Google+ is one of the newest social media websites out there. It is sleek, it is beautiful and it has amazing functionality. For instance, it was recently updated to create automatic hashtags for you. The reality is that most of us have a Google+ account. Those of us who have a gmail or googlemail email address automatically have one, even if you didn’t know it yet. But how many of us actually use it for real? The answer is: very few.
Sure, a new social media network is super exciting, but since we already have Facebook, and Twitter, and Instagram, and Pinterest, and LinkedIn and more, did we really need another one? Do we really need to repeat everything we have already said on those other sites once more on Google+, just so that the same people who have already seen it on our other sites can see it again? It seems that, for all Google+’s amazing beauty, it is not popular at all.
Even if it’s good — even if it’s great — it’s not going to displace Facebook as the world’s primary social network. And most people don’t need a second social network. (Or at least a Facebook-like social network: Twitter, Pinterest and others that don’t take Facebook on directly can and do thrive.)
Google maintains that it is doing well, however, and it is certainly true that it won’t be going anywhere. However, although it keeps telling people that its list of active members is growing, it seems as if there isn’t actually that much truth in this. Some even suggest that the only growth they see in their membership is because people sign up for a gmail address. And in a recent survey by RJMetrics, it seems that the network is on a downward spiral.
30 percent of users who make a public post never make another, with users who make do multiple posts seeing a monthly reduction in the number of public posts on an ongoing basis. According to RJMetrics, “[e]ven after making five public posts, there is a 15% chance that a user will not post publicly again.
The Effects on Businesses
Businesses are in a major pickle. One way for them to get their rankings up is by using Google+ for all of their posts. However, this seems to be a lot of time wasted on a product that will give them very little returns. After all, you can get higher Google rankings without using Google+ as well. And it now seems as if this is exactly what is happening, because the social media site accounts for the smallest percentage of social shares.
The two biggest disappointments are in e-commerce and media/publishing sharing, where Google+ takes 2% respectively. According to the Gigya blog, this trend continues with Consumer Brands (2%), Travel/Hospitality (1%), and Education/Non-Profit (2%). So, all in all, not a lot of sharing going on from Google+ users.
All of this is a real shame, because Google+ has the potential to be as big, if not bigger, as Facebook. However, most people find the two too similar and they are already totally used to Facebook. Interestingly, the two social media sites are actually very different in their usage and how they work, as well as in what they offer, but people still only see the similarities and not the differences. Almost nobody looks up businesses on Google+, preferring instead to stay with Facebook. This is very interesting in the world of internet marketing, since Google+ remains the site to use to increase your page rankings. A real conundrum, in other words.