It's 2012 and at this point I'm certain we can retire the debate over whether social media is a good way for businesses to engage users on these sites. It just is and that's that.
In the midst of Google's announcement about their results for the 2011 fiscal year, they nonchalantly dropped a pretty juicy piece of info concerning their social networking site:
"Google had a really strong quarter ending a great year. Full year revenue was up 29%, and our quarterly revenue blew past the $10 billion mark for the first time,” said Larry Page, CEO of Google. “I am super excited about the growth of Android, Gmail, and Google+, which now has 90 million users globally – well over double what I announced just three months ago. By building a meaningful relationship with our users through Google+ we will create amazing experiences across our services. I’m very excited about what we can do in 2012 – there are tremendous opportunities to help users and grow our business.”
Did you see what Larry Page did there? "Google+ now has 90 million users globally - well over double what I announced just three months ago." In three months, Google grew over 200% and is, I think we can officially say, booming. Page included a transcription of his remarks on his Google+ page, where another interesting bit of fact was shared:
I’m also pleased to announce that there are over 90M Google+ users -- well over double what I announced just a quarter ago on our earnings call. Engagement on + is also growing tremendously. I have some amazing data to share there for the first time: +users are very engaged with our products -- over 60% of them engage daily, and over 80% weekly.
Yup. Definitely booming.
Vic Gundotra, Senior Vice President of Engineering at Google, remarked upon the "stunning statistics" from Page's talk:
On behalf of the Google+ team, I wanted to thank you for using Google+. Four months ago, when we opened to the public, we were not sure what kind of reception we would receive. Your feedback has helped us build this service, and we can't thank you enough for your enthusiastic support.
We deeply believe in the power of people. Google can be about pages and people, about information and individuals.
This past quarter we began to simplify the Google experience. Gmail, Android, Chrome, Search, Ads, and YouTube are in the early stages of having deep support for your identity and your relationships. Expect us to deliver something truly beautiful. We've only just begun to work on that promise.
Other items of note from Page's talk:
Say what you want about the ubiquity of Facebook in our lives or the mystique that shrouds the "cult" of Apple/Mac, but Google is stirring so many pots - and very deftly, at that - that they appear to be on track win 2012 and it's only January. Throw in the fact that as early as next year the sale of Android devices very may well eclipse PCs and you'll start to believe that, in a few years, these "fiscal earning reports" will simply be called the State of the Union Address by the President of the United States of Google.