Bad news for Google – the latest comScore stats reveal that the average Google Plus user spent just 3.3 minutes on the network in January.
Not only is this a tiny fraction compared to the seven and a half hours that people spent Facebooking, but the Google Plus figures are actually in decline; 5.1 minutes in November became 4.8 minutes in December and the latest figures suggest the kind of decline that, if it is not halted, could be terminal.
However let’s not be too quick to bury Google’s latest attempt to break into social media just yet. According to Google boss Larry Page, the number of Google Plus accounts is up to 90 million from 40 million in October. This is astonishing growth, but the data suggests that users are setting up accounts and then leaving them to go fallow.
The problem dogging the Google Plus network is that outside of certain niches there are not enough participants to warrant spending time on the network. After all, who want to hang around on G+ when there are parties raging on Twitter and Facebook?
That said, Google Plus does have some outstanding attributes. The Hangout feature allowing up to ten people to video conference is outstanding. In addition, where there is a vibrant community on Google Plus, for example in the tech sector, there are some serious conversations going on where it is relatively easy to get direct access to some of the most influential people in the industry.
It remains to be seen whether Google can encourage communities outside tech to the network. In the meantime, for any business with a website, a Google Plus account remains a significant SEO factor and for that reason alone it will continue to attract new accounts from commercial concerns, even if they do not visit with any degree of frequency.