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Google+ Revamp: The View from Italy

Written by: Marco Massarotto April 20, 2012  

Google has just announced that it has 170 million users on Google+.  Whilst this number is impressive, it’s a little misleading – it refers more to the number of Google users who now have a Google+ account… not the number of active users on the platform.

At the same time, Google has also unveiled a redesign of the platform – to make it “easier to use and nicer to look at” in an effort to “create a simpler, more beautiful Google.”

Already at the end of 2011 Google+ reached second position as the second major social network considering the amount of active users, after the prevailing giant – Facebook. And Google+ is still growing, although the situation differs from country to country. So what’s the word from Italy?  Is Google+ a viable channel for brand marketing today?

To answer to this question, we can have a look to some statistics that focus on the Italian market and describe the typical Italian Google+ user.

At the beginning of 2012 Italy could be found among the top 10 countries in the world using Google+, with < a href="http://www.website-monitoring.com/blog/2012/02/14/google-facts-and-figures-infographic/">1.76% of the country’s population members of the social network. In Italy there are more than 1.5 million accounts today. Most of the users are male, single and interested in personal relationships. If we look to their occupation, we can notice that the platform is still used by professional users, working in the field of technology, computer science and new media.

Despite those numbers, and a further growth of the users’ visits that reached 61 millions (+27%) in March 2012, some Italian tech-blogs have doubts about the real significance of the Google+ market.

DoYouTech.com says that the possibility of interacting with the platform without even opening it, but through other Google services, makes it not easy to understand how the dynamics about the users evolve. Also considering the fact that Mountain View doesn’t specify a way to determine who the “active users” are, underlies the importance of data focused on “unique interactions”.

Geekissimo is even more drastic: taking inspiration from an article from The Wall Street Journal, it asks if Google+ is actually a “ghost town”. In fact, according to the data provided by comSore on the average amount of time spent by users on social networks between September and December 2011, if Facebook takes 405 minutes per month, the time taken by Google+ is only 3 minutes per month.

Anyway, Italian brands are still investing in Google+, integrating the platform and giving it a relevant role in their communication strategies.

Among them, we can mention; Telecom Italia Group, Telecom Italia, Fiat and Activia Italia

Considering the importance and popularity of these brands, the fact that they are “placing a bet” on Google+ has to be taken into account as evidence of its potential as a channel for marketing. Their performances and the engagement they will be able to rouse will probably give us an answer.

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