Imagine a world without Google. Seriously, it's a pretty horrific thought, right? Living in our digital age means we've got everything we could ever want right at our fingertips. In large part, this is due to Google's incredible ingenuity. From the basics of Google Search and Google Maps to Google AdWords and Google Analytics, Google's got a stronghold in just about every tech industry known to mankind.
Heck, the dominant company is even working on the production of a driverless car. When will the madness end? With such impressive feats abounding in number and no end in sight, it's hard to imagine Google ever having made a blunder or two en route to their current level of global sovereignty. Well, believe it or not, it very much has: Google+.
Yes, you can jump online and tap into the powers of any one of the Internet's leading digital marketing forums to find passionate, opposing opinions, but the greater product- and/or service-pushing community is united in the demise of Google+. Now that things are virtually over for Google's sorry attempt to knock Facebook off its social pedestal, it's time to take a step back and see where Google+ really went wrong:
1) Google+ Couldn't Be Less Social
Needless to say, if you're flirting with the idea of creating a new social channel, make certain its interface and core structure are as far from antisocial as possible. Sadly, that's one mammoth detail Google+ failed to address. Sure, Google+ looked pleasant enough and was easy to use, but users often found themselves confused as to how actual conversations were to take place through Google Hangouts.
Initially, Google+ had all the support it needed to successfully launch. Back in 2011, consumer excitement was high and-due to the fact that Twitter wasn't what it is today and Facebook's conversion to mobile devices was still struggling-people couldn't wait to see what Google+ could do for them. Sadly, when audiences were unable to connect with one another, they reverted back to what they'd already come to both know and love: Facebook.
2) The Great Login Dilemma
In an effort to build public intrigue and increase overall demand, Google+ first only allowed people to come onboard through an invite-only system. Speaking more as to the idiocy of the tactic, reports Ian Morris of Forbes, "This model is one that makes some sense if you're a small upstart launching a new product, but Google was just trying to create more excitement driven by demand outstripping availability. In this case though, if you couldn't get your friends online instantly, you were never going to stick around to use the service."
A few years after hitting the social scene, Google realized the err of its ways and was forced to come up with a strategic ploy to convert the masses to Google+. What better way to do just that than to piggyback the jaw-dropping success of YouTube? With official YouTube access requiring a Google+ account, hateful comments-now backed by an actual name-might have been limited, but the tactic left a bitter taste in the mouths of users. Unfortunately, they never came back.
Peaking in October of 2013 with just over 540 million registered users, Google+ is now down to around 300 million members. Furthermore, according to NASDAQ, upwards of 90% of Google+ profiles contain literally no content or activity. In the end, they were created for nothing more than to provide access for other Google services.
3) Awkward Usership to the Max
Truthfully, what group of people has laid claim to Google+? When any given social media strategist takes a look at the current state of social crowd control, generally speaking, the following is understood:
- Facebook is for family, friends and past peers
- Twitter belongs to the rich and famous
- Instagram targets Millennials
- Pinterest was built upon the interests of women
- LinkedIn is for business contacts and entrepreneurs
So where does Google+ fit into this picture? If an answer had to be given, it'd probably be SEO specialists and content marketers who-to the surprise of nobody-are actually looking to interact with just about each and every one of the aforementioned groups of people who don't use Google+. Does anyone else see a problem here? Something had to give and it finally did: Google+ is now very much on its way out.
Over the years, while a handful of social media marketers might have seen slivers of advertorial success through Google+, there are simply smarter, more effective ways for targeting and tapping into the powers of industry-specific demographics. Needless to say, the Google+ era is over. Realistically, it appears that it might never have even started.