After rising like a rocket, is Google+ sinking like a stone? The Facebook-envying Google's latest foray into social media had a good month since its June 28 launch, with an estimated 10 million users signing up in the first three weeks. But Experian Hitwise, which tracks Internet trends, believes visits to the site fell three percent to 1.79 million in the week ending July 23.
According to data shared with Bloomberg news, the average time on Google+ has fallen 10 percent to five minutes and 15 seconds. The analytics don't include mobile users, however, and Google has also been purging accounts that don't appear to bear users' real names, PCWorld pointed out.
Less Engagement Than Facebook
According to a Hitwise blog post by Heather Dougherty, as of July 19 the average visit time for Google+ was five minutes and 50 seconds, up from four minutes and 52 seconds the week before. But she noted that's a far cry from the average time users spend on Facebook, which was 21 minutes and 57 seconds the same week.
The firm's analytics also show Google's better-known services, such as its signature search engine and Gmail, are a natural feeder for Google+, accounting for 50 percent of upstream traffic to Google+ in the week ending July 19, with referrals from YouTube and Google Profiles as well.
Facebook was the third most popular web site referring browsers to Google+, which Dougherty said is "not surprising, since many social-network users tend to maintain multiple accounts, especially to experiment with new social networks."
The words "social network" have become increasingly synonymous with the multibillion-dollar industry-leading Facebook, although the initial success of Google+ indicates users are willing to try new things.
But longevity is always the true test: Witness the plight of Facebook precursor MySpace.
Furthering the Brand
Establishing a strong beachhead in social media is crucial to Google's competitive future.
"Google+ is another way for Google to gain market share, plain and simple," said Internet marketing consultant Raphi Salem of New York-based Salem Global. "Just as it competes with Microsoft for operating systems, competes with other search engines Yahoo and Bing, and competes with Skype for free chat and voice, so. too. it will compete with Facebook, all in the name of advertising branding, market share, and ultimately consumer and business dollars."
He said a company that can give away a free product and then make money from a derivative while hurting the competition "has accomplished the goal of business." But he questioned whether Google+ could be a significant rival to Facebook.
"It might have some interesting applications, but the 600 million Facebook users are not going to jump ship overnight, nor will they jump ship at all," he said. "Facebook is very comfortable and fun; it has a rich history, especially with college students, so I don't think [Google+] will gain much traction after the initial launch."
Posted: 2011-07-29 @ 2:54am PT
The real issues most people have today about privacy is the amount of information these sites are collecting about its users, the way this information is being collected, and how this information is being used. With all this information social networking sites today have about its users, add a real name, add an email, and add facial recognition, not only do people loose their privacy, they also expose themselves to cyber crimes, and predatory advertising & manipulation, etc.
Regardless of what sites today promise regarding security, any site can be hacked. An example would the government & banks who have so called state of the art security systems. Social networking sites such as Google+ & Facebook are open door gold mines for cyber criminals. The obvious solution to address these security problems is simple, no real names, no emails. You don’t need a real name and an email address to social network effectively yet with some anonymity, you need this information to sell to advertisers & companies, you also need this information to sell someday to private interest, governments, companies, etc.
Although only 20% complete and still in Beta, ONLYMEWORLD early on seems to realize that respecting its users Privacy Rights is paramount to both longevity & success in the industry. Their platform is similiar to Facebook, Google+, Twitter, and Linkedin, yet differs because of their approach to privacy by not asking for real names, and email addresses.
Posted: 2011-07-28 @ 10:52pm PT
What I'm not seeing mentioned in these articles about active user time dropping is familiarization and set up time being factored in. I have familiarized myself with G+ beta and set up my first circles. For me that was about an hour. Hitwise say an average fall of 35 seconds, which would account for my familiarization and set up time. The figures also don't take into account users who have switched to using the mobile app.
I don't see how these figures can be interpreted as a loss of interest at such an early stage.