Is Google+ really a ghost town?

February 28, 2012

Google+ is reported to resemble a ghost town, with few users rarely visiting, and rarely staying for long on the odd occasion they do pop in.

According to a Wall Street Journal article citing comScore numbers, the average Google+ user spends just 3 minutes per month on the site. That’s less than Facebook (405 minutes), Tumblr (89 minutes), Pinterest (89 minutes), Twitter (21 minutes), LinkedIn (17 minutes), and even MySpace (8 minutes). Yes, even MySpace!

In terms of the amount of time the average person in spending on Google+ then yes, it is a ghost town. And the few times I have logged in over the past few months I have got that exact same feeling. Nothing is really happening, no new people are adding me to Circles, it’s no longer growing and not actually building to anything of note.

However, that’s looking at Google+ from just one perspective; that of the mainstream user. They may have signed up for an account to see what all the fuss was about, realized the hype was overblown, and retreated back to the warm bosom of Facebook. Or the Wild West of Twitter. But Google+ isn’t trying to supplant either of those two established social networks.

I’m not a fan of Robert Scoble, and his counter argument is a little rambling and self-referential, but the core message rings true. For those who make the effort to build a network within Google+ the results can be very positive indeed. With high levels of engagement and some obvious SEO benefits thanks to Google giving Google+ content a leg up in Search.

Those who want a social network containing real friends and close contacts will stick with Facebook. Those who like randomly conversing with strangers and celebrities will stick with Twitter. Those who want to build relationships with like-minded individuals and/or their brand with potential clients may have found a new home with Google+.

So, a ghost town by some standards, and not yet for the mainstream. But certainly not ready to be written off. Quite yet.

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