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Will Google Plus Ever Make It?

Posted on 10.29.2013

:: By Barry Welford, Next Day Flyers ::

In June 2011, Google announced the Google+ project touting it as real-life sharing, rethought for the Web. Undoubtedly the phenomenal success of Facebook had made Google jealous and in turn, it was determined to create a successful competitor. It was somewhat intriguing in the months that followed to see Googlers forcefully encouraged to join in and make the venture a success. How well have they done creating a vibrant social medium in the two years since then?

The Growth So Far - Google Plus And Facebook Compared

In summary, you would have to say the jury is still out. Opinions differ widely. In a recent article, Pete Prestipino asked Is the Google+ Deadpool Inevitable?

Social sharing platform Shareaholic has released its annual Social Media Traffic Report. It found that Google+ is hardly a leading referral source. It referred just 0.04 percent of overall traffic to the publishing websites. While the digital deadpool is anything but inevitable for the platform, digital marketers may be tiring of the platform's promise and anxious to see it deliver on its potential.

Verne Kopytoff is slightly more sanguine believing that Google is far from losing the social media war.

Google’s social network, Google+, is more popular than Twitter. Every month, nearly 390 million people worldwide use the service. And yet, two years after its launch, Google+ is still a work in progress. The search giant’s initial hopes that it would blossom into a major business have yet to pan out. Is Google+ a rival to Facebook, the social networking Goliath? That is not at all clear.

Alexandra Jacopetti is much more complimentary. She feels that marketers ignore Google+ at their own risk.

A recent report from Internet analytics firm GlobalWebIndex shows that the number of active Google+ users is close to 360 million, second only to Facebook and up from 259 million in June 2012.

Currently there are 1.26 billion Facebook users. However it might seem that Google+ caters more to the business community.

Who Is On Google Plus And Who Is On Facebook

What evidence is there that Google+ caters more to the business community? Are businesses buying that argument? Do they find that these social media deliver useful results for them?

The table below shows some thought-provoking results.

Domains Facebook Likes ('000s) Google Plus 1's ('000s) G+ as % of FB
Search Engine Land 77.2 545.5 707%
Search Engine Journal 53.8 19.3 36%
Search Engine Watch 18.5 13.5 73%
Houzz (interior design) 500.0 70.6 14%
Wisdom Quotes 1,777.7 10.1 0.5%
Best Famous Quotes 459.4 0.3 0.1%
Target 22,286.5 39.5 0.2%
Walmart 34,017.3 13.5 0.04%

The data should be accepted as illustrative of what may be happening. Clearly Facebook has been running for much longer than Google Plus so it may be that corporations are slow to get involved with a new social medium. It may also be true that the communities that each social medium creates for each corporation mentioned tend to act in different ways. Perhaps a Like on Facebook is much more easily given by a Facebook user than is a Plus One by a Google Plus user. Nevertheless the percentage comparison figures suggest that Google Plus is not getting traction with the typical corporation.

The exception seems to be for those enterprises involved in Search Engine Optimization, in other words Google Search. Google has denied that Search results are affected by the number of Plus Ones a web page may gain. However with its various upgrades to its search algorithms, Panda, Penguin and now Hummingbird, Google has progressively neutralized most of the tools that SEO experts have been using. Even though Plus Ones may be said not to be search-helpful, since there is so little else to do, why not try them. Google is notoriously secretive about what they are doing in search so who knows where the truth lies.

Apart from those first three rows in the table, the lower rows seem to show the current weakness of Google Plus as a social medium. Is that indicative of an ongoing problem or will people gradually get more involved in Google Plus? For myself, I fear that what we see now is what we will continue to see in the future.

Author Bio: Barry Welford writes for Next Day Flyers, expert suppliers of custom presentation folders, and is a frequent blogger on business performance, Internet Marketing and social media marketing. You can find more on him via his


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