Google+ 5 months on. Still failing?

Is Google+ an epic fail? 5 months after posting an infographic looking at the future of Google+, we take stock and assess whether progress has been made.

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5 months ago, we posted an infographic that didn’t paint an especially positive picture of Google+.

I was planning on reviewing Google+’s status quo six months on, but am personally hoping to be stuffing myself full of festive cheer on the 25th of December so thought that I would bring it forward by a month.

The original post was one that provoked more of a reaction than normal and the number of tweets and comments prove to me that there is no doubt that there is interest in the platform and it was good to see some Google fanboys join the party and defend the search behemoth.

Personally, I feel that most of the points raised in the blog post and its comments remain very valid and that Google+ still faces an uphill challenge of herculian proportions. Whilst I would question whether Facebook is enjoying its happiest days, there is no doubt in my mind that Google+ is certainly no Facebook killer.

We hosted two quick polls on the site and the results are in:

How do you rate Google+ as a social media platform?

How do you rate Google+ as a social media platform?

In the future, do you think Google+ will be seen as?

Future of Google+

It seems that people don’t like voting on polls as we only managed to accumulate just over 200 votes on the polls (206 on ‘how do you rate Google+’ and 201 on ‘do you think Google+ will be seen as’), but I think that is enough to have a reasonable degree of confidence in the data.

Whilst there is some support, the majority vote hasn’t gone in favour of Google and we should remember that our blog’s audience is more geeky / techy than most so I would expect to see slightly higher levels of adoption and support.

It is not just our humble poll that suggests that Google+ is faltering.

I was at an international SEO conference a couple of weeks ago and enjoyed a presentation by Bryan Tookey from Brandwatch in which he showed some analysis of social media engagement signals in an attempt to benchmark what ‘normal’ looks like.

The analysis was based on the top 100 social brands as judged by A slide that really stood out to me was the following:

Social Media Engagement signals

Remember that these are the MOST social brands out there – it is not the FTSE 100, but the leading brands in terms of social engagement.

Again, not a great stat in favour of Google+? Whilst it is interesting to see that 80% of these brands have a Google+ presence, there is a lot of tumbleweed drifting around and very little activity.

I stumbled across recently and it would suggest that even Google employees are failing to get too excited about Google+. I was also very interested to read James Whittaker’s post about his reasons for leaving Google – a good read and he is not bigging up Google+…

As a social media platform, it would appear to be an epic fail.

As a means for Google to harvest yet more personal data, it is powerful and I can’t see them giving up on it as they did with Buzz, Wave, etc. (although you can argue that these have just morphed rather than be culled).

It is hard to sound positive if you look at it from a statistical basis. The numbers just aren’t good. If Vic Gundotra was a premier league footballl manager, he would have been fired by now.

I would, however, like to end on a positive note. Here are my top 3 thumbs up for Google+:

1) I think it is functionally a great platform. I MUCH prefer using it to Facebook, especially on Android (which is where I do most of my limited social stuff). Circles are awesome. Hangouts are very interesting.
2) Google+ local is quite a potent tool
3) Google Authorship is interesting. For me, the jury is still out a little on this but it is one to watch.

There you go, it is not all bad.

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