Following a report back in July showing that Google+ gets only 2 percent of social sharing, new figures from Shareaholic (via Marketing Land) reveal that the service drives an average of 0.06 percent of all referral traffic. This contrasts with Facebook at 8.11 percent, Pinterest at 3.24 and Twitter at a surprisingly low 1.17.

Google+ traffic is also growing at a far slower rate than other social media.

Shareaholic also says that Google+ is growing the slowest as a referral source at just 6.97 percent over the past year. Referrals from Facebook (58.81 percent), Pinterest (66.52 percent), Twitter (54.12 percent) and YouTube (52.86 percent) all grew more than 50 percent since September 2012.

Viewed against a backdrop of Google’s aggressive promotion of the service, making it virtually impossible not to have a G+ account by linking it to every product the company has, it does make me question whether Google+ has a long-term future … 

Google clearly desperately wants to have a social presence – it has persisted with efforts to push the service despite lacklustre results. It’s not that Google+ is without its fans. A lot of techies like it. But mass-market consumers don’t appear interested.

The obscurity of the service has prompted a number of lampoons to go viral … on other social media sites.





Google has in the past demonstrated a willingness to kill other products that didn’t achieve the levels of popularity it sought. Google Reader, iGoogle, Google Buzz, Google Wave, Google Health, Google Answers, Google Page Creator … the list is a long one. Were Google not so keen to be active in the social space, G+ would have joined them long ago.

Google+ survives for one reason and one reason only: Google really, really wants it. But if a company with the marketing clout and determination of Google can’t persuade consumers to use the service, there surely has to come a point when – however much Google might wish it otherwise – G+ has to be written-off as a failed experiment?

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7 Responses to “Opinion: With results like these, does Google+ have a future?”

  1. Sam Joy says:

    Google+ plus is not a social site like Facebook, as that is a gossip site rather than a site that has a purpose for Technology and not of a human trait of insecurities or narcissistic needs for ego. I think Facebook started out to be a site for friends & family or even of some type of entertainment, but it has perversely transformed itself to that of where people with ideology, politics, religion or just those of mindless rants to have a workable medium of useless and valueless postings!.. just my two cents worth!…tell me I’m wrong!, it would be very hard to disprove this obvious observation! LOL!
    I read a long time ago on one of the Google Beta blog sites about what Google purpose was with Plus and in no way did they want just another iteration of Facebook, I agree with that purpose! as if I wanted another Facebook there are enough copies out to choose from. People see something and usually compare it with something they know such as Facebook users would do in this case, Google plus is just another arm or extension to the Google core, All the Techy Google users know what Google plus is and what it’s for?, everyone else is just throwing stuff at the wall and seeing what sticks??
    Google Plus has a lot of potential for people wanting their own personal site or even starting a business as that was one of the first things I did and have the inherent help of Google for being on top for when the site is searched for. I think if you look at Google Plus objectively it might give a better view of it, but if you look at it with Facebook filtered glasses then you are only going to see it that way….

  2. Ray Wells says:

    I really don’t think Google+ is going anywhere any time soon. It’s integrated into virtually everything Google, and there thousands of apps/games that are using Play Services / Google+ integration as well – especially in games.

    Facebook, Twitter, etc may be growing faster or at least have a bigger user base but they have also been around for a substantially longer time. Give Google+ a chance – it may take a couple more years yet but I really don’t think Google+ has reached it’s full potential.

  3. The longer I use G+ the more annoyed I get with it. Needs to be streamlined/simplified and a lot snappier. G+ designers should take some lessons from their Google search colleagues.

  4. So do the stats for Facebook include Instagram? Would be interesting to see how that stacks up… Facebook has a declining user base but the instagram base seems to be growing especially overseas. I am guessing this is what is showing the growth for Facebook vs the others.

  5. As a social media site, Nope, don’t think so, and I’m saying this as avid user of google products.

    • “As a social media site” I think this is a key point.

      From the outside, G+ looks like a social media site. From Google’s perspective it’s about creating a real-name, online identity hub, a cluster of users. I suspect that, as long as people sign up for it, Google won’t mind too much if they don’t actually use it very often as a social media site.

      Signing up for it will become increasingly easy, to the point of invisibility, because Google will increasingly fold other services into it. People will effectively be using G+ (by using gmail, maps, hangouts/chat/voice, photo storage, Drive, Android, etc.) without even knowing or caring that that’s what they’re doing.