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To make Google+ popular, Google should start looking at the merchants

Google received some bad news about its social network, Google+, from Gigya - only 2% saw Google+ has the key destination for shared contents. In comparison, Facebook scored 50% and Pinterest scored 16%.

Source: Gigya

This low percentage score means that its users are not sharing content on Google+. No content on Google+ means there is no reason for its 359 million users to visit Google+.

Google should relook at how it is going to make this social networks popular. My suggestion is that it should start from the merchants' angle rather than from the end-users' point of view.

Why do I say this? From my daily engagement with merchants on the ground, merchants, big or small, are starting Facebook Pages first and web-sites later. Discussions often start with "How many likes can I get" and no longer "How many visitors come to my site?".

A Cafe Celebrating Likes Than Visitors to the shop...
Merchants are starting Facebook Pages first because it extremely easy to do so. All the merchants need to do is go to https://www.facebook.com/pages, filling up a few fields and viola, they have a Facebook Page. If you are first time user of Facebook Page, you could even get a vanity URL instantly or wait till your Page get 25 Likes.

If merchants need to advertise on Facebook to get more Likes or increase awareness of the Page, merchants only need to go to http://Facebook.com/ads or just click any of the pop-ups on the Page screen targeted at admins to get advertise on the social platform.

Now, compare this to Google+. To get a vanity URL for the Google+ page, merchants first need to embed the Google+ button on its website and submit a verification form which requires a scan copy of some proof of document. Given that websites are now the number two or three thing to do before setting up a Facebook Page, why would merchants care about setting a Google+ Page?

If merchants need to advertise, they have to go outside of the Google+ Page to the Google Adwords page and find out how to advertise.

Google+ Pages don't even provide analytics for the Google+ Page direct and I am not even sure how you embed a Google Analytics code into a Google+ Page. For Facebook, once you reach 100 likes or more, Insights is provided naturally.

So for Google to make Google+ something that merchants want to use, Google should start making it easier for merchants to do things on Google+ and all within Google+, rather than go to multiple sites.

For a start, why don't Google make it easier for merchants to get vanity url?






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