Integrating Social Media : According to some analysts Google+ is on track to hit 400 million users by the end of the year, supported by search engine dominance, strong Gmail sign up and the association with YouTube. A strong suite of products including Google Docs, images, news, Google Drive and Google Now, will assist the process.
Many question if Facebook will have the time line to move towards one billion users from the 800 million currently in sign up. Facebook is changing but not all users are happy with the moves as our earlier post explained. Google+ gets a thumbs up.
The latest ACSI ratings (July) in association with Foresee confirmed the disquiet. The latest Foresee Annual E-Business Report explains the three major reasons why Google+ is getting the thumbs up.
Facebook and Google+ are competing on two critical fronts: the customer experience and market penetration. Google+ wins the former, and Facebook handily wins the latter, for now. If Google+ continues to attract users at an aggressive pace, Facebook will run the risk of losing its main competitive advantage over time.
Google+ appears to be winning on three main fronts : Privacy, Advertising and Mobile
1 Google has a superior commitment to privacy: Customers clearly think Google+ respects their privacy more than Facebook does. When asked to rate the site’s commitment to their privacy, only 18% of Facebook users rate Facebook’s commitment to their privacy as excellent (9 or 10 on a 10-point poor-to-excellent scale), while 42% of Google+ users rate Google’s commitment to their privacy as excellent.
2. Google+ does not have traditional ads: While Google+ allows new users to customize Google offers, Google+ does not yet have traditional banner and search ads. However, search enhanced ads running on other Google properties are seeing increased engagement and click through rates. Google properties are therefore getting more value from ads without having to disrupt the user experience on Google+.
3 Google’s superior mobile experience: By all accounts, Facebook has failed to capitalize fully on the mobile experience, while Google has fully integrated Google+ into its mobile apps and mobile functionalities. That’s cool.
The Google revenue model suggests there is no real urgency to monetise the Social Media experience. Facebook on the other hand is under pressure to accelerate revenue and advertising earnings. This may be at the expense of user experience especially amongst traditional users. In addition to privacy, ad and mobile concerns, users are unhappy with the rate of change of the Facebook faces, especially the latest timeline.
Social media sites do not last for ever, Google+ received a thumbs up from the latest ACSI survey but may well get a further leg up if Facebook fails to address fundamental user concerns.