Google has decided to shut down its social media platform Google+ after a security breach that exposed the personal data of about 500,000 of its users. In the marketing world, this news comes as a relief. In the last few years, Google+ gave little to no return, but our job has always been to take advantage of every opportunity and leave no stone unturned. While Google+ did connect our clients with potential customers, the end of Google+ allows us to focus on platforms that tend to be much more engaging.
Google+ started as an effort by Google to challenge Facebook as a social media platform. Initially, it had great success; many people were already using Google daily, so it seemed like a natural transition. The Google+ launch was so successful and such a threat to Facebook that Mark Zuckerberg issued a lockdown at headquarters to see what Google+ was doing differently, and how to improve Facebook. Even though Google was a complete copycat of Facebook, it had a major advantage: fluidity between other Google-owned platforms like Hangouts, YouTube, Gmail, and Google Reviews/Business.
While the Google+ data breach was merely the straw that broke the camel’s back, experts have been predicting the failure of the platform for a few years now. While the medium was useful in many ways, engagement just wasn’t happening in the ways the founders intended. In hindsight, failure seemed so escapable, but Google held on a little too tightly to what they had hoped Google+ would be: Facebook.
This is a familiar plight with struggling digital platforms. If we look at the streaming service Pandora, it had incredible success for a decade. Pandora offered radio playlists that were tailored to the user’s taste and listening habits. This was an incredible idea that paved a way for other streaming services. As with Google+, Pandora didn’t adjust. With the rise of Spotify, a streaming service that allowed users to listen to almost every song in the world on demand, Pandora has lost millions of users. Google+ refused to adapt and adjust. Instead of fighting and spending to become a medium like Facebook, Google+ should have fortified and built upon its role as an intermediary between Google’s subsidiary platforms.
As Satorians, we are left with some questions we are actively discussing. What does this change about the digital marketing landscape? What other social media is coming that can be useful for marketing purposes? Which mediums are the next to die out? EHEM Snapchat EHEM. How can major platforms like Facebook/Instagram, Twitter, LinkedIn, and YouTube further develop and become more useful to people and businesses?
Time will tell, but Satori is here for it!