Many companies today are struggling with the decision of whether or not to use Google Plus for business marketing. Yes, the social network is connected with the giant Google, which seems to control practically everything these days. And yes, there are many, many users who have Google Plus profiles. But how valuable is using Google Plus – really – for advertising and marketing purposes? Is it worth it, especially when time limitations place constraints on which social media tools you focus on? This post will give you the information you need to make that decision.

A Look at Historical Google Plus Demographics
Google Plus launched in mid-2011. By the end of 2013, the new networking platform had raked in 300+ million users (more than one-third of Facebook’s own 864+ million users). So through sheer numbers alone, Google Plus would appear to be a significant force in the social media marketplace.

But what about time spent on the network versus time spent elsewhere? Careful analysis of the period between 2013 and 2015-to-date shows that Google Plus only has one-third as much user time logged (averaging around 7 minutes) as Facebook does (21 minutes per user per day). As well, the demographics are quite different. While most social media networks, Facebook included, have fairly equal numbers of female and male registrants, Google Plus comes in at an astounding 70 percent male!

However, having said that, Google Plus share rates are roughly equivalent to Facebook share rates, and posts linked to a company brand also enjoyed similar interaction rates with Facebook.

Who Uses Google Plus?
So what does this all add up to – other than total confusion about how to proceed? The truth is, there are certain grey areas behind Google Plus’s sudden rise to prominence in the world of social media networking.

For instance, since Google owns YouTube, it linked YouTube user comments with Google Plus, which made profile creation statistics shoot up. Also, Google at first ranked bloggers with Google Plus accounts higher in search engine results than bloggers without accounts. Here again, the tactic was successful – if shady.

But the result is a user base heavily skewed towards tech-savvy single males in their mid-40’s to mid-50’s, which is a rather selective base of prospective customers for marketers to work with.

How to Choose Your Google Plus Strategy
So here are some key learnings to consider as you decide whether or how much to incorporate Google Plus into your company’s social media marketing and advertising plan.

Here are three points to consider when creating your plan:

1. Who is your target market? If your target audience is single tech-savvy males in their 40’s and 50’s, Google Plus might just be marketing gold for your company, because they hang out here – in droves!

2. How involved do you want to be? If you plan to spend only a short amount of time getting active in social media each day, well, that pretty much matches the attitude of most Google Plus active users!

3. How flexible are you to social media changes? Google has made it abundantly clear they know how to build a powerful user base, but beyond that they’ve made it equally clear they’re not sure what to do with Google Plus as a whole. So it could change or even disappear – abruptly and at any time.

These three considerations will help you decide if pursuing (or continuing) with a marketing plan that includes Google Plus is the right choice for your company.

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About the Author: Jennifer Mathews