The demise of Google+ and social media marketing

It would be the biggest talking point in social media marketing for business, if it weren’t for the platform already being null and void in the eyes of many professionals and consumers alike.

This week Google has announced it will close down Google+, its beleaguered social network, two months earlier than planned following the discovery of a second major bug. The company had admitted defeat in the battle to compete with the Facebooks and Twitters of this world some time ago, scheduling its platform to be taken offline for good in August next year.

Eternal downtime will now commence from April 2019.

We’re not going to go into what went wrong and what the tech giant could have done better to deliver something social media marketing folk, and users, would have found impossible to switch off from.

Nor are we going to look at why other social networks have survived and thrived for as long as they have. Instead, it might be more interesting to think about whether Google is really going to lose out on much by shelving the ill-fated project.

Organic social is dying

Whichever way you look at things, organic reach is pretty much a running joke in social media marketing circles. The numbers don’t lie.

We are rapidly approaching a situation wherein social media is just another advertising platform. You’re simply not going to make an impact without promoting posts with cash, effectively turning them into commercial space.

Now here’s where it gets interesting. Google has cornered the market in digital advertising; spend with the firm currently accounts for more than 38% of all money thrown at online advertising in the UK. Other territories tell a very similar story, too. Meanwhile Facebook is the only real rival at the time of writing, and even then you’re talking less than half of Google’s share— 18.3% by the end of 2019 .

We’re not saying Google won’t be disappointed

None of this should be taken as Smoking Gun suggesting Google won’t be gutted to finally pull the plug on its long-ailing network. Nor are we implying brands shouldn’t continue to produce great social content for both organic and paid campaigns. Few brands could ever afford to put cash behind every individual post, and the public expects regular updates.

What we are saying, though, is that from a social media marketing perspective, social media itself as a free option for outbound marketing, is fast becoming irrelevant. Consumers are increasingly seeing Facebook and Twitter as customer service tools, with Instagram more and more dominated by user-generated user-generated content.

What this means is that while Google will have egg on its face (nobody likes to lose), we struggle to think of a single brand engaged in social media marketing that will lament, or even notice, the death of Google+. And even less that will see its passing as something that would threaten to put them off continuing to view Google-proper’s advertising options as an essential weapon in the comms arsenal.