Three Reasons Google Plus is Facing Difficulties

I tend to try not to be a fan-boy of any brand, technology or individual. Unless of course we are speaking about @Starbucks or @Pepsi.  All joking aside, I believe that by maintaining unbiased brand opinion in my posts is crucial to providing the best reviews and opinions to you the reader. Easier said than done, right?

I’ll admit that there are morale and belief opinions that creep into my technology preferences. Dislike for an individuals leadership and personality style (Apple) as an example. The arrogance some user groups display to others that don’t purchase the same brand due to cost, preference or lack of knowledge tend to result in my negative view of a brand or product as well. The area of emotion tends to lead my weakness surrounding remaining unbiased in my posts. I will attempt to hold true to this fact in this post, as it no doubt will have the ability to polarize some people.

As I watch the social platform space heat up again with the launch of Google Plus and the continued announcement of new niche networks, I have noticed some fragmentation of the market. I discussed this previously in a post called The Future of Social Media is Not Networks. The post discussed how we have more than enough networks in the marketplace at the moment and what is really needed are tools and platforms that help brands and social agencies better utilize the platforms that exist. Immediately following my posts, out comes Google with their competing social network.

I have refrained from putting my predictions and opinions out there about Google+ for the most part. I even originally titled this Post “Social Media Fragmentation –  You Better Focus”. But based on what I feel is happening in the market and how I feel it relates to the successful use of social media marketing, I believe I am just going to tell it like I see it. So without adding paragraphs and a ton of commentary, here is my list of crucial issues in the market as well as the reasons Google will never become a major platform.

The Three Reasons I Believe Google Plus is in for trouble:

1) Too little too late – It is so late in the social media game at this point and two previous failures means the market has mostly shaken out already.

2)  The masses – It’s true Google grew really quickly out of the chute, but here is one of biggest issues they face: My daughter, mom, dad and 750 million other Facebook users are never going to switch to Google+. Their friends are on Facebook. Many are just now getting up to speed and engaged in the site with family and friends.  They will never switch.  Furthermore, many of these “normal” users will never manage more than a single social media location.

This leads to the biggie:

3) Business challenge – Since number two above is a likely scenario, that leaves some 50 million social media marketing and tech geeks that of course will use Google Plus. But will major brands and retailers expend valuable time and resources to build yet another duplicate community which is largely made up of marketers marketing to each other. VERY unlikely.  Furthermore, social media marketers and agencies definitely don’t need yet another platform to manage.

Now before you haters start slamming my blog with harassing comments, know this… I WISH Google Plus would and could succeed. But unfortunately, Google has yet again developed too little, too late in a market that has largely solidified. Their second largest mistake was making a third attempt at competing and further fragmenting the industry, rather than developing valuable support tools for social media, where there is still huge need and where Google had a chance to succeed.

I am crossing my fingers for Plus, but as a realist, I worry for them.


23 thoughts on “Three Reasons Google Plus is Facing Difficulties

  1. Robert – you are absolutely correct. Google+ will be a channel where these “marketers” will speak to each other…my parents, friends, and customers will never, ever, ever add Google+ to their everyday use. You nailed it. I could not have said it better. I almost feel this way about Twitter except for the fact that there are a few redeeming qualities of Twitter that are useful to marketing – but the fact is – mainstream has not accepted Twitter either. Great blog.

  2. utter bull.
    every social network started out being a niche market.
    your mom didn’t join facebook in 2003 either. the geeks join networks first and make them work. remember twitter??
    it’s been a few months. give it a chance to grow first.

    1. Unfortunately you are comparing apples and burgers. The major difference is that Google plus is directly competing with Facebook AND Twitter. Very different scenario…

    2. Facebook took about 6 years from its founding in 2003 to become relevant in any single way. People are already so used to the notion of social media, and are pretty exhausted on the networks they already on. The marginal benefit of social networking decreases with every added network. Unless you are a tech enthusiast, which there aren’t many of, you aren’t going to go gaga over Google+.

      I’m not going to give Google+ any time. I already know its a failure. I just hang out on it because its got cool tech and gadgetry, and I’m a social media geek. If I wasn’t, I wouldn’t care!!

  3. Social CRM and relationship management as you have discussed here a-plenty are the future, Robert. Unless I see Google+ and Google Apps meshing up here soon, then it will be a failure. I think adding the two together would create a pretty good combo – its a little below Salesforce’s own CRM and way ahead of what Cisco has (heh heh), but the fact that many companies use Google Apps already means that adding Google+ would increase company collaboration – or at least I hope!

  4. Robert,

    I agree with you that Facebook is not under significant threat from Google+. As long as Facebook duplicates the aspects of Google+ functionality that “normal” people would find useful (which they’ve begun to do) most of their users are not going to switch.

    I see the threat to Twitter as more significant, but I don’t believe Google+ needs to overtake the market position of Facebook OR Twitter for the endeavor to be considered a success. The reason I believe this is that unlike any other social network has a vast set of services connected with it to which it can add value.

    People who are tech early-adopters and are into online networking really like Google+ and even if not to many other use Google+ much, these people will and in doing so they will populate the platform with an immense pile of data that will make the rest of Google (most notably, the search engine) a much richer, much more integrated set of services.

    -Nick B.

    1. I largely disagree Nick and here is the main reason why… Search is and has been Google main revenue. Overall the search market is in steady decline, as a direct result of social media. We spend less time searching for things and more time looking at content our friends and connections are posting, thus removing the need to do searches. This fact is why Google had to get into the social game, I just believe they got into the wrong part of the game.

      The bottom line is that without Google Plus being an overwhelming success, it threatens Google’s entire business and future. In my humble opinion…

      Thanx for the great comments!

  5. Robert, I completely agree with you. I also wrote a similar post (I won’t clutter your blog comments with links back to my blog) in which I especially weigh in on your point number 2. Yes, the social media pros and tech geeks are on Google+, and enjoy it, but the vast majority of my contacts across ALL social networks haven’t moved, and the very few that have a Google+ profile don’t really use it. I myself now only check it about once a week, unless a get a notification of activity there. My day to day useage is not significantly different than how I use other social media networks, so there’s no reason for me to spend more time on Google+. I think most everyday users feel that way.

  6. Well, I’m on Facebook. And I’m leaving it. No more comments on my profile. Now I work in Google +. Why? The choise of the social network depends to your goals, IMHO. Mine is to have relevant relationships with interesting people, and consistent contents. I don’t care “the adventures” with people I don’t know. In Facebook this is almost impossible: too many people use it not as a professional tool of social marketing, but as a kind of joke. Too often their comments and the thing they share are stupid and irrelevant. A true waste of time! If you’re looking for this, perfect: Facebook is your social network. IN Google +, maybe because less people use it, things are more interesting, actually. I prefer quality to quantity. (I hope to be clear, I beg your pardon for my English, I’m Italian)

    1. Thanx for your comments Lizzy. Unfortunately, Linkedin already exists, yet Google decided to copy FB and now is turning it into a gaming social network soon also. I challenge you to understand that social media is about building relationships. So being social and learning about others personal lives allow you to do that. People hang around people like them, relate to people like them and buy from people they have a relationship with. That’s social media…

      Thank you for your input though!


  7. I’m not cool enough to be invited to this, and if I am now? I won’t join. I was an early adopter of all the other platforms mentioned. Inviting celebrities and having nerds invite other nerds and social marketers could have worked for a few days, but after many weeks? Agreed the masses won’t go whether it is open or not at this point.

  8. I’m an official un-fan of Facebook, so I’m probably in the minority. I think it might take just a little while for Google + to take off. They might end up with a strong following of devotees eventually. Maybe not as huge as FB. een a number of family, work and personal relationships that have been jostled about when people unfriend them on FB. It seems petty and ridiculous really. I’m hoping that FB takes some cues and improves the ability to compartmentalize what you’re sharing online. I’ve found some of the exchanges on FB sophomoric and ridiculous, and I’m not active there so I wouldn’t know if they have. I agree that Google + may be a little too late, so many people have built routines around the other social networks and tools. I’ve personally built one around Twitter. Maybe the idea is not to measure a tool or web offering’s success as to whether it knocks Goliath off it’s feet immediately.

    1. Natalie,

      Actually, I think you are in the majority of Google+ folks. Most of the people hoping beyond hope that Google pulls this off are official un-fans of Facebook. Unfortunately, again… there are 750 million average users that are not and will not switch to something, anything else. The problem here is that as I stated in all my noted articles, search is declining and Google has to dominate or at least be a major contender in this space to survive. With the challenges I have laid out numerous times around that ever being a possibility, there are in a very bad spot.

      I do not discount your reasons for disliking Facebook, nor your reasons for enjoying G+. But those things don’t matter when you remove the emotion, hopes and dreams and look at the pure facts. My parents, daughter and 750 other million users won’t switch. Which leaves G+ as it is – Marketers and Geeks marketing to each other and talking geek speak. That won’t create a revenue laden platform, nor one that will attract the major brands and their followers.

      I know it’s hard to hear, it’s just the reality IMHO.


  9. It’s not just nerds who love it, but artists and crafts people. Think you maybe stereotyping there. It’s a great platform for sharing & collaborating with artistic work. I know a several animators who use and enjoy sharing ideas and doing collaborative drawings on it. Also, isn’t it the nerds who actually create some of the great products and ideas this era has come to enjoy. It has a great potential as a creative platform, and while it may not be successful in itself, I’m hoping that it will inspire or evolve into something else. It may have value for companies such as Google themselves who make their living from creative collaboration. I see these tools as a vehicle for things like that, not just a playground for the average user.

    1. LOL ok, ok… Natalie, several animators and artistic folks (albeit very cool collaboration) won’t make it a success. And spending millions of dollars and most of a huge company’s resources to build a collaborative technology for internal use won’t save their company. Unfortunately it’s not about collaboration, being cool (which it is) or anything else besides REVENUE. So though you and a bunch of the non-artistic geeks and marketers I know that love Google plus and are battling reality with me so hard, it has to compete in the marketplace, drive substantial market share in the form of users that results in revenue gains to make up for the declining search/ad market that is rapidly disappearing.

      If it’s not, in your words (a playground for the average user) it will not only die, it will kill it’s creator in the process. Sorry, it boils down to market share and dollars and cents, not coolness or duplicating other tech already available to business to collaborate. They called it a social network. They built a social network. It is, in the end going to die as a social network and take down the company with it unless someone at Google gets some sense and makes some immediate and drastic changes to their direction, where they are committing their resources and focus.

      Yes, Natalie it’s cool and better. Not enough to win…

      I’m done on this. Good luck hun!


  10. I’ve actually said this (mainly to myself, in the shower) since the beginning. There’s no real reason to jump ship and move to Plus for almost any user. Sure, “novelty” could have been a reason – but unless you’re Apple, “novelty” is not enough as a single argument for a new product. But the problem with Plus is that it isn’t even a novelty. It’s an alteration. Facebook was NEW. Twitter was NEW.

    Plus is a tweak. A good tweak – but still, just a tweak.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s