Google+, emblem of a failed social network strategy
Defined as “one of the biggest failures ” from Google by the Wall Street Journal, mocked by a large part of the American media, the Google+ social network will definitively close at the beginning of April for individuals, after the announcement of a second data leak concerning more than 50 million users in December 2018 Launched with great fanfare in 2011 to compete with the irresistible rise of Any social network must meet a specific use
“Vic was that little bug in Larry’s ear that was constantly saying ‘Facebook is going to kill us.’, tells a former Google executive about the architect of Google+. “He probably managed to scare Larry into taking action. And there you have it: Google+ was born. ” Google has therefore developed this network as a copy of Facebook to compete with it, and not to meet market demand. A network that did not have a more attractive or differentiating value proposition than Facebook to attract users. If users do “multihoming” using several platforms for the same service, each social network has a specific use: Facebook as a digital identity to communicate with a relatively close network, Twitter as an information and sharing network. opinions, LinkedIn as a professional network or Instagram to create and inspire.
Network effects can be misleading
Google thought it had its users in its pocket and easily attracted huge numbers of them to Google+ thanks to its base of 500 million users, which it just wanted to rotate from Gmail, Youtube etc. Network effects oblige, critical mass would be quickly reached, then making it possible to scale the platform. However, the Mountain View firm forgot about the effects of networks that were already working on Facebook. At the time, Facebook already had nearly 800 million users and allowed developers to connect their websites to the platform through Facebook Connect. Users have no interest in duplicating the same use on another platform, and the costs of psychological transfers are dissuasive. If Google managed to switch 90 million users very quickly to the Google+ network, the mayonnaise did not take. Three years later, the results are relentless: 90% of users spend less than 5 seconds on Google+. Beyond the number, on a social network, commitment takes precedence. Nothing worse than a phantom platform: word of mouth then triggers a negative virality on the product.
A social network must be designed for mobile
Google+’s third mistake: not having designed a platform designed for mobile. This logic was the reverse of that of WeChat, whose objective was initially to “create a purely mobile instant messaging ”, according to Pony Ma, CEO of Tencent. From mobile-first, to mobile-only. An excellent intuition given the Chinese market’s appetite for mobile phones, which is now spreading in Western countries. And now ? While social networks are primarily mobile, they are converging on conversation-first. This is reflected in Mark Zuckerberg’s statement on March 7, 2019 on Facebook’s turn: “Today, we are already seeing that private messaging, pop-up stories, and small groups are by far the fastest growing areas of online communication.The firm wants to combine messaging from Facebook, Instagram and Whatsapp and make it a unique and secure messaging. The creation of a complete ecosystem entering through messaging, inspired by WeChat, is gradually being revealed.
Arielle joined Fabernovel in April 2018 as Project Analyst. She is involved in strategic analysis studies or the design of new products and services. Before joining Fabernovel, Arielle worked in marketing studies at PUIG, a multi-brand luxury group, then as an M&A Analyst at Compagnie Financière du Lion on financial advisory projects for CAC40 companies and French institutions. She also carried out a consulting assignment at Capgemini Consulting in Singapore, and worked in New York in the American cleantech investment fund Capricorn Investment Group. Arielle is a graduate of the Master of Science in Management from ESSEC Business School.