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Google+ : Buzz levelling off?
Wednesday, 19th October 2011
Nancy Davis Kho
With a soft launch over the summer building excitement as handfuls of users at a time were given access to Google+, Google's combined answer to Facebook and Twitter, the official public release on 20 September saw a huge spike in activity. But a month later, activity on the flagship social network has fallen by as much as 60% from those levels.
According to a story on 10 October from Mashable, data analytics company Chitika found that traffic to Google+ jumped 1,200% on the day the service was released, attracting 25 million users in the first month of operation. Activity in the Chitika study was defined as referrals; in its role as an ad-serving network, it tracks the number of users who refer other people via various domains, including Google+. Chitika says their analysis shows a steep dropoff in the weeks after 20 September, to rates as low as 60% of the peak.
An infographic from FindPeopleonPlus.com, which tracks Google+ users and estimates that there are over 31 million active users, shows that those sticking with the site still fit the mould of early adopters: they're overwhelmingly male (68.9%), single, employed as engineers or in high tech, and American. Still, the percentage of female users is climbing slowly: broadening the population on Google+ will be a key in keeping in relevant. The site finds that India, the UK, and Brazil also have significant traction with the service.
Much was made, at the time of the public launch, of the fact that Google co-founder Larry Page hadn't posted anything to his Google+ profile in a month (he's since become more prolific … but Mark Zuckerberg of Facebook still has more followers). However the Chitika findings, and the Page anecdote, illustrate the challenge facing Google with regard to its social network: how to make the service unique enough and compelling enough to lure users away from their existing Facebook (and, to a lesser extent, LinkedIn) online activities?
A September announcement of the integration of sticky games from Zynga into Google+ , is a sign that the company has no intention of giving up on the service just yet. What are the other features you think are missing from Google+ that would make it more appealing to you? Conversely, if you're using the service actively, what are the features you're valuing most?
By Nancy Davis Kho
With more than a decade of experience in the product management and business development side of online content, Nancy Davis Kho now writes about the rapidly changing environment of digital content and its implications for business.
Nancy is a frequent contributor to EContent Magazine, Streaming Media, Enterprise Search Sourcebook, and the San Francisco Chronicle. Her website is at www.daviskho.com.
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