April 16, 2012

Google+ holds promise, usage remains weak

Despite unique features for users and marketers, and built-in name recognition, Google’s social network is still struggling for relevance. Engagement and participation aren’t up to speed with other social networks, and that has become a major obstacle for turning Google+ into a relevant social network.

Even with activity on Google+ low and in decline as its novelty wears off, the social network can still have an impact on Google users as they visit other Google properties, especially as they search. The unveiling of Search Plus Your World in early 2012 raised eyebrows among some privacy advocates worried that Google was integrating personal information in unexpected ways, and it also surprised some search users with results that seemed less useful than before. A searcher logged in to Google who had signed up to Google+ and added a few people to Circles might not be actively using the social network anymore, but if that user’s connections were active, their +1s and Picasa photo albums had a sudden and unexpected prominence in their search results.

This effect - along with a need to claim a brand-name page before someone else does—can make Google+ difficult for marketers to ignore. And the service does have many differentiating elements, including some that set it apart from the current top social sites. In March 2012, eMarketer collected information about the top features that brands can use on Google+, including Circles, Hangouts and Direct Connect.

Get the full story at eMarketer

Read also "The New Google+ Is More Beautiful Than Facebook (But It Doesn’t Matter)" at Fast Company