There are a couple of issues surrounding Google Plus and its success or lack thereof. One of them seems to be that it’s hard to survey people because they get confused. Are they talking about their usage of Google Plus, or of any Google service? Offering everything as an integrated, wholistic Google universe can do that.
Another issue is that Google doesn’t depend on its Google Plus success to bring bread to the table. Google Plus is just another means to the Google end. Ít would be easier if there were a small company called Google Plus bravely doing the David-versus-Goliath thing. But the stakes just don’t seem to be that high – not in the fairytale way we’d like them to be.
An issue is certainly people’s perception when Google Plus started. ‘The new Facebook’. For people who were bored or dissatisfied with Facebook, I assume.
There is however one issue I can’t ignore. It’s that as far as I can tell, Google Plus is the first major social network (seen from a user’s point of view) that started after businesses had realized they might have to do something about this social media thing. Marketers were finally convinced that ‘social’ might add value. For them, anyway – I’m not sure about the intended customers. All of which basicaly meant one thing for Google Plus:
This time, the marketers were there first.
And guess what: their customers weren’t there.
I’m not what you’d call an early adopter of, say, Twitter. The only reason I might not qualify as a laggard is that there were actually people later to the game than me. However, one of the things I noticed after a while was that by that time, some people had discovered ways to make money through Twitter, either by promoting their ‘Make money while you sleep’ website, or by getting 300K followers and being paid for sharing commercial information, or by selling either fake or real followers to people who wanted 300K followers.
Anyway, in the case of Google Plus, marketers were anxious not to be late. And so they turned up for dinner just after breakfast. And ended up having to wait and see if their customers would arrive any time soon.
Meanwhile we got all sorts of articles proclaiming Google Plus to be a failure. And that, I suppose, is caused by another interesting factor: these articles tended to be written by a special breed of marketers called content marketers. Churning out content on a daily basis is what they do. A perceived failure is definitely worth writing about, and it means you look like an expert on Google Plus (which is hard when it’s new and there are no customers to market or sell to).
Anyway, the major disappointment seems to have ebbed away by now. So maybe now we can take a look at who is using Google Plus, and whether we need to be there too.