In an article published by Jon Mitchell, online yesterday, it was stated, “Mainstream news organizations are not yet getting much value out of Google+. The value proposition for publishers should be huge.”
Additionally, from the same article, Mitchell cited, ” The Searchmetrics numbers show, simultaneously, that being a suggested news organization doesn’t lead to lots of Google+ followers and that having lots of followers doesn’t lead to lots of engagement.”
What simply fails to impress me is the fact that although some of the most notable news outlets in the world are not getting the attention they might deserve, both online and off. The number of subscribers to The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal and other notable print and digital news outlets are steadily shrinking away. Here’s a recap of the published data from Mitchell’s piece:
Of the top U.S. newspapers, The New York Times has the most popular Google+ page by more than double. As of April 2, when Searchmetrics collated the data, it was in the circles of 360,032 people. The Wall Street Journal had 149,905 followers. It drops off precipitously after that.
The Los Angeles Times had 21,294 encirclers, and The Washington Post had 19,674. Then it drops off another order of magnitude for USA Today and Chicago Sun-Times, and then you’re into the hundreds of followers.
The New York Times, with over 360,000 followers, receives an average of 26,665 +1s per week. That’s fewer than one +1d article a week for every 10 followers. The Times only posts to Google+ a few times per week, and it’s not always posting links to NYTimes.com pages. But few of its Google+ posts have more than 50 +1s, and they theoretically reach 360,000 people.
Notably, there is no +1 button in the sharing option on NYTimes.com.
What’s even weirder is that, with 5% of the followers of The Washington Post and The New York Times has, gets more +1s than any other newspaper. With 33,206 +1s per week on average, the Post is the only major U.S. paper (with more than 200 followers) that gets a significant multiple of weekly +1s per follower. It gets 1.7 +1s per person encircling it, and the rest of the leaders get a small fraction of their follower count.
Now, the Post has the +1 in its share buttons on WashingtonPost.com:
Am I the only one noticing the lack of impression (sorry for the pun, I couldn’t help it) Google + is making with the segment of members that read the “traditional news media?”
With home delivery and newsstand sales of paper-papers faltering year over year, it seems unlikely that there is a rebound headed toward print media. Google +’s influence in the online scene should have made an impact in the online versions of these news sources, but obviously it isn’t. Can this mean the end of traditional news? I hope not. However, the amounts of journalists that formerly drew paychecks form these information fortresses are now serving the public through independent and syndicated blogs, articles and so forth.
Articles can be submitted by just about anyone and receive +1 ratings from the Google machine, so why is it so hard for the major outlets to get online followers?
Some closing tidbits from Mitchell’s article:
It doesn’t look like +1 activity has much of a connection to the number of Google+ followers for these major media outlets. With 360,000 Google+ followers, The New York Times still can’t get 10% engagement once a week.
Which leads us to takeaway number two: Google+ followers are not active. It’s safe to call The New York Times one of the most influential sources of information in the world, and even it can’t drum up much interest on Google+. Sure, plenty of people added +The New York Times to their circles, but now they’re silent.