This question is asked a lot, and I never know how to answer it. Only because the views on it are so inconsistent, and the studies are often disputed by Google themselves. Yet, looking at the past attempts by the internet behemoth to break into the social media world, it is hard not to be effected by a certain bias in thinking. Would it really surprise us to learn that Google Plus had essentially flopped? Probably not.
RJ Metrics released a study earlier this year that analyzed the data of 40,000 public profiles. According to them, there was essentially no user engagement, or even use, on the social networking site. Each post showed an average of +1 each, and those using Google+ posted an average of once every twelve days. Worse still is the fact that 30% of users, the study claims, only ever post once…and never again.
Has Google Plus Really Picked Up?
Google, of course, went on the defensive the moment these findings were released. They accused RJ Metrics of holding a “flawed” study. According to them, by only looking at public profiles they were unable to gain an insight into regular use by private users. Therefore, they could not have a realistic view of the general use of the site.
This seems like a fair enough argument. After all, the majority of Google+ users could have opted for privacy and locked access to their accounts. Which would keep RJ Metrics from seeing what goes on within their inner circles.
My initial reaction was that I believed Google. But then, I started to really think about it based on what I know from my own personal experience.
First of all, I know a ton of people who signed up with Google+ the second invites started going out. My Facebook wall was chock full of people waving invitations around, and others who were snatching them up like candy. But of those people (and there were dozens), I don’t know a single person who still uses their account.
Not one single user.
That seems pretty damning. Not to mention the lack of +1’s I see on blogs and webpages all over the net. I have often noted that there are hardly any at all, while there are sometimes hundreds of Facebook likes and Twitter tweets. I even see plenty of Pinterest pins these days, while Google’s shares stay stubbornly within the single digits or less.
At the same time, I keep seeing these businesses who have built some incredible marketing campaigns around Google+. Which leads us back to the question: is it finally picking up?
My own opinion is that, no, it is not. However, the professional application seems to be expanding the more features are released. Which might give it some potential within that niche, and could begin drawing users back. If only to build circles around businesses and non-profits they are fond of.
Really, it is only time that will tell on this one.