The End of Google Plus Comes in April: Will You Miss It?
Even though there’s a yellow banner across the top of my Google Plus account warning of its pending closure, I missed it.
The way I found out about the coming end of Google Plus wasn’t from the service itself. I found out from a mention by Mack Collier on Twitter and from a link to Christoph Trappe‘s site, Business Storytelling Tips.
Sure enough, when I went to my own G+ account page, I had the same message:
I guess they’re really serious about this!
In all honesty, I’ve heard that Google Plus was on the way out for what feels like two or three years now.
It started off with a lot of fanfare and for a month or so, it felt like everyone I knew from Facebook was ready to abandon that service for the shiny new service on the block.
A few friends from Facebook actually did show up on G+. But for the most part, they never left Facebook and after a short time, they stopped showing up at G+.
According to the official announcement, which Google posted on January 30th, a month after announcing their service would actually end, the reasons were simple: “low usage and challenges involved in maintaining a successful product that meets consumers’ expectations.”
Let’s be honest: Low usage, was the reason.
After all, if too few are using it, that alone becomes a challenge for maintaining the product: you’re using valuable resources on a service not enough people are even experiencing to begin with.
Will your site feel the loss?
The best answer I can give you is, “It depends.”
Everyone who owns a blog should have at least some idea of where your visitors come from. In many cases, search traffic might be the largest referral source. A referral source is the site or service that brings people to your blog to begin with.
Sometimes, people may use Google to search for something you’ve written about. If they click a link to your site in search results, Google becomes your referral source. Search traffic is important because social media platform algorithms are always changing and those changes can affect your traffic.
Social referrals are important, but can be much more volatile.
If they click a link you’ve shared on Facebook or Twitter — or Google Plus, for that matter — then that social media platform, whichever it is, becomes your referral source.
If you use Google Analytics, you can easily track your social media referrals. From the main sidebar, select “Acquisition,” then “Social” and then “Network Referrals.”
For some blogs, Facebook is the number one source of social referral traffic. Others have had a huge helping of visitors thanks to platforms like Pinterest.
Facebook is my biggest referral source over time, but more recently, Twitter has sent me more visitors.
Google Plus, however, is responsible for .02% of social media referrals. A whopping three page views. Ever.
That’s compared to thousands of referrals from Facebook and Twitter. Even Pinterest, which I’ve never had any luck with, sent people here more often than Google Plus ever did.
If you’re one of the bloggers who has been helped by Google Plus, and I’m sure there must be bloggers who have been, the shuttering of the platform could have an impact. If you find yourself in that category, your best strategy may be to quickly embrace your second-biggest referral source and boost your presence and interaction there. That could help pick up some of the slack.
Otherwise, if your analytics look like mine, you probably won’t notice G+’s absence.
In any case, you have until April 2 to figure out whether you need to shift your strategy. And as Christoph mentions, you have until then to decide whether you need to download your archive. Check out his article here for information to help you decide.
RIP, Google Plus.