Google+ is failing! [DATA]

I have been monitoring Google+ traffic levels with Alexa from the beginning of August. It was doing OK in the first half of the month. This is why I didn’t pay much attention to it. But then the percentage of Google+ traffic from total of Google.com started to fall.

Due to a lot of comments about validity of Alexa data and methodology I wrote a post about how this data can be interpreted in a way that shows Google+ not failing.

[UPDATED TO REFLECT LATEST CHANGES, September 6 2011] Here are the numbers:

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As you can see from the chart the downwards movement is significant and steady. The Google+ share in Google.com’s total traffic has dropped more than 27% 37% in the last two weeks 18 days. If this trend will continue then Google will have a really big problem.

I hope they find a solution as we all will have a betters social networking experience when there are more than one competing social media networking sites. The biggest problems that I have with Google+ are:

Business problem

A lot of businesses are looking to find ways using Google+ for marketing. Well, Google told us to cool down and wait for it. If it is a platform I can use for business then I’m more interested. Right now Google is screwing with people who use personal profiles to set up business pages. So f****** what?! Let them! You may learn something!

Beta problem

We are in trial. It’s a beta. Work in progress. Somebody has to stand up and say we are go now! All websites are work in progress! Grow up, take some responsibility and launch the damn thing. Let people know through other services. GMail, Docs, YouTube, AdWords. Put it out there. Sure, the service may fail and annoy people but if you don’t do that Google+ may fail.

Games problem

I may be wrong here and maybe games will bring a ton of people to Google+, but I think it’s stupid. Yes, of course I can beat Sergey Brin on Angry Birds. Does it add any value to Google+ for me? Not really. (OK, maybe a minor ego boost). The whole gaming experience is not something to write home about. What they should have done is to create an open API. Let everyone write apps for Google+. Empower people! Make it easier and better than in Facebook.

This is somewhat tied to business problem. Show me how to integrate Google+ into my business for marketing or to serve clients better. You don’t have to invent everything yourself, let the users invent for you.

Account problem

I use Google Apps for my email and you can’t use that email with Google+, Coming soon is what they say. Well… I don’t want to use another address with Google+. I have my email address that is tied to virtually everything and now Google tells me to use another address that is like an island in the sea and not connected to anything. For the same reason I missed Google Buzz entirely (in that case coming soon changed to out of business).

Last week I posted a Google+ invite link to this blog. As you can see more than half of the invites remain. There have been 326 visits to that post, 189 clicks on the link and 69 sign ups. You have to get people in through the services, they have to need it. There’s only so many geeks who want to check it out for its coolness.

That’s about it! I would really hate to see Google+ fail. Competition is great and will make life better for all of us. But if this trend continues then it would be hard to get new people to sign up. “Hi! Come join our great social networking site that nobody uses! There’s lots of room…”

Comment to let us know what do you think, about Google+’s future.

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Priit Kallas

Priit is the founder and CEO of DreamGrow Digital, an internet marketing and social media company. With his 20+ years internet marketing experience he is Helping companies to understand and use the digital marketing to reach their target audiences. He has spoken at hundreds of seminars and conferences on different aspects of internet marketing. Priit is also the organizer of Digital Elite Camp, a leading traffic and conversion event.

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114 Responses

  1. google keeps asking me for my phone number, so i just stopped using google services.

  2. cedar saunas says:

    We are comparing this with the most established networking sites.

  3. Gehe hier says:

    It’s been a great reading, you got pretty valuable info on the subject. Thanks for sharing it with us.

  4. Google plus is very user friendly. Yes, it is simple unlike FB.

    • Where to check all things like these mistakes of google plus?

    • The new additions will make use of several of Google’s technology assets. For example, if someone posts a photo of the Eiffel Tower, Google Plus would use image recognition and the content from its Knowledge Graph (see “Google’s New Brain Could Have a Big Impact”) to recognize that it is the Eiffel Tower and add a tag.

  5. Thanks for sharing it. I found this Information very interesting and informative! Keep sharing!

  6. Some supporting data: According to analysis from Experian Hitwise, there was a 5.5% drop in U.S. visits last week to 1.16 million.

  7. John says:

    Alexa data is so far off, we can hardly predict anything based on this figures..

  8. Since g +1 if from the big dog google, it may consider the freind requests as potential spam. Not considering the google wave but facebook has its own potential. I just love it, in other words i think not lot of people were attracted to google plus one. See alexa data incase to find the stastics

  9. I think that there are just way too many social media that are available and people just simple can’t use them all in one day. Some people are probably content with FB and Google+ is just another outlet they can use if FB is not working for them.

  10. wikimice says:

    Google is the future of this planet, embrace it…

  11. DaisyD says:

    Google+ is simply not user-friendly, sorry… I had such hopes to see FB taken down by google+ but apparently, that is not gonna happen.

  12. Google+ isn’t failing! It’s just getting started!!!

    • Priit Kallas says:

      Well, it may work out in the end as Google has billions to spend on it but it’s not a success they hoped for. I really would like to see competition in social networking field.

  13. Derek says:

    As I’ve said elsewhere, G+ is FB designed by the guys from The Big Bang Theory. Technically great but almost totally unusable without major effort. Nothing is instinctive or easy the way good software should be. No amount of smokescreen from Google can disguise the fact that this isn’t working. And, now that businesses are using it as a channel, that’s all it is, another distribution channel.

  14. BrokenEye says:

    Well that was completely predictable.

    Now if only there was some way to get all the other antisocial networking sites to fail as well. They don’t deserve the kind of success they’ve been having, what with contributing absolutely nothing useful or even positive to society.

    • Equipoise says:

      Excuse me Brokeneye, you want ALL the social networking sites to fail? Don’t like them? Don’t use them. People who don’t want other people to talk to each other usually have an agenda. On an individual basis (friends and family talking to each other, giving information, getting information, meeting new people) some social networking sites, mainly Facebook and Twitter, have been a wild success. As with anything, it’s all in how you use it, and what you want to give and get.

  15. advertising says:

    …That’s a lot of threats for the new Facebook’s competitor!
    I wonder how they will try to tackle the issues!

    I am personally not a big fan of Google + but the idea seemed great at the very beginning.

  16. I am really hoping this will be the end of this experiment for google. In trying to control every piece of information on the internet and by ignoring basic privacy rights, google has become the evil corporation they used to abhor. They want to BE the internet, and that’s a huge problem.

    It is sad, really, but I hope everything they do from here on out fails. God help us if they take over a telecom company.

    • minime says:

      Well, it’s better than Mark Z collecting your personal information for his benefit… I would prefer google to take over the world than FB.

  17. Mooper says:

    I’ll make my point another way: Consider the possibility that G+ is exactly what its name implies… an added layer of functionality, a “plus”, to existing Google products. In other words, it isn’t a dedicated social network, but a layer on top of what Google users already love. If this is true, Google has no reason to be concerned about a short term spike in interest followed by a waning period caused by a lack of critical mass. They can achieve that critical mass when the product is ready and they turn on the marketing machine for it. If everyone wakes up one morning and, with one click, they can turn on wild new features for their Gmail, YouTube, Chrome Browser, Android OS, Picasa, and so on… won’t they? Yes, Buzz was sort of like this (albeit it applied to just a couple of products, not all), but it was very different in that it didn’t do much. The actual functionality of G+ is *far* beyond Buzz, more usable than Wave, and so on. If just 50% of Google users say, “ok, upgrade my Google Account free to these new features”, you’ll have hundreds of millions of users versus the 25 million users we saw in the first round. And it is at that point it will catch on with the masses… mom and pop, if you will.

  18. Lee says:

    I didn’t read every comment, so my apologies if someone already said this. But one HUGE reason for the dropoff in traffic is probably the stupid insistence on “legal name only, no nicknames, no online names”. People who have built their online reputations using a nickname, people who use nicknames to differentiate themselves from a gazillion other people with the same legal name, and (most importantly) people whose physical safety may be jeopardized by using their legal name — those people are backing off in disappointment, or just plain aren’t interested. Plus, y’know, the people who get their accounts suspended because their legal names aren’t white and European enough to pass Google+ “community standards”.

    This is a PR disaster, and Google is showing no interest in fixing it. And because of that, I’m using my G+ account a lot less than I was, and so are a lot of other people I know.

  19. Google+ has been just started and in beta version. We are comparing this with the most established networking sites. Google will definitely add up new apps and functionality in Google +.

  20. Mooper says:

    Err, does anyone realize that A) Google isn’t seeking to expand this broadly yet, as it is still in testing, B) They haven’t marketed it *at all* yet (advertised it within other products like Gmail, etc), C) They are developing it with early adopters exclusively to make sure it is ready for prime time when they do market it, D) When they open it to the public and link it to Gmail, YouTube, etc, users will explode, E) It’s usage amongst early adopters is limited because there isn’t a critical mass to keep everyone heavily involved… yet, E) Today, it still requires an invite to join, F) Those who have actually used it for more than ten minutes broadly agree it is incredibly superior to Facebook, G) There is a fervent userbase, despite the decline, that generally includes the savvy movers and shakers…

    • Priit Kallas says:

      Mooper, A) it really doesn’t matter what Google is seeking. People are losing interest. B) marketing point is valid but as we saw in Buzz case not enough. C) People are losing interest and this is very hard to regain. D) See B and C. E1) Come on! This is circular reference, it’s not used ’cause it’s not used. E2) There are 150 invites for every user that makes about 3,75 billion invites available in the first circle. Should be enough don’t you think. It’s NOT private beta. F) What was the sample size of your study? How did yo ensure the representativeness of the sample. G) I agree with you there, but so are hundreds of other geek sites.

  21. Pin Up Bot says:

    I think you are right on all points. I don’t see anything special about it other than the circles thing, but that isn’t a reason why any of the 750 million facebook users would go to google plus instead.

    I think it is the next “wave” for google. Unfortunately, after this huge fail, I don’t think they will have another chance at it. The CEO Schmidt guy recently stated that it wasn’t a social network but an identity service which is why they are not allowing nyms. That alone makes me weary of google now. I’ve closed all of my google accounts except the one I use for uploading my product data feeds; but is that a reason to even keep that account? I think I will delete that one in the next week or so. I really don’t like that people are being forced to post their personal name information publicly on google+, it’s the principle. The only reason I even tried it in the first place was because I use gmail. But what I’m finding out about the way google does things now, it’s just not in anyones best interest and I think they will go the way of the dinosaur.
    I think another search engine is in order. Perhaps facebook. Or just go back to msn/bing; They are more precise anyway.

  22. Google shot itself in the foot with its botched handling of the G+ identity/Nymwars issue. Guess what? People don’t like Google’s heavy-handed approach, and are choosing not to use G+ just like Eric Schmidt and Vic [sic] Gundotra have suggested that they should do if they don’t like the policy.

    I am boycotting Google in entirety and encourage everyone to do the same: http://www.thegeniusfiles.com/tag/googleplusstrike

  23. Joe says:

    @Nexii – In terms of an interest graph right now Twitter is the first thing that I use when I want to find out about interests outside of my scope of friends. Plus Twitter allows for anonymous accounts.

    It just seems to me that Google told it’s engineers to “build something cool” and that they expected customers to figure out what it’s used for. Which is why there are so many mixes messages as to what Google Plus is from executives. It’s our version of Facebook, no wait it’s an online identity system, no no it’s the next generation Twitter, hold on it’s …

    Is it pretty? Yes. Does it use cool technologies? Yes. But my question still stands: If Google wants me to do all of the work of rebuilding my social graph(Facebook), my interest graph (Twitter) or my professional graph (Linked-In) what can it do for me that’s different and better than the above 3?

  24. Blake says:

    I just deleted all Google Plus content from my G+ account. Until Google changes their stance on Pseudonyms and nicknames, I hope the service crashes and burns just like Google Wave did.

  25. Priit Kallas says:

    Some supporting data: According to analysis from Experian Hitwise, there was a 5.5% drop in U.S. visits last week to 1.16 million. http://www.investorplace.com/2011/08/google-plus-visits-facebook-mmi/

  26. TRVolk says:

    Does this chart account for DDOS attacks on Google itself?

    • Wetter Pit says:

      There is much competition in social network and Google have to participate in this. If not Google could lose in this terrain his space.

  27. I have also not tried much of G+. I do not have time for anything for social software other than Facebook and Twitter. I think it is the biggest challenge for G+. Facebook has occupied so much space on social front that any new service need to be extra careful and very functionality rich + easy to use to get noticed.

    • mivla says:

      the sample size of your study? How did yo ensure the representativeness of the sample. G) I agree with you there, but so are hundreds of other geek sites.painters sydney

    • Priit Kallas says:

      It’s Alexa data so it consists probably of millions of users but skewed towards tech savvy people.

    • If not Google could lose in this terrain his space.

    • Ian Smith says:

      One of my blog posts is entitled “Set up Google Authorship & Publishership – forget about the rest of Google+ for now”.

      And that is still my view. If you are serious about marketing your business online, then you should of course be utilising social media. But Google+ is largely a nightmare that most ordinary people (ie your customers!!!) cannot get their head around! So, don’t waste your valuable time – there are MUCH more important issues to address.

  28. For those that are commenting on wondering what gap Google Plus fills in, it seems to be filling a very valuable unique niche in the social arena.

    Your ‘interest graph’.

    As Robert Scoble put it: “If your real life family and friends don’t care about what you care about, you gotta go look for strangers.”

    For instance you would search for all those photographers and follow their streams in a circle, etc. Whatever your topic of interest is! Finance, politics, art, fashion, …

    It’s looking very cool, already when I search on google, I’ll see names of people attached to results of those that I follow. For example if some photographer I follow makes a review post that I missed about a shop related to photography, I’ll see his name on the result of that site and see the site higher up in ranking.

  29. Joe says:

    I’ll be honest here this is how I view my social networking.

    Facebook – For friends and family.
    Linked-In – For co-workers, business contacts.
    Twitter – For celebrity gossip, tech gossip, etc.
    Google Plus – For ?

    I’m still a bit puzzled what Google Plus is used for. If it’s a replacement for Facebook, there’s not enough people on it. If it’s a identity service how is it better than openid?

    At this point it’s just another service that I have to manage and keep track of. Also I think that circles is a good idea in principal, but it makes a boring social network. Like it or not the most interesting thing about Facebook is the idea that you can stick your nose in other people’s business without them knowing. Why do you think people stay on it for so long? Google circles doesn’t really facilitate this idea and to me makes Google Plus feel like a ghost town where everybody is in their own private circles chatting away but you can’t hear a thing.

  30. florin says:

    I dropped out as I read more about the Real Name policy. Google it and education yourself.

    The fact that Google disallows pseudo-anonymity on google+ is abuse of power and harming a great deal of people. So thanks, but no thanks.

  31. mario says:

    Wait a second: it’s not even possible to sign up to Google+ at the moment! I tried some old invites, just to check, and Google+ won’t let you sign up, because they are “full”.

  32. Juan says:

    See if it picks up again from today onwards. I suspect a lot of UK folk went away to utilise the recent Bank holiday.

  33. Vickie W says:

    I’m not very social myself, but I do head up a fan network for an underground cult musician with a world-wide following. I’m itching to start a band page for her on Google + because a lot of fans I know hate Facebook, and MySpace was ruined. I can’t send fans to MySpace now, it’s an embarrassment. I wish G+ were band-friendly. I could bring a bunch of fans with me if it were. And no, I’m not out to promote her, I just want another place for fan to gather.

  34. Google is at a huge disadvantage in the Social Networking world. The biggest impact of success for any social network is whether the people you want to network are on it. Between FB and LinkedIN, business and personal networking are covered. There’s very little reason for people to leave these sites and go to another network where none of their friends are.

    In a completely unscientific survey of FB friends I did recently, most said they either had checked out Google+, but weren’t planning on leaving FB or they didn’t even both checking Google+. Who needs another social network if the one you’re on works well enough.

    For Google, though, I think social network is only a small part of their plan. They want it as a search signal, and advertising platform, and yet another place to gather even more information on everyone.

  35. Joe says:

    Ugh. Somehow all my regular contacts got blocked when I signed up for Google Plus. They don’t show up anywhere, including in GTalk. I canceled my G+ account thinking that might help, but it did not, and I have no idea how to see who is all blocked and how to easily unblock them. I’m pretty pissed off and I wish I would have remained off the G+ train now. The migration away from Google will continue now…

  36. Merennulli says:

    The failure for me was that right off the bat, the first question is “Give up control over your Picasa privacy settings: Yes/Don’t Sign Up”. I picked option 2, and I’d imagine after the Facebook privacy fiascos, so did most people.

    We don’t want or need Google in the social network environment. That’s not their core competency, nor do the geeks who drive a lot of the early adoption believe in Google’s ability to be less evil than Facebook. We need an Open alternative, not a Facebook clone with equally flawed antiprivacy ideals.

  37. Paul Gailey says:

    I speculated at Plus launch about the delay to Apps users to the service. I think at best they have another 60 days to crack it for business users before iPhone5 steals the limelight. If they do sort it, the prize is proper introduction of social to the enterprise, perhaps that is worth their agonising wait. http://post.ly/2JYl0

  38. Ryan Fortin says:

    I guess this post was meant to get people riled up and comment. Kudos you succeeded. You really shouldn’t be making such bold and broad statements based on a 3rd party analytics service. You do realize Alexa numbers are wildly inaccurate? I am quite tired of bloggers making absurd claims about websites based on shitty 3rd party analytics.

    • Priit Kallas says:

      Ryan, I hope you understand that the important thing is Alexa’s consistency. As pointed out in previous comments, no matter how wrong the data is as long as the method is consistent we can use that as an indicator. 30% of Alexa users did not stop using Alexa in the last two weeks.

  39. Priit Kallas says:

    Thanks, George for your comment! I have listened to G+ people talk about their vision and I don’t see what it is that would make people switch from Facebook. But I admit that my lack of vision in G+ will not make then slow down or grow faster.

    Data liberation might be one thing but that is not yet available in any social network. People should own their social data and host it on social networking sites. Maybe something like email… I understand it’s a mountain of data but it can be done.

  40. George L. says:

    Alexa’s numbers might not be perfect, but its a good metric for seeing trends. I wouldn’t go so far as to say Google+ is failing. It just faces a ridiculously uphill road to climb in any sort of raw numbers competition with Facebook. Right now G+ can succeed by continuing to influence Facebook’s privacy and other features. Anybody who was expecting G+ to have a hundred million users right off of the bat was overly optimistic: that will take years to accomplish and Google finding ways to reach out to non-technical people in a true social manner. You’re right about Google having a tough road to find ways to reach out to normal people and businesses. Facebook has an entire industry of companies listed at http://buyfacebookfansreviews.com that do nothing else except sell people Facebook likes: nothing that Google does can even begin to approach this. G+ will take years to really find out what businesses want and I think its going to be a really tough sell for them when everybody is on Facebook and Google has to get a large cross-section of businesses to use their service. There’s got to be a real incentive there and I don’t know that Google knows how to really swing it. I’d give good odds that Facebook is a serious competitor in the search industry before Google is a true mass market threat to Facebook’s social networking biz.

  41. Rich Girl says:

    When I first found out about Google+, I thought, oh, no! Not new social site again! It took me almost 3 years to collect all my friends in facebook and now start it again? Why should I do that? Why do I need to send invites and drag my friends from facebook to a new site? Yes, I am registered on Google+, but I don’t use it. I have three geeks there as my friends and it is not interesting. Yes, circles is a good idea, but when you don’t have any friends there, there is no much sence in it. Besides I am sure that facebook will soon come up with something similar or even better.

  42. Joe says:

    I finally signed up, thanks for the invite link. I took a few minutes to make a couple circles that are FAR from complete (or even usable, really) and tried to see what it was all about. I like the idea, but nobody I know is using it. I have 1 person putting things in their stream, and I don’t care about anything they are posting. This is the same reason I left Facebook; I just didn’t care what my “friends” had to say. Using the Circles might help with that, but without people I do care about posting, I’ll never use it, and given the quick experience I just had, I’m unlikely to ever log back in. Twitter is serving my need really really well, and unless G+ gets some kind of Twitter integration (both in terms of reading and tweeting), it’s pretty useless to me.

  43. Jeremy says:

    The critical error in this analysis is based on ONE metric: traffic as assessed by Alexa. Besides having a link bait title, the author is assuming failure to maintain traffic is causing G+ to “fail”.

    Readers also need to be sure not to confuse the criticisms about G+ as reasons for the supposed drop in traffic, since they are clearly opinions (valid as they may be) without data to support their correlation.

    With a highly evolving platform, that has had a huge influx of traffic due to its initial launch, you have to be very careful how you look at data. If G+ was a stable platform, then traffic might hold more value, however its in rapid development so I disregard these kinds of statistics since there are too many ways it can be misinterpreted.

    • Priit Kallas says:

      Jeremy, I understand the shortcomings of one metric but there is nothing else. Until big players publish their data, Alexa is the best indicator. I guess that your point about huge initial influx causing this might be valid. But then the “real” / “interested” user numbers would be somewhat below the reported 25M.

  44. L.A.C.E. says:

    What I have found with Google+ is that people don’t know how to use it or what it is for. Kind of like what facebook was at first. I had invitations for it for a good year before I even tried it.

    I have my friends ask me all the time, what can I do with Google+ Many of us are already set up on Facebook, or don’t have a gmail account and they don’t want to have to get one, etc. Too many unknowns. I have google+ but don’t use it because I have maybe three friends on there.

    Also they won’t let my teen sign up. I invited him. There was no reasoning why either. I monitor his account, so I want him with me. Until things like this change, Google+ won’t be utilized very much by me at all.

  45. Brian says:

    Basing any numbers off Alexa is risky at best. Since Alexa’s numbers are skewed by geeks and webmaster’s to begin with, it could mean major trouble for a service catering to those individuals to have a big drop in Alexa traffic.

    • Priit Kallas says:

      Brian, Alexa numbers are stabel within the Alexa user community. So this drop is real if 30% of Alexa users didn’t stop using Alexa in the last few weeks.

  46. Jeff says:

    The 2 critical (hopefully not fatal) flaws I saw was the lack of Business pages and not allowing the Google App account. The fact that they didn’t have a Biz option was curious, but after the demands started pouring in it’s just idiotic they dont do something.

    If anyone has a good answer as to why they keep leaving the Google App users out in the cold with new projects, please comment. It confuses the hell out of me why they make people that have paid and committed themselves to Google to stand in the back of the line.

  47. I stopped using it as soon as I found out they would require real names. They banned me. I didn’t bother adapting to their policy.

  48. Danny says:

    I thought it would happen, let’s see what will happen next month. But I think that the situation will not change. Google Plus did not offer anything revolutionary and here is the result.

  49. babu says:

    I can´t really agree with this . Though the traffic was down . But facebook also facing great challenge with the PPC marketing . Now more people are trying to Figure out in the Google plus Marketing . So I had already picked the domain whose current Price is nearly USD 1,500,000.I will hold it as I can still can see great Potency behind google plus activity.

  50. Lakawak says:

    Zahid…I was waiting for the first idiot to bring up that it only measures people who have the Alexa toolbar installed…so…tell me something, you simple minded moron…why would people who HAD the toolbar installed last month have gotten rid of it.

    You can make the Alexa is only for people with the toolbar argument when comparing two very differnet sites. But not when you are comparing the SAME site over just a month apart unless you can come up with a reason why 30% of Google+ users who had the toolbar installed (and were therefore being counted) all decided to delete the toolbar now.

    In other words, your argument is pointless and wrong. Google+’s traffic IS failing. And pretty much anyone who actually uses their brain admits this. There is ALREADY talk around the Google campus questioning whether or not it is savable and if it is even worth the time, effort and money to do try.

  51. lakawak says:

    Mitch…Google’s total pageviews was pretty steading through July, and in the last two weeks, has been falling pretty fast. (So has Facebook which leads me to think there is a change in alexa’s data collecting) But regardless…there is NO WAY you could think that Google’s overall traffic would increase to the point of making up for the 30% decreasing.

    It is AMAZING the lengths fanboys will go to to bury their heads in the sand about how Google+ is failing. The fact is, after getting 25 million sign ups in 4 weeks, they have gotten less than FIVE million more in the last 5 weeks. (By contrast, Facebook has signed up more than that in the last 5 weeks) And Priit’s invite numbers are actually being generous. Most people who send out invites are seeing WAY less than 45% or so “success” rate in getting people to sign up. Most people are seeing less than 10%.. This is why Google made it so easy to mass invite people, hoping that 5% of 150 will sign up. And even that is not working.

  52. Priit Kallas says:

    Jeremy, I don’t think Google aims for the niche thing. Anything less than a full scale general public social networking site would be considered a failure.

  53. Priit Kallas says:

    Zahid, the thing is that Google+ usage is dropping within users who use Alexa snipet. We can assume that this is a freak accident and everybody else is using more and more Google+. I, as an analyst, think that this drop is present not only in Alexa-users but also in general population.

    About the accuracy of Alexa. It is only important for Alexa to be consistent. I believe it is when dealing with sites the size of Google. As I pointed out in another comment Looking at GMail, Picasa, GDocs usage gives a reference point that suggest the drop is real although we do not know the actual numerical values (as of today about 33%).

    And again I understand the limitations of Alexa but still think G+ is in trouble if Google doesn’t come up with something fast as mentioned in the post.

  54. Zahid says:

    I think the Alexa chart you post is flawed because the user needs to have installed the toolbar in order for alexa to track pageviews. Never have I seen any organization claim that Alexa is accurate. The two most accurate data Analytics services I know of are Compete.com and comScore.

    That said, I agree with you on some levels. There was a lot of buzz at the launch, followed by wtf is this and now finally we have stagnation. This gives Google the ability to fix what’s broken before the public launch. Once there is a toolbar following you from YouTube to Gmail, people will use it more.

  55. Jeremy says:

    Google+ is not a mass thing. It’s a geek thing.

    This trend is normal : social media light users realize that Google+ is not for them. Not yet, anyway. So they’re going back to Facebook (“Ok, it looks like that. bye bye”). G+ is kind of LinkedIn for digital professional. Something like that.
    And I’m convinced that these people won’t stop using G+. Actually, they are using G+ more and more.

  56. Sunny Makkar says:

    The rings are after-all a fundamentally better option than Facebook friends. but Facebook is king in Social Media Mar kiting.

  57. Matteo says:

    Hi all,
    please remember G+ is in PRIVATE BETA… on invitation only… that’s why lot of your complains are wrong…
    One thing is true: Google cannot keep people on hold too much… now we know G+ exists, we have tried it, the potential is huge, the expectations really big.
    Google is risking keeping people on hold too much… they risk to loose interest consumer side… that why (I think) they delivered games as 1st improvement…. but I agree with you, games are not the potential G+ has to have success… FB is already there from a while!
    G+ has to bet on social enterprise and business collaboration features.

    • Priit Kallas says:

      Matteo, I think the private beta thing is not a right way to do it. Anyone who wants to get in can, so it’s not so private. I have distributed about 100 invites. Every one of those can invite another 150. People will lose interest pretty fast…

  58. Andy Stevens says:

    Priit, this is a well written post in the sense that it has inspired debate. However, it is far far too early to call a #fail. If your graph was plotted from 0% on the y axis, the figures would not look half as daunting for G+. 27% drop off does look catastrophic, but remember that we’re comparing it to massive initial growth. They’re victims of their own initial success. Especially considering that there will be another massive influx of traffic once the network goes on general release. Have Google got it spot on with their strategy? No. But don’t forget, when they want it to go big, they have the biggest advertising network on the planet in the palm of their hand.

    You can’t compare this project to Wave. Wave was a platform, not a network. Unfortunately Google didn’t communicate the potential properly and the standard interface they created was garbage and put people off. G+ interface (in-browser and mobile) is awesome, by far the best out there.

    Also, don’t forget that it was only a few weeks ago when FB user numbers dropped off in the States and everyone was predicting the beginning of the end. Knee-jerk reactions to the ebb and flow of website/network traffic are rarely correct.

    • Priit Kallas says:

      Andy, I understand the visual aspects. But still, today it’s already 33% down. Maybe Alexa has something wrong, but I think it is a valid trend indicator.

  59. I can say from personal experience that I’ve definitely noticed Google+ losing steam, in terms of both my (and my friends’) use of the network as well as the traffic it is driving in to my various clients’ websites. I have my doubts as to whether it will ever really catch on. I don’t think Facebook has anything to be worried about.

  60. Jesus says:

    Great post Priit – good to see other profeccsionas looking at the real numbers rather than the hype

    definitely retweeting and posting in my page

  61. Mitch Monsen says:

    A flaw I see in the calculation of the drop in Google+ is that it’s based off of a percentage of Google’s total pageviews. This could mean, as the article asserts, that the social network is getting far less views, but what if they’re remaining relatively constant but Google’s overall pageviews are going up?

    I’d like to see that same graph but with another line representing Google’s total pageviews to see if there’s a correlation.

    • Priit Kallas says:

      Mitch, I also have other Google sites’ data. Picasa, GMail, etc. I had the same thought you did and checked. Analyzing that shows real drop G+ while other services stay relatively level.

  62. I think you hit it on the nose with “this service is less than 2 months old”. It’s -way- too early to be slinging around “no plan, no vision, #fail” type comments.

    Would you chastise a 2 month old baby who couldn’t speak? How about drive a car? Or put on a suit and go to work? Of course not.

    It’s the same type of fear-mongering that social media “gurus” talk about when Facebook changes their interface or their privacy settings. Just because some people get wigged out doesn’t mean the network fails.

    There’s always an adoption curve dip while people figure out how to use the damn thing, and if it will replace or augment what they already have.

    Their one major hurdle is getting new users to try it; and I’d say they’re doing damn well at that.

    Gmail wasn’t built in one day, or even two months. But over time, it completely changed how we look at email and how it should function. Google’s offerings have consistently changed the game. G+ is new, but I have no doubt it’s on that path.

  63. Tim says:

    I think plusone is here to stay

  64. JT Pedersen says:

    From my vantage point, what I am seeing is a repeat of Google Wave. The service is either ready, or it isn’t. Trolling it out there, calling it a ‘beta,’ and requiring everyone to get a special invitation, seems to add up to 3-strikes, you’re….

  65. @collentine says:

    metrics are not all and if you think plus.google.com is needed you missed a mayor point of G+

    It’s created to be integrated and ever-present. Visiting gmail, google.com etc you have the notification in corner = no need to visit plus.google.com

    • Priit Kallas says:

      Yes, I understand what you mean, collentine. But those features are not there. That’s what I wrote about people are not going to wait for long. There’s no road map, no vision…

  66. Priit Kallas says:

    Today it’s already 2.06% almost 30% drop in 2 weeks doesn’t really sound too good for a service that’s less than 2 months old.

  67. Märt Ridala says:

    I think the current downwards trend is due to the normal loss of “new-thing-vau-effect”. Facebook has still much more friends and comments. The lack of business pages and other things you mention are also true.

    But I am sure the trend will change and Google+ will soon start to experience steady growth. The rings are after-all a fundamentally better option than Facebook friends.

    It might be also that vacation’s starting or ending influence the statistics.

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