The race is on for a slice of the estimated market value of $38 billion for Social Media advertising. Until recently Facebook and Twitter really had the front running after Google missed the mark with their previously failed attempts. Namely Buzz and Wave. Another loser in the battle has been MySpace, which led by the Murdoch empire, really should have done better. But perhaps this just proves that the business logic of old newspaper moguls just doesn’t work anymore. One totally absent player is Apple. Ping is just not worth a mention.
Of course a number of other players are doing well, but are not in the same league as the big two. But will Google+ have a chance this time around to make some headway on Facebook and Twitter before the big dollars really start arriving? Well, perhaps.
From my first few weeks of looking at Google+, it is clear that Google have a much better understanding of social networking now. I can imagine the hours, days and months of meetings that went into the planning, but essentially I think Google have singled out one key factor that will draw users away from both Facebook, and probably more so Twitter. This key being non-mutuality.
Let me explain. Facebook works on mutuality. You need to ask someone to be a friend and they have to agree for you to be able to access each other’s profile, information and streams. Now this is great for family and friends, but not for business. The ‘Page’ function of Facebook is a separate component and running on ‘Like’ buttons, which is really a bit distant from users.
On the other hand, Twitter is non-mutual so you can follow anyone you want. This has been a spectacular success for celebrities, businesses and promoters and at the same time, users love it. The downside has been though that because Twitter aggressively went after user numbers earlier on in their attempt to become a big player, they opened up to any number of 3rd party applications that gained numbers but at the same time was an open invitation to spammers and cheap marketeers. The result has been that Twitter is so infested now, it is highly likely that over 50% of your followers and accounts you are following are auto-bots and spammers.
Google+ incorporates the best of Facebook and Twitter by allowing non-mutuality, but at the same time allowing for mutual association if users wish to do so. With the number of existing Google account users, it won’t need outside help in gaining a substantial user base. Hence no need for the ‘get followers fast’ type of apps that are killing Twitter. The other factor is security and reliability. Twitter totally lacks both, and Facebook seem to change their mind about privacy and security every other month.
So my verdict? Google+ will take some market share away from Facebook, but probably not a huge amount. On the other hand, I think it will be a total Twitter killer once a few more enhancements are added.
What do you think?