After years of low engagement and an unpopular reputation, Google has finally decided to pull the plug on its social networking platform Google+. Google originally created the platform in June 2011 as an attempt to compete with popular social media networks such as Facebook and Twitter and as a way to create and connect communities of like-minded people.
Google+ initially experienced strong growth during its early years, but engagement steadily declined as users found the platform to be irrelevant and overly spammy. Google VP of Engineering Ben Smith even admitted that 90% of all Google+ sessions last less than five seconds. However, it wasn’t until earlier this year that things took a turn for the worse and Google had no choice but to put the failing social media platform out of its misery once and for all.
The Beginning of the End
In October 2018, Google+ abruptly announced that it would terminate the consumer version of the platform by the end of August 2019 due to “low user engagement and difficulties in creating and maintaining a successful Google+ that meets consumers’ expectations.” However, Google later admitted that the decision to shut down Google+ stemmed from an internal audit which revealed that an API design flaw exposed private user data back in spring 2018. Google admittedly did not report the breach for fear of repercussions from the public. Then, in December of last year, Google reported that an API update exposed even more customer data, with more than 52.5 million users affected by the breach. Following the second breach, the shutdown date was moved up to April 2, 2019, and Google announced that all Google+ APIs would be shut down by March 7, 2019.
The announcement of the shutdown was of little surprise to the public, with many people shocked to learn the social media site was still active. However, the small fan base who used Google+ on a regular basis was disappointed to learn that the community-centric site would soon cease to exist. John Lewis, a freelance writer and avid Google+ user, commented that “[Google+ has] really been a lifeline for me. The social interactions I’d have there I couldn’t get anywhere else.” It remains to be seen where Google+ users will turn for social interaction after their primary social media site disappears come April 2.
What Happens Next?
Google has stated that all photos, videos, and posts on the platform will be deleted following the shutdown date, but users still have the opportunity to download their Google+ data before April 2. Google has already disabled the option to create new Google+ profiles, pages, communities, and events, and has made it clear that the shutdown will not affect any other Google products, such as Gmail, Google Drive, Hangouts, or Google Photos.
The social media team at Page 1 Solutions has been closely following the news of the shutdown. We began removing client Google+ accounts back in January. If you have a business Google+ page, our team recommends removing the icon on your website before April 2 to avoid a broken link.
Where to Focus Your Social Media Efforts
It’s unlikely that the shutdown of Google+ will greatly affect your practice’s social media strategy. However, if the end of Google+ has you wondering where you should focus your social media efforts moving forward, the Page 1 Solutions social media team recommends that you shift your attention to Facebook, Instagram, or Twitter in order to increase brand visibility, grow engagement, and even generate leads for your practice.
Additionally, Google My Business, or GMB, is a significant SEO tool that allows you to showcase your business for free on Google Search and Maps. Businesses can upload their business name, location, hours, and business information, as well as upload photos, monitor reviews, and even create temporary GMB Posts that help users learn more about what your business has to offer.
The social media specialists at Page 1 Solutions can evaluate your current social media plan and help create a strategy that works best for your practice. Learn more about Page 1 Solutions and how we can assist with your social media marketing plan by contacting our sales and marketing team at 800-368-9910.