McDonald’s has Burger King. Home Depot has Lowe’s. Coke has Pepsi. Leaders and followers. In lots of markets, you’ll find two similar competitors going head-to-head.
Though you might prefer to own Coke, you would be pretty happy if you owned Pepsi. Being #2 isn’t all bad. So when Google announced Google+ in the summer of 2011, it seemed reasonable that they might make a run at Facebook. At the time, plenty of pundits thought that with Google’s giant boots, they’d squish Facebook. It didn’t happen.
In a recent analysis of 515,405, randomly selected, valid Google+ profiles, it was found that 90.1% had never posted any content. Only .3% of profiles had 50 or more public posts. It’s hard to even be #2 with such a small base of active users.
Google+ was doomed from the start. The paradox in competing with Facebook is that a social network only works when your friends are there. Whatever beats Facebook will have to be better on many levels and something will have to cause millions of social circles to make the jump. It’s happened before and it will probably happen to Facebook, but right now, if Google couldn’t do it, we have to presume it’s not ready to happen yet. (Sorry Ello)
The network isn’t going away yet but an announced restructuring leads us to think that how Google+ emerges will look a lot different than it does today. Which is a good thing.
More social media choices and better ways for marketers to engage, are needed. On top of that, Facebook’s privacy rules leave the door open for others to come along who take users queasy feelings serious.