It is too early to call Google+ Pages for business a complete bust. However, based on a lackluster start, critics are beginning to pronounce the service dead.
“Evidence That Google Plus Business Pages Are Dying A Slow Death Already,” writes Niall Harbison, who has been monitoring the activity of Google+ Pages by major brands such as Coca Cola, Pepsi, Volkswagen, McDonalds, and Adidas.
While these brands have bustling Facebook pages, she finds that the activity on their Goggle+ Pages has been anemic, with few posts and weak engagement levels.
Looking at Pepsi’s Google+ Page, for example, she notes that “they have not posted an update in nearly three weeks, showing that they may already have lost interest in Google+ as a platform.”
Similarly, for Volkswagen she finds that, “Their main page has a paltry 1,600 people following it and their latest status update has no comments or reshares at all.”
Harbison’s findings jibe with those of BrightEdge, which in its November 2011 “Tracking Social Adoption and Trends,” reports that while 61% of the top 100 brands have established Google+ Pages, no brand other than Google had more than 50,000 Google+ fans, and more than two dozen of the top 100 brands had zero Google+ fans.
The BrightEdge findings prompt Seth Fiegerman to write that “Google+ Pages Are Officially a Failure (So Far).” Relating the disappointing stats, Fiegerman writes that “two dozen companies had no fans whatsoever and others such as McDonalds and Verizon were stuck in the dozens, despite the fact that many have hundreds of thousands if not millions of fans on Facebook.”
BrightEdge found that only 12% of the top brands on Google+ mentioned those pages on their company website, which Fiegerman says may suggest a deeper problem, that “businesses may have created a page just to do it but have little interest in promoting it.”
Although he believes Google Pages have promise if they can be integrated in Google searches, “at the moment,” he writes, “it’s hard enough to find a company’s page when searching on Google+, let alone to stumble onto a page while browsing elsewhere online. If that doesn’t change, Google+ Pages will stay dead.”
It looks like Google+ Pages have a steep hill to climb to pose a threat to Facebook. As Bill Gates used to say during the browser share wars, we’ll be watching the metrics.