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Google Plus Failing To Catch On With Teens

Teens love Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. Google Plus, not so much. Most teens rarely sign on to the service and those that do rarely use it. This could spell trouble for the service as teens are highly social-media savvy. 

Google Plus
  © Google

The latest survey of teens in America finds that nearly all use Facebook, and both Twitter and Instagram are growing in popularity. Google Plus, however, is of little significance to America's youth. The data from the Pew Internet report shows that 81% of teens use social media. Of these, a whopping 94% have a Facebook profile. 26% are on Twitter. Only 3% have even set up a Google Plus account. 

By contrast, 7% have a MySpace account.

This isn't the only bad news for Google+. When asked which social media service they use most often, 81% of teens pointed to Facebook. This was far ahead of Twitter, which 7% of the teens use most often. A shockingly low 1% use Google Plus more than any other social media service.

While Google's robust social networking platform has failed to effectively challenge Facebook and Twitter, it's very poor showing with teens - probably the most media-savvy and tech-influenced group - must be considered troubling. It may be due, in part, to the fact that Google Plus is viewed by teens as a more adult-professional experience.

Along with their survey, Pew also held personal focus groups. Not much was said about Google+, though two teens offered some insight:  

Male (age 13):  “I think parents feel safer with Google Plus.”
Female (age 13):  “With Google Plus it was like, you should add this person to your circle. And then it automatically brings up their profiles. No, I do not want to put my teacher into a circle.”

The female followed this up with:

“But sometimes it's annoying because there's a lot of spam. And so I don't use it that much. I like Facebook way more. And also it's kind of like on Google Plus, people just kind of follow you.”

Google+ may simply not be considered cool. However, it is viewed positively as a means to help teens with their schoolwork. 

Any social media platform suffers by not attracting enough users. For Google+, it may be that there are too many options built into the service. As the survey noted, nearly all teens - surprisingly - do not create the equivalent of "circles". Whatever they share is viewed by all. Facebook, Instagram and Twitter all offer a level of simplicity that Google+ does not.


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  • I read the same article that Teens are leaving Facebook, because their Parents and Grandparents have finally become "facebook savy" and they would rather go someplace else (Twitter, Instagram, Tumblr) ....

    You can retool Myspace all you want, but I will never go back there. I use Google + but it could use some improvements (ie let me stream audio) and I could give a toss what Teens find trendy (they'll change their minds so fast that no social network can keep up with their trends) ...

  • David T May 25, 2013 Link to comment

    I wonder how teens in other countries view Google+

  • Teens are fickle. However, I think Google+ may still be focused on offering too many services whereas teens prefer specific social networks for specific activities.

  • Gio A. May 24, 2013 Link to comment

    I read a article a few days ago that says teens are actually moving away from facebook and going to other services like twitter and instagram. Because they simply find facebook uncool because to many older people are using it.

    So maybe facebook is more popular then Google plus but facebook is loosing popularity with the people that matter the most in the social media business. Google is a successful company with or without Google plus but facebook would really suffer a tremendous loss if they lose their popularity with teenagers.

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