It seems that users have been fed up with Facebook and Twitter for nearly as long as each respective service has been around, and if only in day-dreams I think it’s safe to say that just about everyone has wished for the “perfect” social network to come along at one point or another. After opening its doors as an invite-only service on June 28th, yesterday officially marked the one month milestone for Google Plus; a social network that many thought would help to re-invent how we interact on the web by allowing us to abandon existing social mediums in favor for Google’s “fresh approach” to social media and communication.
With this in mind, it wasn’t a huge shocker to see Google Plus steal the spotlight for the first week or so when it came out. Although I myself wasn’t blown away, I realize that the concept of finally being able to have a viable alternative to Facebook really made the service attractive for many users. Throw in the fact that Google Plus was a more “exclusive” invite-only service and it’s easy to see why users were eager to get their hands on invites and join part of what many saw as a social networking revolution.
But as the hype dies down, is Google Plus already taking a nose-dive in terms of traffic and user loyalty? Recent reports are showing that traffic to the network is down about three percent now in comparison to the previous week. Additionally, it seems that even the more loyal Google Plus users are beginning to spend less time on the social network, with the average time on the site dropping to 5 minutes and 15 seconds; down ten percent from the previous average of 5 minutes and 50 seconds.
Now, at face value I really wouldn’t find these reports to be disturbing in the least. After all, even Facebook saw a slight decrease in traffic last month, proving that even the strong and established social networks have their ups in downs when it comes to traffic.
What really scares me is the fact that Google Plus is seeing decreased levels of traffic – albeit very small – at a point when they should be seeing increases in traffic. Think about it. The network has only been online for a month now, and as more users have joined I would naturally think that the site would see even higher levels of traffic as invitations to the service became more plentiful and redly available. Honestly, lack of user interest seems to be written on the walls here.
This concept makes even more sense when you consider the fact that users are spending less time on the site; a trend that clearly states that users simply don’t have anything to do or any reason to stick around.
Honestly, I don’t understand why the site is already seeing declines. I mean, it’s far from perfect, but when you really look at it Google Plus is the alternative to Facebook that everyone has been wanting for so long. All of this in mind, Google Plus has a clean and accessible web interface as well as mobile applications for both Android and iOS; so there’s really nothing stopping people who want to use Google Plus from abandoning Facebook altogether.
However the one big issue that I think Google Plus still has – and perhaps the biggest issue that they’ll have to solve in order to get their network off the ground – is the fact that no matter how eager certain users are to switch over, the network really isn’t any good for a user unless they can convince all of their friends to join and become active on Google Plus as well. And even though there are some people who really care about social media and want to embrace Google Plus, the fact of the matter is there are more people who are happy with services like Facebook as they are and have no need to switch.
What do you think? Why isn’t Plus taking off as much as we thought it would? Will the service rebound or will it join Friendster and MySpace in the land of social networks past? Let us know in the comments!