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Google+ traffic gets boost from Pages, wide rollout

Although there's plenty of doubt about just how successful Google+ is so far, the social network has recorded its third biggest week in traffic since launching.

Although it seems like many initial Google+ users might have dropped off after a few months since signing up, new research shows otherwise.

The latest traffic report from research firm Experian Hitwise affirms that Google+ traffic is up--so much so that last week (the week ending November 12) was the third best week of traffic in the U.S. since launching this summer.

Based on the graph below, it looks like Google+ really hit its peak in September. Although it dipped considerably in October, those figures are still much higher than anything before the week ending September 24.

Experian Hitwise

Of course, there's a reason that can overwhelmingly explain why traffic soared all of a sudden in late September. That would be because Google+ became available to everyone, without requiring an invitation, starting on September 20.

A possible explanation as to why traffic soared again last week was that on November 7, Google+ rolled out a new feature called Pages, which enables businesses to build profiles promoting their brands. Thus, that inevitably drew back some Google+ users as well as encouraged companies to get on board with the budding social network and take it more seriously.

Here are a few other highlights from the latest survey:

  • Google+ received more than 6.8 million total U.S. visits during the week ending November 12 as growth represented a 5 percent increase versus the previous week and a 25 percent increase compared to the month before.
  • Google+ traffic increased 3 percent overall in terms of total U.S. visits.
  • The average visit time increased 15 percent in October versus September.
  • Among the top 10 referral sources, eight are Google properties and accounted for 73 percent of all upstream traffic last week, up from 65 percent during the week of September 24.
  • Returning visitors' share of visits has been increasing over the last two weeks.

However, note that the data does not include mobile traffic or traffic from the Google Notification Bar.

This story was originally published at ZDNet's Between the Lines with the headline "Google+ traffic soars thanks to Pages and dropping invites."