Will Google Plus Put Facebook Out of Business?

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With over 153 million unique users per month, Nielsen research has named Google the top Internet destination. Facebook, which is the most visited social networking site and second largest Internet destination, received an average number of 137.6 million unique monthly visitors. The combination of the battle to be the top Internet destination, the inevitable Facebook IPO, and the continued growth of the Google+ is sure to intensify the Facebook/Google rivalry in 2012.

Industry analyst Rob Enderle recently told reporters that 2012 is vitally important to Facebook’s survival:

“This is a fight for survival for Facebook — and for relevancy for Google. What happens in 2012 will make the difference between whether there is a Facebook by the end of the decade and whether Google can become truly relevant outside of search.”

While most individuals would argue that Facebook is more likely to be valued at $100 billion in 2012 than have to “fight for survival,” the continued growth of Google+ could easily cut into Facebook’s market share by the end of the year.

Paul Allen, the founder of Ancestry.com and a trusted tech author who has been closely following Google+ since its beginning, blogged that 24.01% of ALL Google+ users signed up in December. If the December signups rate (equates to 625,000 new users per day) continues, Google+ will reach 100 million users before the end of February and nearly 300 million users by the end of the year. However, Allen is predicting that the Network Effect will power Google+ to a “breakout year” and that the new social network will end the year with over 400 million users.

Whether or not Google+ reaches 400 million users in 2012, the new social network is sure to have impacted Facebook and its long-term strategy. The events of next year  are sure to impact the long-term strategy and success of Google, Google+, and Facebook.

[Sources Include: Computer World & Paul Allen; Image by Paul Allen]

David Angotti

David Angotti

After successfully founding and exiting an educational startup in 2009, I began helping companies with business development, search engine marketing (SEM), search engine optimization (SEO), conversion rate optimization (CRO), online marketing, mergers and acquisition, product development, and branding. Now, I am focused on a new startup in the travel and tourism market niche.
David Angotti
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  • http://www.gannettlocal.com TheGodofSEO

    I hereby predict that this begins the official demise of Facebook. Google +, along with FB’s inability to creatively grow is what sealed FB’s fate. Mark my words.

    @thegodofseo

  • http://www.socalseoguy.com Chris, Orange County SEO Expert

    I’m seeing similar usage behaviors on Google+ that I saw on Facebook while MySpace was still the leader. That is, while looking at the Nielsen numbers above for Google+, the number of fans that popular celebrities have, and the number of people I personally know who have a Google+ profile, I’m noticing that although the number of sign-ups and users per month are apparently growing nicely, the majority of people in my circles aren’t yet fully active on Google+ (the average date of last posting is mid-October from my non-SEO circles), and if these people are active on Google+, they exhibit different social media behaviors than they do on Facebook.

    What now seems like ancient history, Remember that most Myspace users migrated over to Facebook over the period of a year or so, and during this time they were active on both websites, but maintained slightly different personas on each (many people matured and changed their social media usage and behaviors once on Facebook, most probably due to Facebook’s more mature and professional environment ). I’m seeing a similar thing happening with users migrating over to Google+ from Facebook: The method of transition, and the change in user behavior (Google+ is different than and once again more mature than Facebook–almost to a fault, more on that in a bit–and I’m seeing the similar transition effects happen).

    With this said, there’s two big things I see right now that are keeping Google+ from growing and displacing Facebook the same way that Facebook displaced MySpace and other (including foreign) sites:

    1) First and foremost, Facebook is a platform, whilst Google+ is just a website. It’s true. 3rd party apps and 3rd party integration isn’t what kick-started Facebook and it isn’t what’s keeping them alive (although Farmville’s 80 million monthly users and billions of hours spent online by users in its prime was certainly not peanuts) all the various business and entertainment possibilities that Facebook has, Google+ still lacks and will lack for the foreseeable future. Myspace started the social platform idea with its music and musician support (remember the embeded music player on profiles and the link to the artist’s MySpace page? Brilliant), but then dropped the ball and Facebook quickly picked it up and expanded to every other area besides music. Here’s a brilliant (accidently published) blog post about platforms by a slightly disgruntled Google and ex-Amazon employee. You must read this:

  • http://www.eportal.tk ePortal

    really began to spread gradually from 2012 google + facebook social media, including the weight of an increasingly feel at google + I think 2012 will be the year

    @eportall

    • Don

      I use both and if one fails to reach their potential, ….sorry. I am the consumer and do not care what plant makes the beef or chicken I consume anymore than I care who refines the gas in my car. Just be there and do a great job. :) When they take care of the consumer they take care of themselves by default.

      Don, Las Vegas

  • http://www.nathanseo.co.uk Nathan khan

    Thanks for sharing, i have noticed much more activity from invites and talk around google +

  • http://seo-queen.blogspot.com Seo Queen

    It is right that popularity of Google plus is increasing with every passing hour and I think that by the end of the 2012 it will have as much real users as facebook who will be using Google plus regularly as their main social network

  • http://www.stigmatter.com Zain Munawari

    Very good analysis David….

    It will be really nice to see more innovation in special social media and marketing because of this fierce rivalry….

  • http://www.businessconcernonline.com/ Yasir Sami

    I predict Google Plus will be the first choice of everyone in 2012

  • http://myspace.com/kevinwaynesongs Kevin

    MySpace is still beating out Google+, according to newest reports:

  • http://www.seo-translator.com Website translator

    The question is: Can Google maintain that growth rate? And more important: Can it retain the people that have signed up? If the answer is yes, then Facebook may have a problem…

  • http://www.mrblogger.org/ Manish

    Well, I think that it will be beneficial to internet marketers because as Google plus users are increasing like anything, there are more chances of getting conversions from the Google plus. On the other hand Facebook will remain the great marketing tool for the marketers. So it does not matters a lot whether Google plus will go ahead of Facebook or what. In the end, it is beneficial for the internet marketers only because they will get the huge number of traffic from these two social media websites. So both Google plus and Facebook are best.

  • http://www.googleplussocializer.com Valentin Biaggio

    The process has already begun! FB’s fate is sealed. Google Plus is already better than facebook because of its HUGE impact over google rankings.

    I also predict that Google Plus Socializer (

  • http://afrocosmopolitan.com Maria

    Google+ and Facebook are different and i therefore do not believe it can put Facebook out of business. It might grow and have a higher number of users and remove Facebook from the number one position but not out of business. Secondly, like Website translator asked, how long will it continue to grow at the current level?

  • http://jeffdownerbailbonds.com Jeff Downer Indianapolis, IN

    It’s not a matter of new signups it’s a matter of sustainability. Are the new users going to stick after they have signed up and kicked the tires on Google+?

    Is Google+ going to define new niches and/or improve on what Facebook is doing? Will they evolve into offerings that are sufficiently differentiated to thrive simultaneously?

    Being interested in internet marketing I dabble in everything, so I’m grabbing a bucket of popcorn and enjoy the unfolding show.

    • Neil McSeveny

      Agreed, sustainability is the key issue here as these stats mean nothing if people create accounts and never log into them.

      In my opinion G+ is not a Facebook killer, although it’s early days and as you mentioned, it will need to define a new niche if it’s going anywhere except the social media graveyard.

      However, i do believe that the benefits a G+ page has on Google rankings could be a key influencer in 2012

  • http://sandrostudio.com Alessandro

    You either love FB or hate it, but not so with Google+ which looks more “cool” by all standard

  • http://www.bloggingtalks.com/ Samrat kafle @ Blogging Talks

    Yeah Google+ is trying hard to put Facebook out of business but it’s not that easy for Google to do so because i guess there are huge number of Facebook lovers then Google plus.

  • http://www.lefive.fr dave

    For me, it’s really hard to put Facebook out of business, at least not in 2012. It’s not easy to get rid of habit of surfing on Facebook even when you do have a G+ account. Google plus seems less cool than FB and there ain’t funny apps or games to play.

  • http://www.ises.nl Job

    Here is what will happen in 2012: Google and FB will fight over social and at the end of the year it will still be FB whos nr 1 and Google whos the niche player. Some ppl will make a fortune on FB shares and after that stocks will go down when ppl realize FB isnt even worth 10% of the currently estimated value. Linkedin will go public and will have a stabile and much lower and realistic value after a peak right after the start.
    Twitter will still struggle to make money and the relevance of Tweets will suck just a bit more (wow, is that possible?) than in 2011. Android will grow as a platform and iOS will be the only platform to keep up. Blackberry keeps crumbling while Nokia en MS struggle moderately successfully to position WP7. Windows 8 will get positive reviews but will still carry the “its windows”-burden.

  • http://www.themassagerooms.com massage london

    I think yes because Google plus is do follow and it is new and attractive. If it will be happen in 2012 it will big event of 2012

  • queuno

    Maybe 2013 or beyond, but I can’t really see what the killer app is on G+. About 10 of my 500 FB friends is on G+. None of them have posted more than once. G+’s, to me, is a lot worse than FB. G+ isn’t making up the difference in a year. When people say G+ is simple, they mean it looks cheap.

    The only thing “interesting” about G+ is Scoble, which isn’t that interesting…

  • http://www.sandrasmithdesign.com/ Sandra Smith Design

    Right from the start I was a big fan of Google+ because of the user interface and I must admit I am a Google fan. Add that to my dislike and distrust with Facebook around privacy, I hope this prediction is correct.

    However the majority of my social network is established on Facebook and I’m not sure how quickly they will want to start from scratch with a new social channel. It is a lot of work and time involved, especially with the constant learning curve involved in keeping up with new updates and services.

    The new changes Facebook has made since Google+ has entered the picture have been impressive and are keeping me engaged and continuing to use Facebook.

    It will be interesting to see what happens in 2012. The competition is great for everyone

  • http://www.webstatsart.com/blog webstatsart

    I have not ever met a Google Plus user but everyone uses and talks about facebook here. I think the news is bogus

  • Todd Kindred

    I think there is a large pool of people like myself who are finished with Facebook but are forced to stay because they have so many contacts that are still on the site. I have personally noticed a significant drop of meaningful posts from friends. I have not posted on Facebook in months and sign in a few minutes a day to check for messages from my friends abroad , since will be traveling overseas soon. Just before that I would sign in about once a week down from being constantly being signed on. I have already decided I will make a full switch to Google+ but I’ve got to get around to the invites and adding content to my account. I prefer Google+ because it is simple, cleaner, and is well integrated with other Google offerings. I predict Facebook will lose significant usage, not entirely because of Google+, but because people will grow tired of it and its ever increasing messy interface.