Google Versus Facebook

Google logo on glass building
••• Justin Sullivan/Staff/Getty Images

There was a day when people would compare Facebook and Google. Obviously, there were major differences; Google was a search engine, Facebook was a social network. However, now Google has entered the picture with Google+, their version of a social network. Facebook and Google+ have a few similarities, and now many are asking where they should spend their time. The answer is easy: spend your time where you will get the most value. Here's a breakdown of how the two stack up. 

What Facebook Offers

  • Circles
    • You use circles to share specific things with specific people. You may not want your customers seeing the same things you post to a networking group. You can have a coworker's circle where you only share things with those you team up with or work with. It makes it a little easier to keep your business life and your personal life separate. You can do this with Facebook, but you'll need to create those groups as a list. This can be somewhat cumbersome.
  • Group Chat 
    • The Facebook Group Chat is a new addition, is very user-friendly, and is one of the most-used features on the social media platform. There's also a friend's list chat so that you can chat with one friend online, and not others.
  • Streams
    • Trailing behind Google in streaming usability, in May 2018, Facebook began making some updates to its Live video platform, which will streamline the process of getting a stream set up and in front of the widest possible audience. They’re also testing a rewind feature for the Live video, something previously unavailable.  
  • Privacy
    • Facebook does not tell you that they're going to use data they gather from your account activity, location, etc. to sell ads—actually, they are very obtuse about it. More importantly, in April 2018, CEO Mark Zuckerberg tested before Congress for letting malicious parties have access to user data. The breach stemmed from a Cambridge Analytica ad. Cambridge Analytica, a political consulting firm that did work for the Trump campaign in 2016, harvested raw data from up to 87 million Facebook users. Facebook has since embarked on a three-year campaign to protect user data.
  • Messaging
    • Facebook's iMessage option allows users to share private content with other iMessage users in real time. It's a very useful tool for active users of the platform, and an option not offered on Google Plus.

What Google+ Offers

  • Video Chat (Hangouts)
    • One feature that Google+ offers that is appealing from a business perspective is video chats. You can have up to 10 people join you for a video chat, called Hangouts. You can do a Q&A or a product demonstration. Many musicians are also using Google Hangouts to post performances to reach a broader audience. Users can also send a private message to a friend by creating a status update and setting it so that it only publishes on one person's stream. 
  • Sparks
    • Sparks is a recommendation engine that Google has put together for Google+ users that allows users to easily find information based on their interests. Sparks is a favorite Google+ feature because not only can you share content with your users, but users who have created sparks that correlate with what you share can also see that information.
  • Streams
    • This allows you to tweak your Google+ streams so that you can view them exactly the way you want to see them. All you need to do is select what circles you want to see in your stream and you're set.
  • Privacy
    • Google tells you that they're going to use data they gather from your location and search activity in order to make Google+ more useful. They also say they're using your activity to serve up relevant ads to you in other places (like in Google.com searches). There is a profit angle for Google from your usage of the Google+ service, but they're upfront about it.
  • Searching​
    • Using Google+ and tying it to your Google Profile, you will start to see some rapid spikes in search traffic. There are early indications that being active on Google+ will help with the visibility of your company and website.
    • If you haven't seen a return on investment from Facebook's searchability, it may be time to evaluate where you are spending your social networking time.

Where to Spend Your Social Networking Time

When evaluating your social media return on investment for clients, look at the following things to determine value:

  • Increase in website visitors
  • Increase of impressions
  • Positive press mentions
  • Click-throughs
  • Positive word-of-mouth mentions
  • Employment applications submitted to your business
  • Blog mentions
  • Increased followers through such platforms as Twitter and LinkedIn

When you figure out which network gives you the best results from the items above, invest in it by jumping in with both feet. That's the key to social media success.

How the Numbers Stack Up

Facebook

When it comes to social media statistics, Facebook tends to be the standard against which all other networks are now compared. Here are some of the most current Facebook statistics as of 2018:

  • As of April 2018, Facebook reports an estimated 2.2 billion monthly active users.
  • Facebook also says it has 1.4 billion daily active users.
  • Over 300 million photos are uploaded to Facebook every day.
  • On average, five Facebook accounts are created every second.
  • Approximately 30 percent of Facebook users are between the ages of 25 and 34.
  • Facebook video is still in high demand, with approximately eight billion video views per day.

Google Plus

Google+ was launched in 2011 and was meant to be a social layer across all of Google’s products. As of 2018, it remains a strong staple in the world of social networks.

Here are some interesting Google+ user statistics:

  • There are approximately 395 million monthly active users on Google+.
  • Google+ is estimated to have over two billion registered users worldwide.
  • Twenty-eight percent of Google+ users are between the ages of 15 and 34.
  • The United States alone constitutes 55 percent of all the users.
  • Gender-wise, 73.7 percent of the users are male, 26.3 percent are female.
  • It is estimated that, on average, a Google+ user will spend 3 minutes and 46 seconds per visit.

Unfortunately, Google is not interested in sharing social media statistics and keeps much of that data private.