Analysis: Google+ struggles to attract brands, some neglect to update

Sun May 12, 2013 8:03am EDT
 
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By Alexei Oreskovic

SAN FRANCISCO (Reuters) - To mark the Cinco de Mayo holiday this year, Domino's Pizza festooned its Facebook page with a string of posts, including an image of a Mexican-themed guacamole pizza that garnered over 2,000 "likes". But visitors to Domino's companion Google+ page on that day found less festive fare: The most recent post was from October 2012.

Two years after introducing its social network, Google Inc is struggling to win over the brands and businesses that have been its most loyal customers in the Internet search market.

For Google+ to thrive, it is vital to draw in household names, not just to lay the groundwork for potential future business, but also because users of the site have come to expect being able to follow, comment on or even vent about their favorite brands.

Progress has been slow. Rival services from Twitter to Amazon.com Inc are increasingly competitive in vying for corporate attention and marketing budgets, while technical shortcomings of Google+ have put off some companies accustomed to the flexibility of Facebook, marketing and corporate executives say.

The biggest problem for Google+ is that many more consumers use Twitter and Facebook - and they log in to Facebook for much longer periods.

A Google spokeswoman said Google+ has been used by millions of brands and businesses, and that the benefit of the service extends beyond Google+ Web pages, by providing brands with social capabilities that enhance Google's other products.

Google+, which was first introduced in June 2011, has roughly 135 million users that it says actively use its website news stream, and about 500 million that have set up Google+ accounts at some point, according to the company. Still, Facebook has 1.1 billion users who engage with the service at least once a month, while Twitter has 200 million.

The average U.S. visitor to Google+ spent 6 minutes 47 seconds on the site in March, versus more than 6 hours on Facebook.com, according to Nielsen Media Research, though the data does not include activity on the social networks' mobile apps.   Continued...

 
The Google signage is seen at the company's headquarters in New York January 8, 2013. REUTERS/Andrew Kelly