Why Google+ Needs to be Jay-Z

Google+ is probably not gaining enough ground to go mainstream as a social media platform and to do so, they need to “go Jay-Z.” This is what I mean …

Has Google+ been successful in attracting a large and engaged audience?

Certainly there is a lively, passionate, and involved group of users — and it’s hard to cut through the hype — but there is some indication that the social platform is languishing with key demographics.

Yes many people have accounts, perhaps they even peek inside to see what is going on once in awhile, but I think the business case for Google+ right now is “Let’s be there … just in case.” As long as that is the major value of the platform, it’s going to be a difficult proposition to compete with Facebook.

Now, I know there are many passionate advocates who will say “but I LOVE it!” but we can look at some data to get an idea that Google+ probably is not making a dent in the core Facebook audience.

The line below indicates when Google+ was rolled out. You could logically argue that Facebook usage has accelerated since then:

Last week, Edison Research revealed that a staggering 80 percent of the U.S. population between the ages of 19-34 are active on Facebook. The report concluded that essentially Facebook IS the social web for this demographic.

But don’t just look at the research. Go out and talk to young people and see what they say.  In the past eight weeks, I taught classes to about 350 business/journalism/design students ranging from 19 to mid-30s. I always try to get a sense of where they are with social media with a show of hands.   About 25% had Google+ accounts. But NOT ONE had been active in the past week. Both Pinterest and LinkedIn had more signs of life.

So why is Google+ apparently struggling when industry titans like Robert Scoble, Guy Kawasaki and Chris Brogan are pumping it up like it’s social media crack?

The Kids.  Don’t.  Care.

Somehow, some way, Google needs to make Google+ “tip” with the cool kids. And by cool kids I do not mean Guy Kawasaki. I mean cool KIDS.  The brand needs to be legitimately addictive and relevant enough to get young folks to move away from Facebook in droves.  That is going to be extraordinarily difficult. But here’s one place they could start …

Celeb identity game

When my clients are in the process of defining their brand image, one of the tricks I use is to ask them, “If your product were a celebrity, who would it be? So, for example, a line of eco-friendly, cause-oriented fashion accessories chose Sheryl Crowe. So we began to explore the colors, images, textures, sights and sounds of Sheryl Crowe that could be incorporated into digital and brand imagery. This exercise provides a concrete, visual reference point for people working on the brand.

The celebrity I would associate with Google+ is “Tom Hanks.”  Safe. Wholesome. Mainstream. Reliable. Somebody you would bring home to mom. The problem is, the age group they need to appeal to wants Jay-Z or Justin Bieber. Maybe both: Jay-B?

Today, Google+ does not fill any significant need that is unmet by Facebook. They don’t care about hang-outs or possible implications for SEO.  Google+ is invisible to this generation. Kind of like Tom Hanks. Somehow, they need to get in a Jay-Z frame of mind.

Unless Google’s goal is to always be the “niche for geeks” they simply must break out of that Silicon Valley love-fest bubble and get out on the street with the kids. Google+ has to figure out how to appeal to the 19-34 demographic deeply, rapidly and NOW if it has any hope of really going mainstream.

And the winner is …

My hunch? They can’t do it. It’s just too far from who they are as a company.

Like so many tech companies, I think they believe if they build a better product they’ll win. That is not necessarily the case.  History is filled with better products that lose.  To win, you also have to build an emotional tie with your audience. Do you think the kids can better relate to Facebook’s founder, a college drop-out millionaire in a hoodie or the Google engineer with the Stanford degree in the button-down shirt?

What do you think?  Can Google “go Jay-Z?” Is there a formula for them to win?

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  • Mark,

    The most important you make is right at the end… That best product doesn’t always win.  The best product is only the best product if people believe it’s the best product…

    Great stuff Mark…

    Thanks,

    Ryan H.

  • I seriously doubt Google can appeal to a “Facebook generation.” I’m at the tail end of that demographic and when I read a post about Google prepping to launch a tablet my initial reaction was “so what, I’m going to buy an iPad 3 as soon as I get back to the US.”

    As you said making that emotional connection is key. And even though I use Google search (less and less each day) for searching along with their email and docs, I don’t feel any emotional attachment to them as a company or brand.

    In my mind they are an engineering company focused on creating great products, not connections with customers.

    Ever try to call Google even to buy something? Exactly.

  • The power of perception. People don’t buy bottled water cause it’s better than tap water. It’s all about perception!

  • Thanks so much for he comment Ryan. Great to see you here today!

  • Making that comparison with Apple is a great one Robert. That emotional connection trumps a lot — battery life, market bullying, anti-trust charges, bad worker treatment in China — and people still buy, don’t they? To their core customers, they definitely have captured the cool factor!

  • Exactly. People want to be associated with a FEELING, not just a product.

  • Agree with every comment here – google+ is far too techie, or at least looks and feels it, to go mainstream. I work in a non IT non-marketing environment (health) and no one has even heard of it ! Here in Australia, Google + resembles a ghost town. Thanks for a succinct article with great insight. Cheers Alison

  • Thanks for the input from Oz Alison.

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  • I would challenge whether any of the networks have, in and of themselves, created a powerful emotional connection with their users.  What they have been able to provide is functionality and ease of use that can create a reasonable degree of emotional connection with user’s peers; a subtle yet important difference.

    To eat into any already entrenched social network, you have to have a proposition that is so compelling as to be able to move networks en masse.  Whilst facebook stay on the front foot in the regard of functionality provision and staying sensitive to user requirements, any other network is going to struggle if the best they can manage is a branded ‘me too’ package.

  • “Social Media Crack”. That made me crack up 😉

    Google+ doesn’t have the ease of use or the mass appeal for that demographic. If all of your friends are at Party A and a couple of them straggle over to Party B and you only have enough time to hit one of them, where are you going to go? Party A. For the majority, Google+ is an afterthought – if a thought at all.

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  • Ron Serina

    Good article …but I disagree ..I am about as non geek as one can be I’m lucky I get past the on button I cannot make Facebook work for me ..long story short  I can’t figure it out ..Google + on the other hand is intuitive , easy to understand , helpful and I can make it work for me …put a value on that  

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  • Here’s proof that Google doesn’t get it: it looks to sterile.

    Not just in terms of colors, but in terms of dynamism. I remember people complaining about that ticker on the right hand column of Facebook, but the reason it is there is to provide running movement that your friends are on the site and doing things.

    Google+ is, well, it’s just there.

    And I don’t know that summoning the essence of Jay-Z is going to fix that.

  • I think you are right, Mark. But Zuckerberg as a millionaire?  That’s so 12 seconds ago…  start adding zero’s.  Now that’s hard to relate too!

  • Mark, you always manage to pose these questions in the best ways. I agree that if it wants to be Facebook, it needs the bling, and if it doesn’t, it’s wasting its energies not being a great niche product. Google just doesn’t do cool very well; it’s trying to fight its own DNA to be a culture company. This will probably go down as a great case study in success making a company think it’s capable of anything. 

    I’m afraid even Jay-Z can’t save Google Plus at this point. And FWIW, if it’s going to try it, I hope they find a female celeb, because they’ve got way too much testosterone over there already.

  • Google+
    seems more and more to me like a place all of the google heads hangout and talk
    about how amazing Google is. They tell each other how cool the new apps are and
    how cool the newest updated G+ button is-but outside of that community I don’t
    see it adding any value to the rest of us.

     

    I like your thinking on this Mark, people don’t want to be told that it
    is cool from  Robert Scoble, Guy
    Kawasaki and Chris Brogan. They just want to perceive for themselves that is
    cool because others are there and it is adding value to their already very busy
    life.

    Call
    it “social search” or “social media” I am not sure Google,
    with the team they have now, can breakout of this dry run they are in.

    Great
    thoughts Mark!!

  • “Today, Google+ does not fill any significant need that is unmet by Facebook. They don’t care about hang-outs or possible implications for SEO. Google+ is invisible to this generation.”

    Completely agree and great piece overall. I’d go a bit further and say that Google+’s problem is that’s it doesn’t seem to know what exactly it wants to be. Since it started, it seems to be taking bits and pieces from different sites (Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr) and piecing them together to the point where it has everything, but as a consequence it becomes nothing (no identity).

    It is a pity as it’s a good product (the redesign makes everything a lot more attractive), but until it develops a unique hook, those who are on Facebook will see no reason to give it a chance.

  • I don’t think Google+ will ever be Facebook. Facebook is too big to take down at this point. And, the switching cost is too high. Since practically everyone on the planet (or so it seems) is on Facebook now, why would anyone switch? 

    I think your point is well put. But, I wonder if they can have success by going after another niche or demographic. Do you think they HAVE to be cool with the kids to gain traction?

    It also makes me wonder if it becomes so closely tied to search if businesses will feel they HAVE to be there just to improve search. Just thinking aloud…

  • I was just feeling a little guilty this morning as I thought about my neglected Google+ profile. Then I read your blog. 🙂 I guess I’m not the minority in trying to figure out how to work Google into my already bursting social media strategy. I feel much better now. Thanks, Mark! 

  • From only my view, I would disagree. Facebook is not a network. It’s a lifestyle. : ) 

  • I like Google+ and give them props for continuing to push ahead. We need them around to make Facebook better!  : ) 

  • Agree. I like the G+ interface much better. That doesn’t mean it will take off though! : )  Thanks Ron. 

  • Well … you’re right of course. Perhaps if it summoned the essence of Ike Pigott it would move into the mainstream faster. Wait …. what am I saying? 

    Thanks for the great comment Ike!

  • Point well taken. I was caught in a time warp!

  • Lady Gaga.  That would be more than enough for any company to deal with. Thanks William. Great to see you in the comment section!

  • Thanks Justin. We’ll see. The race is still early!

  • That would be great to see. She’d take them to school!

  • Here is what has always concerned me about Google+ — They have nothing that Facebook can’t (and won;t) copy in the near-term. So without intellectual property or innovation to guide them, they are counting on a brand … and failing, at least in my opinion.

  • Google is in a death-match battle with FB for our personal information. That’s why they started Plus in the first place. I don’t think Google would consider it a success unless they make a serious dent in the time people spend (and share info) on FB. They did not set out to be “niche” and I think that would be a failure, IMO. Thanks Laura!

  • Anecdotally at least, I think you are in the majority! : ) 

  • Anonymous

    I think the biggest problem with Google+ is getting connected with others.  It’s supposed to be SOCIAL and yet they make it nearly impossible to connect to others.  Or, maybe I’m too dumb to figure out how to do it – and if that’s the case, then they’re rally in trouble!!

  • Great post! I’m 100% in line with everything you’re saying. I’ve had my google+ account for about a year and have literally put a ‘status’ update on there 4 times… I agree with everyone saying it’s a ghost land – if none of my friends are on there wants in it for me to be hanging out and spending unnecessary time on there? 

    I feel like there’s a lot of ‘business’ and brands on there as well, but yet there’s no real consumers – so who are these businesses interacting with? I’m not sure they’ll ever be able to make a comeback…

  • Interesting that this has 35 shares on G+ at the moment and only 14 on Facebook!

  • Agree…Agree…Agree

    Oh Mark, this is a honest to goodness brilliant post – as you nailed the biggest issue I feel troubling the G+ universe.  “I think they believe if they build a better product they’ll win. That is not necessarily the case.” Yep, that would be just about right.

    As you, I have the good fortitude of speaking to people often about which social media channels their on, and how active they are. And, similar to your “research” what I’ve found is those who have looked into and joined Google+ are all there for the same reason “well, just in case…” Yes a few are there and they really do enjoy the platform better than the rest, but most (including me) joined thinking “this is going to be awesome” but have now migrated back to where my friends are FACEBOOK, and where I make my connections TWITTER / LINKEDIN.

    However, the other thing I’ve come to notice in my “research” (and I really use that term as loosely as it can be) is that people are not using social media to the extent that they were only a year or two ago. Even Facebook has had a drop in “stickiness” which was once a shocking 2 hours per day (but a billion users would do that).

    So my question to you, and those who are developing the next “social media” is – Should we? Or has that need been answered, and it’s time to move on

  • Here’s an irony. Almost 4 X people have connected go me on G+ compared to FB and yet i still have almost no interaction on G+.  That’s why I think the accoutns are mostly place-holders at this point!

  • Thanks for sharing your perspective Sarah! 

  • There is a difference. It’s easy to hit the “plus” button, but you don;t have to share. It’s just a vote of confidence. Not necessarily “shared.” 

  • Here’s why people are not using social media as much: The economy is improving. We’re busy!  Who has the incremental time for Google+?

    Thanks for the great comment Josh! 

  • 🙂 I don’t doubt it, Mark!

    Whilst I don’t agree with your premise, unless Google can change the game, I do agree with your conclusion.  Facebook have created the “personal” social network – unless Google can do something really radical, they have to go after a part of the market that has yet to have invested in that network – the kids.  What price that silver bullet of differentiation?

  • It’s exactly because of the names you used in the post – Scoble, Kawasaki, Brogan – that the mainstream (and younger demogrpahic) don’t care. Google+ still has this image of being the tech and social media circle jerk, that Facebook never had (and probably never will).
    There is absolutely nothing that G+ has that you can’t already enjoy in some form on Facebook. And with Twitter making a renewed charge – http://www.socialmediaforlawfirms.com/2012/04/twitter-overtakes-facebook-in-user.html – Google+ has even less relevance.

    I stopped using it at the beginning of March and haven’t missed it once. I stopped using Twitter and Facebook for a little while due to ill health and then projects, and missed them like crazy.

    That’s the factor Google just doesn’t have. 

  • Many thanks for sharing your perspective Danny. Always an honor to have you stop by and comment!

  • Great post Mark and I agree. Google’s growth strategy for G+ seems flawed to me because they’re trying to suck people in by luring businesses with the promise of better search results. Facebook did the opposite…they had the people first and the businesses followed and then they made their money. That happens to also be the model that built Google’s search (and subsequent advertising) business. It’s ironic that they’re going the alternate route for G+.

    To add fuel to this fire I also saw today that the average amount of time spent on G+ is in steady decline. Here’s that link to eMarketer’s post on that topic: http://bit.ly/JqqAXf 

  • Good point. Is it a conscious decision not to have a “Like” button? Likes and +1’s really don’t add up to much besides information for the owners of Facebook and Google, do they?

  • Oh, and 53 on LinkedIn!

  • I’m going to run with that last comment – “The economy is improving, thus we’re busy”

    Back before the crash of 2008, I was working with an Agency focusing heavily on “going-green.” However, to our fortune we were working with a top researcher, and he let us know “when the economy goes down, so will the interest in GREEN” and only a year later, he was dead on – as the green movement was pushed way to the back-burner.

    Your comment about how the improvement to economy is effecting social is true, and it has happened before (to other things)

    Thanks for the comment, and the post –

  • Jay-Z and Tom Hanks in the same article about why Google+ is failing? Way to spice things up Mark.

  • awesome post.   Lightbulb just went off.  The people currently embracing G+ are irrelevant to the larger demographic that needs to adopt the network as their own and you are right … it lacks an emotional connection.

  • SHG

    I think you’re right. I don’t think they can do it. But they’re so committed to trying that they’re going to fuck up every thing that got us to use them in the first place while they fail.

  • Yup, “green” takes a back seat to “eating!” : )   Social will take a back seat to working!

  • Bingo. 

  • Great addition to the conversation Bill!  Well done! 

  • And don’t forget Justin Bieber. All bases = covered : ) 

  • Yup. You got it!

  • You know, I think they will continue to improve it, but there is nothing deadlier to a business than perfectly executing a flawed strategy! 

  • Gifford Morley-Fletcher

    Great post as always Mark! Just a question, however: did Google+ set out to beat Facebook or did we all decide that was what they were trying to do? It’s difficult, and it may be too late already due to preconceptions, but I think that G+ needs to focus on a different playing field. Maybe they need to forget about being Jay-Z and attracting the kids and work on attracting and delivering for businesses instead?

  • G+ is boring. The age range you list wants to be where their friends are and G+ doesn’t offer that and probably never will. In my opinion Google needs to focus on being a network for B2B and professionals because I believe they can easily take from LinkedIn.

    I still believe Google should have built off of YouTube rather than building a new social network from scratch. When you have 400 million + users a month on a network it’s pretty dumb not to build off of that, in my opinion.

  • I am, admittedly, a huge G+ evangelist.  That said, I don’t necessarily disagree with everything you’ve put into this article.  THAT said, I do take issue with sweeping statements like “That’s why they started Plus in the first place.”  You lose credibility when you assert that Google is doing X or Y for reasons you couldn’t possibly confirm without being on the same payroll as Vic Gundotra and Larry Page.

    This is all just speculation, ultimately.  Does Google need Facebook to wither and die to win?  I don’t know, because I’m not 100% sure what Google considers a “win” to be in the first place.  I can say that I hope not, and I can say that I think it would be short-sighted and unwise to see Google+ as a response only to Facebook.

  • “i still have almost no interaction on G+”

    Is this why you are jumping on the “Google+ will fail/is failing” bandwagon?  I apologize if that wording seems curt and I mean no disrespect, but it genuinely baffles me to see this direct connection between bloggers who can’t seem to grow a following on Google+ and the “Google+ isn’t gonna make it” mentality.  Do you really base your opinion on the network and the strategy behind it on your own singular experience there?

    Look, I grew a following of almost 45,000 people on Google+ just by engaging and having conversations from the day I got there.  But I do not and will not use my own personal experience to make definitive statements about Google+ as a whole.  Just because I see engagement and activity doesn’t mean others do, but I make it my personal mission to help them find it when and if I can.  I try to help, and I believe it’s that sentiment which has caused my following to grow.  Getting bogged down in the “who’s going to win” game isn’t how you help people.

  • “if none of my friends are on there wants [sic] in it for me to be hanging out and spending unnecessary time on there?”

    Great question!  This is why comparisons between Google+ and Facebook aren’t helping anybody.  Even Google+ continues to solicit the comparison with their marketing strategies, and it drives me up the wall.

    I don’t use Google+ to connect with people I know.  I use Facebook for that.  Here is what I use Google+ for:

    -finding interesting content posted by interesting people about topics I like
    -building relationships with people who want to create a better world
    -discovering new topics of interest I never thought about before logging in
    -participating in what I see as the next step in social media — true civility in interactions that span the globe

    If none of those things are important to you, it’s possible Google+ isn’t going to be up your alley any time soon.  If, however, you are at all interested in “meeting” strangers who can help you refine your ideas and grow as a person, Google+ in its current form is full of people who want to welcome you.  🙂

  • Not answering for Mark here, but to my mind, all available evidence bears out the assumption that Google Plus is not succeeding in any way that anybody understands (e.g., 
    http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424052970204653604577249341403742390.html). That’s not to say there couldn’t be something more Google’s getting from it, but I’d love to know what that could be.

    My response is this: Google has explicitly and publicly set about becoming more “social.” Google Plus is its premiere offering in that regard; in almost every other product, Google has begun doing its darnedest to herd people to it (annoyingly). But it isn’t happening. I used it for a while and found it to be exactly what you’re saying — generally civil and intelligent in a way that no one else has managed. But it doesn’t matter much when so few people are using

    Just my .02.

  • First, I take major issue with the premises that the WSJ based that article upon and so do many others who find that their experience(s) on the network do not match up with the mainstream media’s.  ComScore’s numbers are questionable at best, but folks seem hell-bent, frankly, on pushing out conclusions and sensationalist headlines to grab pageviews.  Unfortunately, no one wins in that environment, because critical analysis is not happening in articles like the one you’ve linked.  How can we move forward if we can’t give anything new a chance?

    Second, to your point about Google setting out to become more social.  I agree that Google set that goal, but I don’t necessarily agree with how you’re characterizing it (although I think it’s an understandable conclusion to draw).  I think Google is acknowledging that the WEB is becoming more social, and Google+ is their attempt to integrate all of their products into that social web.  There’s gotta be a hub, though, to make that work…so, in my opinion, that’s where the + comes in.

    No doubt, Google has gotten in its own way often enough on this venture.  But they haven’t failed yet, and the game isn’t over.

  • I certainly gave it a chance. I tried to persuade some — any, really — of my existing social connections to join it–I tried repeatedly to tell them it was a better network technically speaking–and almost none did. A handful at most. Most people don’t know a tenth of the features Facebook offers; they weren’t eager to get on it initially and don’t want to learn another system. My experience does gibe with the reports I’m hearing. I only have so many hours in the day for networking, and I’m going to be where my friends are.

    As for integrating the social web, I really wish that were true. Sergey’s been out this week decrying “walled gardens” (with all-too-coincidental timing), but it’s hard to see what Google is trying to do except develop its own. I loved Google Reader. *Loved* it. But now Google wants the default sharing to be Google Plus, which is a pain for me. On the Android Play store, the only sharing options are G+ and email. If it’s saying the web is becoming more social, then it’s saying that it needs more people contributing social data to it, IMHO. Just integrating that isn’t going to be much help; this was part of the reason Google took the step of integrating your search and browsing histories into its ad targeting (which inspired me to turn off my history after however many years since they created it). If Google really were helping me to be more social (say, e.g., Google Plus allowed me to distribute status updates to other networks or even offered RSS feeds), then I’d probably still be there instead of having deleted my account. I’m a fairly experienced and informed user of social
    media, and Google has failed to make the case to me.

    I’ve seen (and taken part in) the coming and going of many social networks
    at this point, and I thought Mark’s post was really very constructive. For
    my part, it’s not as if I love Facebook; I really want to see something
    like Diaspora work and enable some real innovation that would help the
    system. But for the moment, Facebook really is the only game. Hopefully
    Google will get it and adapt. Quickly.

  • You really make a great point about not being able to share via other mediums in Google Play.  It does feel like Google is encouraging users to be social only within its own playground, and I dislike that.  I guess — and this just crystallized for me through this exchange, so thanks — I believe that Google plans to open up.  I think I just assume Google is going to release the write API and let us truly integrate with everything, but I’m not sure why I believe that or what evidence it’s based on.  Definitely something to chew on.

    In any case, thank you for the very constructive conversation!

  • hi Mark, seeing you are in blighty at the moment (England!) have you seen the UK TV commercial for G+ and noticed the creative targeting of it? a real departure from Facebook demographic chasing (personally I really admire it). My other question to you is why have you not setup Authorship (avatar appearing adjacent to Search results) if as I assume a voluminous amount of your traffic originates via Search?

  • Excellent post Mark. Nice reference to Jay-Z and I couldn’t agree more.
    Social Networks are all about trends(or trending topics), things that
    are cool and that catches their attention. I feel that Google+ is stuck
    in a tough situation where they want to appease that demographic but
    haven’t found that catchy trend.

    Although they haven’t found it yet,
    this generation’s attention span can be captured within a blink of an
    eye and if they can capitalize on one moment, they can be a formidable
    competitor to Facebook….or maybe not!

  •  I know there was hype about Google+ and the desire to move people off the Facebook network to participate there instead, but I never understood it. I am not a Facebook user – I just dont see the value. When I consider Google+, I dont think of my 17 year old cousin and her adoption (doubt she even knows it exists quite frankly), I think about a social gathering of professionals. Like Twitter + LinkedIn.

    Twitter provides me with the opp to converse and interact in short-form whereas LinkedIn is really ‘all business’. Loved the idea of interacting in a longer form with a professional mindset. That was just my take right from the beginning.

  • Thanks to you too, Christina, and I hope you’re right, because they’re just about the only people with enough weight to actually challenge the walls. (Interesting perspective on this today via Kedrosky: http://pandodaily.com/2012/04/17/roger-mcnamee-what-is-google-so-afraid-of/ ).

  • I’m sorry to be a little late to this party!  This is a terrific discussion.  So many great points, so much passion around this topic about who’s better, who’s smarter, who’s gonna win!!!!!! 

    In my mind, what is clearly obvious is that Facebook (like Twitter) grew from a groundswell of users who recognized something of value and it caught THE wave.  Google recognized something of value well after millions and millions of people did.  Sorry Google, to little to late.

    But, I would like to add just one more point, just because it’s still a huge issue for me in this space.  Does anybody (who matters) really know who Scoble, Kawasaki and Brogan are?  Remembering “who matters” are the users and adopters of these services because without them, no matter how “good” it is, it is irrelevant. Like Danny Brown said, turn it off for a week and see if you truly miss it…………  So many in this industry tend to think that these “experts” actually influence anything outside of our own small social media space.  In reality, they don’t.  I’d bet the vast majority of all twitter and facebook users don’t even know (or care) who they are.

    Better mousetraps rarely (if ever) win.

  • Oh, and as an example look at the how’s and why’s behind the Facebook acquisition of Instagram as an example of why Facebook will toast Google every time. Google has been relegated to “Me Too” mode.

    In Facebook Deal, Board Was All But Out of Picture:
    http://online.wsj.com/article_email/SB10001424052702304818404577350191931921290-lMyQjAxMTAyMDEwNzExNDcyWj.html

  • They are in a death match with FB to collect personal information so they can sell more ads. That’s the battle.

  • Very interesting take Will and a valid viewpoint. Many thanks!

  • Have not seen the ad but will check it out. Also will look into your suggestion!

  • Many thanks for sharing your insights Laura-Lee.

  • Thanks for adding to the conversation Christina — and I agree. Hope you’re enjoying the new job!

  • Always insightful, Steve. Thanks for this great comment!

  • Your bang on Mark but it’s going to take more than Jay Z and few celebes to take people away from Facebook. 

    My friends – who are in marketing and business and 30+ – won`t jump to Google+ because “none of my friends are on there”. My feeling is that people are on Facebook to keep tabs on people they’ve met throughout their lives. 

    Google+ is a platform that opens you up to new connections and from my experience and conversations, people are fine with keeping their social circles small. That’s why they won’t move to Facebook. They don’t care about talking and connecting with people like yourself of others who are interested in their passion. 

    It’s a shame because I enjoy that. My friends circle has shrunk and I hardly talk to many people in real life outside of my family and a few really close friends. I’ve grown as a person and my passions and interests are different from them the hundreds of acquaintances who I’ve met over my years on this planet. Instead of investing in those relationships I’ve put the effort in meeting people online who are like minded. 

    So yeah, Google+ isn’t cool and it’s not going to beat Facebook at it’s game. I agree with what your thoughts on how Google might think just because they’re better, they’ll win out just like tech companies. 

    For me I don’t really care what platform it’s on, I care about the people and connections I make and relationships I build. Google+ seems to be good for that but something else might come along.

  • Thanks for the thoughtful commentary Jordan.

  • Nakia LaCour

    Mark, one of threasons I enjoy your blog! The irony in that last paragraph is poetic.

    Personally, I LOVE G+, but it’s not because I feel a connection to Google. Like Robert, I don’t think Google considered feelings as an important factor that would drive their success. I think it was all about the hard facts that would drive companies to the network. The stories are part of the reason for the lack of connection. Facebook began because of a person who had a problem connecting to people, knew other people who had the same problem, and sought a new way to get social interaction. The story behind G+? They had a problem called Facebook. 2 of the points of Guy Kawasakis Rules of Enchantment are to solve a problem relevant to other people and have a good story to tell about your product. The story not only helps people connect to the problem your product solves. It helps to develop the product in a way that gives people what they want.

    Love the comparison of G+ to Tom Hanks. I almost fell out of my chair.

  • David Roman

    Google+ has several advantages for B2B applications. Facebook could simply copy these, but choose not to for whatever reason. I enjoy Google+ because it doesn’t have people sending me FarmVille invites all day long. Because it still hasn’t “tipped”, there is a better sense of community. What would get Google+ to that tipping point is full integration with Twitter, Pintrest, Instagram, and yes, Facebook. As it stands, when I share something, I post it to Pintrest which sends it to Twitter which puts it on my Facebook timeline. Integrating everything into Google+ with its superior user experience would push it quickly past Facebook. Google should also recognize the huge potential their site has in the mobile arena. Facebook’s mobile experience is simpy horrendous. Twitter and Pintrest are the only one that have figured it out, as their mobile sites are better than their standard sites. Google should use that to their advantage by creating a better mobile experience.

  • Great insights for the discussion Nakia. Thank you!

  • I agree David. This was a big issue at SXSW when Guy Kawasaki interviewed Vic Gundrota on stage. He said he not opened these sharing options because he wants to be sure it is the right thing to do and not pull it back later. Does not make sense. Something else going on there I don;t completely understand but this is certainly a knock against G+ right now. Thanks for the great comment!

  • Mark, great post. It seems that most of the pro social pundits seem to preach the SEO aspects of Google+ not the influence or audience building. To me that is the wrong way of thinking and a missed opportunity by Google. I also have to wonder if the people understand Facebook and some degree Twitter have become more of a platform than a social web site. Google+ does have an API, but seems far from becoming a platform like Facebook.

  • Who knows? Google still has a long way to go and may pull it out yet. It’s going to be awfully boring if its only a place for SEO posturing. Thanks Alan.

  • I think differently.. about many things regarding what google should be like. i don’t think that plus! was the right direction. they should have come up with a blogging platform that had more sharing features – essentially a wall that you have more control over. and then made the interface more intuitive. i think between picasa, youtube, and blogger, google already had better product than facebook. being like jay z really isn’t going to help you that much if you’re google. unless you want to start thinking of words that rhyme with “google”

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  • Google Plus has some nice features, especially Hangouts, and if it wanted to, it could rival linked-in as a business-to-business network. It’s not replacing Facebook-ever (and marketers who are saying they are abandoning Facebook because the evil Zuckerburg is “hiding their posts” and going to G+ will quickly find out how talking to no one really feels). G+ is a nice niche site; but almost everyone I know there is someone I’m connected with on Twitter. I doubt the folks on G+ really want all of the passive aggressive posts (I know 97% of you won’t repost this but that’s OK if you hate apple pie and the troops), viral rumors, etc, and the Facebook crowd isn’t going where their friends aren’t.

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