Google+ Labelled a ‘Ghost Town’

After numerous failed attempts to make an impact in the social media world, Google would love us all to believe that with Google+ they have finally cracked it. A Wall Street Journal article casts doubts on this premise however, branding the search giant’s social network a virtual ghost town.

Despite having around 90 million users since it’s launch last summer, the network is suffering from a distinct lack of activity. User tracking suggests the average user spends just 3 minutes per month on Google+. That’s in comparison to a whopping 7 hours for Facebook.

The data, compiled by research company comScore shows that whilst Google+ has attracted the curious to sign up, they have yet to sell them on a compelling reason to actually use the site.

Despite launching with some unique features such as Hangouts, analysts from comScore believe the site is simply not unique enough to encourage people to shift their social networking activity away from Facebook.

Whilst barriers to movement are traditionally low on the Internet, with competing sites often just a click away, with social networks the network effect can bind users to a particular site where they have spent considerable time investing in the construction of their network.

“Nobody wants another social network right now,” said Brian Solis, an analyst at social-media advisory firm Altimeter Group. For those who already use Facebook, “Google hasn’t communicated what the value of Google+ is,” he said.

One controversial tactic used by the company to help build the social network is Google Plus Your World, a service whereby your contacts likes are reflected throughout the search results shown on Google.

The strategy has promoted the European Union to investigate the company on potential anti-trust grounds. Despite these moves however, Google+ still appears to be struggling.
Google+ “does not have the same degree of vibrancy that Facebook, Twitter or even Pinterest has at the moment,” said David Cohen, an executive vice president at Universal McCann, a media buying unit of Interpublic Group of Cos. that helps big marketers spend ad dollars. “Without active engagement, it will not be as attractive to advertisers.”

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