There are a lot of stories floating around about how Google+ traffic is either plunging or soaring. As far as I can tell, they all stem from a report by Gabe Donnini of Chitika called Failure to Launch: Google+ Growth Spurt Short Lived
The data shows that, on the day of its public debut, Google+ traffic skyrocketed to peak levels. But, soon after, traffic fell by over 60% as it returned to its normal, underwhelming state. It would appear that although high levels of publicity were able to draw new traffic to Google+, few of them saw reason to stay.
To me it seems pretty clear that Gabe’s saying that traffic is back to where it was. That’s not a very exciting story, though, so Daily Mail, Mashable, and others headlined on the 60% drop. And on Forbes, Tim Worstall multiplied Experian Hitwise’s earlier report of a 1200% increase by the Daily Mail’s 60% decrease and concluded “So, what the report is actually saying is that in less than a month traffic has risen 480%, or 4.8 times.” Well, no, the report isn’t saying anything like that, as a look at the chart makes abundantly clear.
On Google+, Mike Elgan concluded “Google+ traffic grew by 480% in one month, so press reports a 60% decline.” Ummm….
Jon Mitchell on ReadWriteWeb sees it as a wash (“The public launch generated tons of interest, but that interest wasn’t sustained for long”) and adds some interesting anecdotal data
We at RWW can informally corroborate Chitika’s findings that interest in Google Plus is on the wane. Our monthly referrals from there are down 38% since their peak, while Facebook referrals are up 67% and Twitter referrals up 51% over the same period
So there you have it: Google+ traffic is either up, flat, or down.