Google+ (or Google Plus) was going to be the social network that took the others by storm, allowing Google to gain a dominant share of the social media market. In reality, Google was able to capture a loyal user base, just not quite as large it had hoped it would be.
In 2015, a couple of sources came out with data about the user base of G+ and oddly, there was a huge discrepancy in the number of reported users. One source, Dr Edward Morbius, concluded that while 2.2 billion profiles existed, less than 10 percent of them had posted anything publicly. Other sources in the same year also gave a breakdown of the user base, which at the time was dominated by males (74 percent) and U.S. based users (55 percent). Clearly Google Plus is not going to become the leading social media site anytime in the near future, so why is it that Google is still pouring resources into the struggling platform?
Facebook Has a Paid Advertising Advantage and Google Isn't Thrilled
Google is by far the best search engine available today. While its market dominance is clear on the search engine side, Facebook is closing the gap (some would argue surpassing) on the paid advertising side.
Google has a wealth of information and with over 1 billion searches being performed per day, you shouldn't kill your search ad campaign anytime soon.
There are two main types of ads one can run on Google AdWords, search ads and display ads. Display advertising is often used as a "discovery" tool, allowing users not searching for a specific product or service to be introduced to it. Choosing and targeting an audience likely to be attracted to your offer is critical if you hope to achieve a direct return on your ad spend. The more information an advertising platform can gather about its user base, the more specific and effective your ads can be.
Google's Gaping Data Hole
If you spend much time online, you have surely noticed that Google is working feverishly to create search features that keep users on the search engine itself longer. Direct answers (Google Onebox) and direct lead generation (search "plumbers San Francisco") are two examples of how Google is attempting to get users to spend more time directly on Google search or unknowingly provide more information to the search giant.
Time Spent on Google vs. Facebook
In 2016 it was reported that the average Facebook user spends about 50 minutes per day on the platform. Now, stop and think for a moment, how many minutes do you spend per day on Google.com? Even if you do 10 or 20 searches per day, chances are, you are not spending nearly an hourly engaging directly with the search engine.
What makes Google great is that it can quickly get you from searching to the website you need. This is also the reason that they need to keep Google+ alive, it is the platform that will let them gather more information about you each day. The more they know about you, the better they can compete with Facebook's paid advertising option.
About the Author
Travis Bliffen is the founder of Stellar SEO, a Web design and marketing firm located in Spring Hill, TN. Travis and his team are equipped to handle any size SEO project and have helped numerous businesses to date build a rock solid online presence. When you are ready for more leads and sales, it is time to get #stellarized. Connect on Facebook or Twitter @theseoproz.