Why Google+ May Not Be Able To Sustain Its Growth

Some quick facts – Facebook took about 35 months to get 25 million visitors. It took Twitter more than 30 months and it took Myspace more than 20 months to reach the 25 million-user mark. In contrast, Google+ has crossed this landmark in less than 30 days. While critics would be quick to dismiss this as the ‘launch hype’, there’s no denial that we haven’t seen such astronomical growth numbers on any other social network.

In fact, several social media experts believe that Google+ could outgrow Twitter by the end of this year. If Google+ continues to grow at its current pace, this possibility can’t be ruled out. More than the numbers, I’m keen to explore whether Google+ has the legs to sustain this monumental growth. Most importantly, does Google+ have a solid roadmap to keep surprising users with new and innovative features? Here’s my take on Google+ and how it needs to grow.

Google+ User Base Breakdown

comScore recently published a geographical breakdown of Google+ user base.

  • 6.44 million from the U.S.
  • 3.62 million from India
  • Roughly 1 million from both Canada and the UK
  • 920,000 from Germany
  • More than 780,000 from Brazil
  • About 500,000 from both France and Taiwan

There’s little doubt that Google+ is making its presence felt in the U.S, Canada and the UK. This is a good sign for Google+ as these three nations account for a substantial proportion of business-oriented social media users. India is a tech-savvy nation with a strong IT industry so it’s not surprising to see Google+ doing well there.

Traffic Patterns

A lot has been made of Google+ traffic patterns in recent times. It was reported that Google+ hits declined by 3 percent and the average time users spent on Google+ fell 10 percent in the last week. To be honest, it would be unwise to draw any any long-term conclusions based on these numbers. The service is still in beta and available only by invitation.


Google+ is constantly improving. Google recently announced an update to the +1 button that makes it load three times faster, and introduced a new asynchronous snippet to help the web pages continue to load while the user’s browser downloads the +1 JavaScript.  Similarly, Google has announced that webmasters can now enroll in Google+ Platform Preview to test updates before they launch. The first update includes hover and confirmation bubbles.

Such improvements are a clear indication that Google isn’t taking chances with Google+. It is listening to user feedback and acting upon it. If the online search giant continues to do so, it is certainly bound to win more hearts and keep its user base pleased – something which Facebook has failed to do in the recent times.

I’m poor at making predictions. Therefore, I’ll refrain from predicting whether Google+ will outpace Twitter and Facebook and when. On the other hand, I’d suggest users should try and make the best of Google+ without considering it as a substitute for Facebook and/or Twitter.

What do you think of Google+ growth numbers? Do you think it could be the next big thing in social media? Please share your opinion by leaving a comment.

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  1. rikkou

    Well ok. We will see how it turns out.
    Personally, I still use Facebook.
    I think we could also see this social network battle as cooperative instead of competitive. One network will not necessarily gobble up others.
    Facebook, Twitter are still able to run at high pace, along with Google +
    Just, everything wont be monitored by one own platform but several.
    Fbook page, Twitter page, Google+ page, Myspace page etc

    1. Sam Wanjere

      I too favor coopetition, not traditional competition. When all are used well it is the end user who wins. Each social networking platform has uniquenesses and strengths and I believe it augurs well for consumers. What I love about Google and any of their products – which is also what scares people too – is the information integration that saves you so much time synchronizing things. I’ll just watch this space and enjoy the e-volutions that continue to unfold.

  2. cocoiaco

    I’m a huge fan of Google+ and would prefer to use it and twitter and abandon Facebook altogether. So far biggest problem is that very few people I know are on G+ and I still don’t know how to do certain basic things, such as upload a video from my phone. Plus I use TweetDeck a lot and there doesn’t seem 2 B a way to add G+ feeds yet.

  3. Gabriele Maidecchi

    It’s funny ’cause I am considering Google+ exactly a replacement for Facebook, but it’s ok, I never used Facebook so I guess I needed to fill a void :p

  4. ben

    Your article has a provocative title yet the content has no substance. Nowhere in your article do you talk about why Google+ may not be able to sustain its growth. Instead you go on talking about obvious facts you read from other articles.

    Nothing wrong with expressing yourself, but at least don’ t deceive visitors on what your article is about and make them waste their time.

  5. GPr

    Pretty sure it’s no longer by invitation only. Excited for the button updates though…

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  7. Kate Rose

    We seem to be the lone dissenting voice amongst agencies kicking up huge Google + hype right now!
    Yes, lots of people have rushed to sign up – but beyond checking it out, what are they doing? Is there anything on offer that will compel mainstrean (ie non “techie”) users to bother getting to grips with it? Not so far. And of course, there’s currently no way of representing a business until the Brand pages appear. ..
    Right now, G+ is just “meh”. Full thoughts are here if anyone’s interested! http://www.rosemcgrory.co.uk/2011/08/02/google-and-business-marketing-do-you-need-to-care/

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