How Many People Use the Web Logged in to Google+?

Recently I've been publishing many examples of how powerful Google+ content can be in the personalized, logged-in searches of people who have you or your brand in their circles and/or Gmail contacts. For details see http://snip.ly/nQov

Some people seeing that say, "Sure Mark, that's great, but how many people really search while logged in to a Google+ account?"

That's hard to know, as Google doesn't tell us directly. But we do have a good clue that it's likely to be a huge number. That clue is the "not provided" segment in Google Analytics.

What is Not Provided?
For the past couple of years Google has been intentionally hiding keyword information from webmasters when the search landing on their site was done under encryption. Such results are lumped in Google Analytics under the category "not provided." 

What caused an encrypted search? Up until the summer of 2013 it was primarily someone searching while logged in to Google. Then in mid-2013 Google announced that they were also going to encrypt all searches done on their Chrome browser.

What Not Provided Tells Us about Google+ Logins
The chart below (from http://www.notprovidedcount.com/) shows the growth of the percentage of searches for 60 tracked sites that showed as "not provided" from March 2012 up through this past week. As you can see, the growth has slowed considerably since September 2013, although it has been on a steady rise again since May of this year. The most important fact: _nearly 88% of searches now show as "not provided."

Now, as I said, a big contributor to that was the decision to encrypt all searches done on the Chrome browser. That's what's behind the huge leap you see in the graph in mid-2013. However, keep in mind that befor that, almost all not-provided was caused by Google+ account logged in searches. The chart shows us that those had climbed to at least about 42% of searches before the Chrome decision.

If we project the growth line pre-July 2013, we could project that Google+ logged in searches would now be at least 60-70% of all searches. That's a huge number.

So back to our original question. I think I can say with confidence that if you have the following in place:

1. You are active on Google+
2. You regularly create useful content on Google+ that is optimized for things your target market searches for.
3. You work hard to attract a proprietary audience to follow you on Google+.

...then you indeed have a very real opportunity, given how I've shown that your Google+ content can get pumped up in their searches (http://snip.ly/nQov), to have an incredible and significant opportunity to be front and center when your audience searches for things relevant to you and your brand.
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