The Social Media War: Is Google+ the David to Facebook’s Goliath?
By all measures, Google+, the newest entrant in the already-dominated social media category, should be dead in the water.
Just consider some of the dimensions of absolute dominance reached by the privately held Facebook, which was launched from a Harvard dorm room in 2004. With over 800 million current users, it is the world’s most visited website with more than 1.8 billion visits during an average week. Over 400 million users post every day more than 2 billion likes and comments in 70 languages.
More than 45 % of Facebook’s 18–34 years old users check the site when they wake up, and more than 30 % of this group checks in before ‘even getting out of bed!’ This stand-alone, walled-garden’s $4.3 billion in sales is valued at an incredible $82.9 billion for a 41.5 sales to value ratio.
So then, is Google+ the David to Facebook’s Goliath?
Launched in July 2011 as an invitation-only social network site, Google+ quickly jumped to third place as the U.S.’s most popular social media site by September 2011 when it became an open-access site with more than 40 million members. Published by publicly owned Google, it joins a stable of more than 105 companies that are among the top category leaders in search, email, image-search and internet browsers. Google’s more than $30 billion in revenue and $192 billion valuation dwarfs Facebook.
Additionally, Android, launched by Google in 2007 as an open source OS, leads the cell phone industry with a 42 % market share. And, Google’s aggressive $12.5 billion cash offer in August 2011 for third ranked cell phone manufacturer Motorola may present serious obstacles for Facebook’s mobile strategies.
This chapter explores as a case study the long-term potential of Google+ and analyzes its ultimate viability as a full competitor rather than a niche player in social media. This study is based on a complete review of the current literature; a thorough analysis of real world indicators including site metrics, market shares, revenue and valuations; a comparative analysis of the sites’ formats and features; interviews with company and industry spokespeople and several small-sized focus groups with dedicated users of the social media sites.
KeywordsMarket Share Social Media Social Networking Site Initial Public Offering Social Media Site
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