of the average number of minutes watch on the social network per user was up a bit, though, (23.9 minutes vs. 19.1)

While there is always some volatility in comScore's rankings, this slip by Facebook is pretty remarkable. The change may have been due to the holidays, where college students spent more time offline than usual. This is probably only part of the reason, though, as Facebook had 60 million uniques in October. It'll be interesting to see if this downward trend continues in January.

While Facebook had a bad month with regard to video then, Amazon did quite well. While Facebook may have suffered from the holidays, Amazon may have profited from the fact that more people were looking to watch long-form videos online. The site's viewership didn't even rank in comScore's top 10 in November, but came in as #9 with 28 million viewers and 95 million video views.

ComScore Releases December 2011 U S Online Video Rankings  comScore Inc

8:51 am

Amazon Breaks Into Online Video Top 10


When it comes to online video, YouTube has remained the #1 destination for U.S. Internet users for a long time now. There has always been some volatility in the lower ranks of the top 10 of online video destinations in the U.S., however, where Facebook and Hulu have been slowly moving up the ranks and organizations like NBC Universal and others have been struggling to hold on to their top 10 ranking. According to the latest data from comScore’s Video Metrix service, Amazon has now entered comScore’s list of top 10 online video sites for the first time.

Amazon is definitely the smallest of the top 10 sites by far, though. Hulu is in ninth position with 157 million viewing sessions and 26 million viewers, while Amazon only served up 43 million viewing sessions to a (still respectable) 21 million unique viewers.

Driven by Product Videos, Not Instant Video

What’s really interesting about Amazon’s statistics is the low number of minutes users spend on the site. On average, users just watch 8.3 minutes of video there per month. Even on Facebook, which ranks ninth in terms of minutes watched per viewer, users watch about 21 minutes of video per month.

Clearly then, Amazon’s numbers are driven more by short product videos than by its Hulu and Netflix challenger Instant Video, though the number likely represents a mix of all of Amazon’s video products. While this doesn’t bode too well for Instant Video, it does show the power of having product videos on an e-commerce site. I’ve asked comScore for some clarification about Amazon’s numbers and the ratio between Instant Video and product video views and will update this post once I hear back from them.

Below is the full comScore top 10 for June 2011:


4:01 pm

Online Shopping Sets New Records During 2010 Holiday Season


Online shoppers in the U.S. spent $32.6 billion during the 2010 holiday season – a 12% increase when compared to last year and, according to online analytics company comScore, an “all-time record for the season.” Interestingly, while the power of Cyber Monday has often been downplayed recently as online shoppers don’t have to go to work to get online anymore, this year’s Monday after Thanksgiving was the busiest online shopping day of the season. Online shoppers spent slightly more than $1 billion on this day alone (up 16% from last year) – making it the first day to top the billion dollar mark since comScore started tracking this data.

Half of All Transactions Included Free Shipping

It doesn’t come as a surprise that the 2010 holiday season performed much better than last year’s. After all, the U.S. was still in the throes of a major recession. This year, the availability of free shipping offers also gave shoppers more reasons to buy online. According to comScore almost half of all e-commerce transactions were shipped for free.



9:58 am