Google has bet the company on Google+, but it’s dying on its arse. A study by traffic analysts RJ Metrics suggests that public engagement with the social network is weak, and failing to gather momentum.
"The decay rate here is very concerning," says the report, summarised here. "Users are less and less likely to make additional posts, even a few months after initially joining."
RJM found that a third of users who make one public posting never make another, and that the mean time between public posts is around 12 days. A study in February found that the social network had flatlined, with visitors spending three minutes a month on Google+ compared to 405 minutes per month at Facebook.
Google disputes the RJM study because it only measures public posts. Private posts made to ‘Circles’ are not included in the analysis. However, the Chocolate Factory has yet to release any data contradicting the studies.
The social network has been a huge gamble for Google. The ad giant has ripped up its privacy policies and redesigned its consumer services around Google+, effectively lashing the company to the Plus wheel. Google has even put major product launches, including Google Voice for Europe, on hold until the user interface is made Google+ compliant.
But the net gain is minimal; all Google may have succeeded in doing is cannibalising its own Gmail service.
The lacklustre support comes despite a high degree of coercion. Trek actor Wil Wheaton recently blasted Google for compelling his fans to join “yet another fucking social network they don’t want or need.”
Any suggestions for how Google can disentangle itself from Plus? ®