Is there room in the marketplace for three major social media players?
My presumption is that the answer to this question is: No.
For the last 2 years I’ve been saying that Facebook should be racing to compete with Google to become an ubiquitous utility that every 20-something could use at work, at home, and at school. With built-in collaboration tools and all your friends, co-workers, and business acquaintances already on Facebook… if they just had a more powerful word processor, presentation system, spreadsheet engine… they could have buried Google without even thinking about search.
Instead, Facebook invested in their ads engine and social graph. (Both wonderful tools for individuals and organizations alike.) This left the door wide open for Google to take all of the toys they have developed around a single sign-on and tie them all together to create Google Plus.
I’m a heavy social media user. I check Facebook and Twitter on my way to make coffee every morning. The mere thought of maintaining a third presence for myself and the brands I manage makes me cringe and wretch. I simply don’t have the mental capacity nor will to maintain three different applications, personas, audiences.
So who is the loser here? There are two.
- Your privacy. Using Google as your search engine, work application, and now social network means that one company knows darn near everything about you. Based on their algorithms, your behavior online, and your settings you might be sharing far more, far more easily than is helpful to you. One hack, accident, or change in policy could be very harmful to you.
- Twitter. As we’ve already documented, Twitter is getting killed by Facebook for marketing businesses. We continue to see, across all of our clients, incoming Facebook traffic at about 10x’s the rate as Twitter. And compared to organic Google traffic? 100:1 in Google’s favor.
Facebook is already good for business.
Twitter is meh for business right now.
Ultimately, these are big companies either funded by stockholders or VC investments. And the cash will flow to where businesses are investing.
If Google Plus releases a way for businesses to connect with their users, you will see all of the media attention, all of the marketing dollars, and gradually all of the users leave Twitter and migrate their attention to either Google Plus or Facebook. There simply isn’t room in people’s lives [or companies marketing budgets] for 3 social media sites. (Two is already INSANE!)
Mark my words. Google Plus won’t take down Facebook anytime soon. But it has the possibility, if they build a platform for brands/businesses ala Google Adwords & Doubleclick for Publishers, to turn Twitter into the next Myspace.