Some interesting, if slightly contradictory info out recently about the proportion of social media log-ins, and who is winning the war for social attention.  2 days ago, Gigya,  the developers of a leading consumer management suite released a study on which social media platform was used the most to log into various accounts and applications etc. for the first quarter of  2014.

Facebook Still Riding High

According to their findings, (you can find the study here), Facebook’s share of social log-ins had grown to 53%, putting it comfortably at the head of the pack in comparison to runner-up Google+, with only 28%.  They found Yahoo’s share dropping significantly, with other players barely making a showing in the low single digits. (Twitter at 4% and LinkedIn at 1%.)

Their share of mobile log-ins was reported as being even greater, with 62% of log-ins to Google’s 26%.

However…Not All Is As It Seems

One day later, Janrain, a data management, analysis and solutions software provider released their own findings for the first quarter.  The difference?  They included log-in share for all Google properties, from Plus to Drive to Play to Android.  And their numbers paint a slightly different picture. (You can see their report here.)

Google Gaining Ground

According to this report, although Facebook is still on top, it’s only with 42% of the social log-in share, compared to Google’s 38%.  A much less comfortable lead.  They also show that Google has actually outstripped Facebook on B2B social log-ins.

What Does It Mean?

Of course no two sets of data are ever going to be exactly the same in circumstances like this.  Different tools, different metrics and different approaches to the analysis are going to produce different results.

Emotionally, I want the second to be true, but that’s because I’m not a big fan of Facebook.  Intellectually though, I think that he real take-away from this is not who is winning, it’s the gains that Google have made in a relatively short time against a far more established Facebook.

There’s no doubt that Google+ is on track to becoming a critical online presence for business.  And it’s something you should keep in mind.  Right now, the benefits are perhaps a little intangible.  The effort required represents an investment of time or resources that many businesses, especially in South Africa, are not comfortable with or confident about.

But in the long run, this is really going to count.  And there’s no better time to get in and start laying the foundations now.  The benefits are long term.  But I firmly believe that over time they will become significant.