Google+ traffic is up 3 percent, according to data from Web analytics firm Experian Hitwise. The site also saw its third best traffic week since the fledgling social network went live back in June, with 6.8 million visiting during the week ending November 12. Despite this, far fewer users have visited the site since it peaked in the middle of September.
The Los Angeles Times reports that US traffic to Google+ has fallen during 11 of the 21 weeks it has been available to the public. Each down week saw traffic dive between 10 and 20 percent.
While the downturn is notable, it must be noted that Google+ traffic is still much higher than it was prior to September 20, when the Google dropped the invitation requirement for joining, and opened its social network up to anyone who wanted to give it a go. During its first open week, traffic skyrocketed a whopping 1,269 percent. Starting on roughly September 24, the site’s highest traffic day by far, users began abandoning the site, the data shows.
The decline continued through October. But starting on November 7, the downward trend reversed, as users began returning to the site, giving it a 30 percent boost in traffic. While Hitwise doesn’t say so specifically, it’s likely that the launch of Pages, which are profiles designed specifically for brands and businesses to use, is the cause of the upturn in traffic, as Pages launched on the same day.
Of course, the future of Google+ remains very much in question. Though the social network already benefits from referral traffic from other Google properties, the company has begun integrating into more and more products, including the newly-released Android 4.0 “Ice Cream Sandwich” mobile operating system, and with products like Google Music, which lets users share songs with their Google+ friends.