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Google+ versus Facebook— Facts Revealed! (A Social Networks Survey: Part 2, Usage)

Google+ versus Facebook— Facts Revealed! (A Social Networks Survey: Part 2, Usage)

Last week, we kicked off our 4-part series profiling the differences between Google+ and Facebook. Using SurveyMonkey Audience, we surveyed over 1,400 people to get a sense of how the public uses the two social media platforms. We then distilled the results down into four distinct categories:

  • User engagement
  • Feature usage
  • Predictions of future usage
  • Site strengths and weaknesses

In our first post, we compared user engagement on the two social networking sites and based on the responses provided, we concluded that Facebook was the winner in terms of sheer volume of people logging on and actively posting updates.

This week, we’re diving deeper to see exactly what people are using Google+ and Facebook for once they’re logged in. Based on the results of our survey, the data shows that, on average, users are engaging with features on Facebook (e.g., posting status updates, sharing content, following people) over three times more than people on Google+. Among the most commonly reported activities on each site:

Communication: the overwhelming majority of respondents who identified as Facebook users ( 87%) say they use Facebook to stay in touch with friends. Almost a third of Google+ users (29%) use Google+ for the same purpose.

Photos: the second most common activity people do on each site is share photos.  While a little more than half of respondents use Facebook (53%) to post or view photos, far fewer use Google+ (13%) do the same.

Status updates: Respondents use Facebook to post status updates at nearly 4 times the rate (42%) of Google+ (13%).

Additionally, respondents reported using Facebook for promoting their businesses. “Advertise,” “Business” and “Promote” were some of the most commonly used words when we asked respondents to type in any other activity they did that we didn’t include in our multiple choice questions. At the same time, given Google’s dominance in email and search, it’s not surprising that common occurring words for Google+ users were: “Google,” “Search,” “Mail,” and “Email.”

Looks like Facebook is yet again the winner in terms feature usage. But will that continue to be the case? Check back next week when look what users expect their usage will be like in the future on each site. Until then, click here to see the full set of this week’s results.

Interested in running your own social networking study? Looking for respondents to fill out a survey? Sound off in the comments section below.


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  • marc

    I know its popular to write about FB these days, and maybe that’s the intent, but I don’t know anyone yet who is convinced G+ is even remotely close to FB given that G+ is in its infancy. It just seems like all these writers producing comparisons are restating the obvious…that G+ is still a long ways off. Thanks for the update, but we’re all well aware G+ is still less than a year old.

    Maybe this would be something more relevant in a few years when G+ has grown up a bit. Or even better yet, maybe compare it to Twitter since most folks I know on G+ use it like Twitter for the time being…not to mention G+ has to pass Twitter long before it can compete with FB.

    • Hanna J

      Hi Marc – Thanks for your feedback. A Google+ versus Twitter survey would make for an interesting survey! What kinds of questions would you be interested to learn the answers to. If you’re interested, you could team up with SurveyMonkey Audience to ask them yourself:

      You’re right, Facebook clearly has the lead in the social arena right now (as our survey results support). Google’s dominance in the only space, and Google+’s unique features, like the “hangout” for example, make it a network to watch, in our opinion.

      It sounds like you may be interested in the next two posts: future use predictions, and site strengths and weaknesses. Check back in on Mondays to see what the results show.

  • ‘Wale Oni

    It’s nice knowing the comparative results of SNS usage between the two social media giants. But more trends of usage play out to reflect some socio-cultural biases to “facebook” usage especially in Nigeria. Usage bifurcates into two universal and culture-specific, while users are generally either 1. individual (living non celebrity), living (celebrity), Dead (hero/celebrity/icon etc.) normally with account opened to “like” ideologies or other +ve attributes; 2. Corporate/Body/Organisation/Community (profit and/or not for profit association). General usage pattern oscillates between Social Communication (i.e. keeping in touch with friends – including prospective friends, suitors and dates), Religious Communication and Political Postings/Commentaries. Please include these purview in subsequent surveys. I LOVE SURVEYMONKEY!!

    • Hanna J

      Hi ‘Wale – Thanks for your feedback. We will absolutely take it into account for future surveys. Thanks too, for your kind words. We <3 you too!

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