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From the author of Is Google+ Right for You?

Is Google+ Right for You?

The newest network in the social universe is Google+, launched in August of 2011. Any online effort from Google demands attention, especially one that management is apparently betting the company on.

It’s obvious that Google+ is an important part of Google’s future plans; the company is even integrating Google+ posts in its traditional search results. But just because Google+ is important to Google, the company, doesn’t necessarily mean that it’s equally important to your business.

Let’s contrast Facebook with Google+ for marketers. Where Facebook has more than 750 million unique monthly visitors, Google+ only has about 65 million. Now, that’s not a small user base, and it’s certainly not bad for an eight month-old service. But these visitor numbers don’t tell the whole story.

For any social network, the more important metrics are those that measure engagement – and all indications are that G+ users are not near as engaged as users of other social networks. Google+ users spend only 5 minutes per month onsite, compared to the 394 minutes/month spent by Facebook users. (That’s 5 minutes of engagement per month compared to 6 and a half hours of engagement for Facebook!) These numbers speak to a definite lack of engagement, and doesn’t bode well for connecting with potential customers.

To be fair, Google+’s lack of traffic and engagement isn’t for lack of trying. Google has built a really good social network from scratch, much easier to use and navigate than the barely controlled chaos that is Facebook. But perhaps that’s the problem; where Facebook is like a thriving big city, full of people and events of all types, Google+ is like a well-engineered suburb, complete with planned housing and retail developments, but with no one living there. It’s downright desolate.

That said, there are certain types of consumers who have embraced Google+, in particular members of the tech elite. If your business sells to cutting-edge early adapters in the tech business, you can reach them via Google+. For reaching other types of customers, however, Google+ is highly inefficient.

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