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Google+ Engagement is Down and Not by a Little!

This is the third time I am saying this, but this time, I actually verified my claim. I have been saying for months that Google+ will take off and become a leading social player over the next few years. I am no longer sure about that.

Over the past few months, engagement (+1s, Comments, Shares) is drastically down. I did not change the type of content I am sharing, the frequency at which I share it, or anything else that would cause this decrease.

Engagement is down and there is absolutely no question about it. If I had to name a day that this change happened, I would say it was the day the new design launched.

I wonder what the Google+ team has to say about this or if their metrics show this decrease, but in my experience, it is definitely real and it is game-changing for me.

I hope whatever caused this change is rectified asap because I loved the engagement I experienced here prior to the change.
Kjell Kallman's profile photoJon Zynda's profile photoRuud Reijmerink's profile photoDanny Verhoeven's profile photo
Apart from your own personal opinion, do you have any stats from independent sources to support your claim.  Not saying your wrong, just would like to see more info.
Yes, I write on multiple sites/blogs, Google+ was in the top referrers consistently since its launch. It is no longer even on the list.
Google+ needs you! I know we do! so please keep on sharing your posts with us here :)
So what site have you seen overtaking Google+ as the top referrer?
Thanks, but it is very frustrating when three months ago, a post would have gotten 700 shares and now it gets 10. Something is very wrong here.
I wonder of this isn't a G+ issue as much as it is an issue for ALL social networks including Facebook. I'm reading a lot about a recent poll that showed the decrease in Facebook's user presence on the website... Do you think that this could be a possibility? Are people over spending time online and they're focusing more on work and the real world?
It is not overtaking, Twitter was always there, Google+ just disappeared. And obviously search is at the top too. But you dont have to go that far. Scroll through my posts here from three months ago. Take any funny picture I shared then and see the engagement then compare it to the stuff I shared yesterday. Drastically different.
+Ian Tang Is it summer only on Google+ because Twitter and FB are the same as they always were.
I too have noticed the massive reduced interactions. Has it go to big as in population wise and now there are too many people on here to engage with. I am also noticing a few fake accounts pop up too..
People only have so much time for social networks, and I think Pinterest has captured a lot of attention. The frustration with G+ is that your friends aren't there, and it's really a lot of work to build a new audience. Social networks typically provide people with some kind of affirmation of their existence, on a fairly immediate basis. On FB, my friends immediately look at my post and there's immediate reaction. On G+, it's an uphill battle. What this means is that unless you are fairly dedicated to a long-term, rather than a short-term, reward, G+ won't be for you. I think that we are seeing too many people can't get the instant gratification on G+ and are dropping off. 
ya want to know why g+ will fail?  it doesn't appeal to the common masses.  This is precisely why I love it so.  No one I know uses it.  No mundane, trivial, or otherwise nonsensical comments.  No constant barrage of pictures in my feed by my nephews girlfriend, trying to convince everyone that her life is fabulous.  G+ will fail, because everybody is stupid.  They aren't looking for intellectual stimulation, they're looking for jersey shore.
G+ will fail because people expect so much and haven't got the patience or the tenacity to push it forward.  The world is changing faster and faster and peoples expectations are starting to reach a ridiculous level.  
+Matthew Hoover I disagree with you. The reason people are not here is because it is relatively new. The reason I told everyone it will take off is because feature-wise it trumps Twitter and Facebook, not to mention the deep Google integration. Having said that, if engagement continues to decrease, and the resulting traffic remains low, as a publisher, I am not sure it is worth the time I spend here (no API for posting from apps) if I don't see "ROI.".
The first few days of the design change, I used to open G+, stare at the design, wonder where to start and close the tab, unwilling to put in the time to learn anew. I actually took out time for it after more than a week but still find the new design kind of crummy. It FEELS like too much work.
It's pretty funny to see a thread on engagement getting this level of, ah, engagement :-)

I do think some of this is related to 2 things: 1) the quality of an individual post, 2) the sheer growth Google+ has experienced every month.
Plus + Plus + Plus on that last comment  ..Hillel !!
Well yes, +Vic Gundotra, when someone says something "negative" about Google+ on Google+, the "fans" come out to defend its honor. That is true on Twitter and FB also though. The growth can definitely explain the decrease I am seeing a bit, I hear that, but the difference is huge and there has to be another explanation as well. Anyway, you know I am a user from day one and I spend significant time here, I just need to get to the bottom of this. Almost no new circles in the past few months, very few comments, and significantly less shares. Again, same content, so what changed?
In time it may come about.  I've personally gone all google.  Everything I do revolves around it.  My phone, gmail, my social network, navigation, etc, the whole shebang.  It works wonderfully, yet most poeple I know don't even have gmail.  I could be contacted a hundred ways by anyone, but it won't work if they don't buy in as well.  I just had a conversation tonight w/ a nephew saying g+ and twitter were confusing.  They aren't, it's just they aint used to it. Ppl are gonna stay with what they know.  Facebook.  I hate to say it.  Facebook.  And then, to top it all off, he's telling me how cool he thinks the iphone is.  I feel I've failed as a human being, unable to prevent this.  I am sorry, society.
Maybe G+ should offer paid post promotions.  
It's a business.  Google are in the business of advertising and Facebook is becoming very similar, as is Twitter.  It will happen, it's just a matter of when.
I felt that things changed on here (for me at any rate) once it came out of 'beta' stage and everyone was allowed in. I also think that the new UI is not as nice or easy to use as the old one, especially for new users. At the beginning you would post something on here and get loads of engagement and comments. Now its changed and there are lot's of posts with no engagement at all, not even a like.
It is difficult to keep quite a few social networks going at once, I can't dump FB though I love to do so, because my family in on there, I also tweet and unfortunately its often the case that G+ gets left out....
I loved it at the beginning but definitely don't like the changes that have been made to the look. Too much wasted white space for a start.
The more people I circle, the harder it is to keep up with their content. There's just too many awesome people posting great stuff here that sometimes I miss a lot. In fact, I should be sleeping right now instead of catching up on G+ posts. :)
+Hillel Fuld What changed is a stunning amount of growth. It's not the same base of people anymore. So you're content has to be more mainstream to go viral. But it's okay. As you build your audience, you can be assured that the audience you built will get your post. 
The new design killed it for me. Looks nice, Facebook-ish, but it makes me want to do anything else.
+Hillel Fuld I know it's all subjective but I don't find that post to be very memorable or worthy of much attention. I prefer your more valuable articles. :) 
Yes, I have noticed. But I think FB engagement is down, too. Maybe social media is the CB radio of the new millenium after all.
+Craig Stokes Yes but that is the thing, I share all types of content so the decrease in engagement can't be blamed on the type of content I share. That post is more mainstream and less geek. :)
My bottom line is:  facebook sucks.  I hate it, and those that use it.  sometimes it's necessary to sign up for something on the net.  I will gladly continue to use the so-called ghost town that is g+, with all their insightful, educational, meaningful comments.  I will continue to use it until it ceases to exist. 
I went through all the people I've circled the other day. Many of them (the majority, really) had not posted anything at all for 7-8-9 months. I think it's safe to say they've jumped off the train.

There's a pattern to it. Almost all of them build their circles and posted like crazy when they first joined here. After a few
months with little feedback (or no feedback at all!) they have stopped posting.

If you get the sense that noone reads, it's hard to keep posting. It seems pointless.

The thing is that very few people in here enjoy a huge level of engagement with their writings, but as everyone supposedly follows the same XXX VIP-Google-pluser's, and comment on their stuff hoping to be noticed, that leaves little space for the little fellow actually posting something unique.

Sad but true, G+ is seen by many as a way to promote one self. If immediate succes in that is not achieved, they're off to the next "Big thing" hoping to build a name for themselves there.

I find tons of quality content in here, but can't help feeling that G+ is nothing but a hunt for followers for many, many users.
If you doubt there is a problem, try following a trending topic stream. The top trending topics very often seem depressingly slow - #Euro2012  was averaging about a post a minute during a big game yesterday. In contrast, the same stream on Twitter killed my Tweetdeck. Is everyone posting only to circles?

And anecdotally, I've also noticed a drop off in comments and +1s on posts in the last few months. I wonder if it is to do with What's Hot being less visible now? 
I tend to take a cue from Chrome. The Web is What You Make of It. As +Vic Gundotra says, Google+ is growing, and big fish in small ponds become big fish in big ponds.
Just FYI, after posting this, +Louis Gray and I "Hung out" to discuss. Engagement issues aside, the Google+ team cares and THAT is the difference that will matter in the long run.
There is a fundamental flaw in the Google Plus "social" design. When I encounter a post that I find interesting (like this one), I am forced to decide if I want to interact with commenters and leave my thoughts (here), or share it with my own followers, and leave my thoughts in a share post to them. It is ridiculous that I have to schizophrenically divide myself between your followers and mine.

Too much "engagement" heavy lifting. What we are experiencing is the erosion of engagement at the borders of the most committed and those who have brought their own social Network into Google Plus.

That is my take on it, as one who is has been pretty enthused about the possibilities of G+
When is the YouTube crowd merging over? That should bring plenty of interactions.
+Paul Kelly If I share a post more than once, which I do not do much here, it is once every few months and again, I have done that from day one, so that is not an explanation in my opinion.
+Hillel Fuld I find this post of extreme interest. Having read all comments numerous times one can ascertain that +Google better well be listening. Impressed to see +Vic Gundotra and +Louis Gray responding, however again "Google better be listening"

The redesign was not well received as you stated. Many positive steps were taken for the most part but also numerous negatives. One: #whitespace  Two: hiding the operational tools. Three: Growth (one can put more fish in a pond but some die do to overpopulation)

Hoping the answer is found soon to the interaction dilema!
+Tommy Melendi  Re: "I wonder of this isn't a G+ issue as much as it is an issue for ALL social networks including Facebook. I'm reading a lot about a recent poll that showed the decrease in Facebook's user presence on the website... Do you think that this could be a possibility?"

me: There is Social Media fatigue I believe, which is one reason why Pinterest has shot through the roof. The image-based, instantly affective means of curating and sharing is exactly what the Social Media market needed at this time, instead of one more place to formulate and package your thoughts status update after status update. Don't get me wrong, there are few places where even a thoughtful comment thread like this one can be found at the drop of a hat, but given how much sharing is out there, so many platforms, the world was ready for Pinterest which feels like a big time out and not for Google Plus which feels like a big workout, hitting the Social Media gym.

btw +Rabab Khan, thanks for directing me here through your share.
Maybe there needs to be an option to see how many people read the post rather than shared or +1'd it? I read all your posts +Hillel Fuld but it doesn't mean all of them are relevant to me personally or my circles. I'm using Google+ much more now than I use Facebook and I'm constantly reminding people that I don't post on Facebook any more. I've noticed people think it's a hassle to sign up to Google+ which I think is bizarre, especially when they already have a Gmail address. Not sure if it's just a perception thing. I've also noticed that people are not posting much at all now on Facebook (well my "friends" anyway). My timeline on Facebook is full of newsflashes and game requests and astrology updates.  
I guess, its true & I have heard from multiple folks that they are yet to adopt G+ and even if they have adopted, it's still not utilized. They fail to understand that, being engaged on G+ is good SEO strategy too since its part of the GOOGLE family.
Well it looks like this post proved beyond any shadow of a doubt that Google+ is not anything close to a "ghost town". People are here, so now I have to move on to the next theory of why my posts are getting less engagement. If it's not Google+, it must be me. :)
+Malhar Barai  re: "They fail to understand that, being engaged on G+ is good SEO strategy too since its part of the GOOGLE family."

Me (a side thought): We know that being engaged on blogs, getting those backlinks, and blogging keywords is excellent SEO. I wonder really which is better SEO per hr spent?: Blogging with all those keywords which run through your domain name, or developing conversations on Google Plus. For many it is just a question of the most out of your hours. Who wins the true SEO battle, Google Plus or domain blogging? I also wonder how long Google will distort its SERPs with Google Plus results in order to support its platform. Could there be a day when giving better results takes priority?
+Kevin von Duuglas-Ittu I understand Google created the G+ platform when it saw the its ad revenues are going to Facebook. End of the day, it was just a ploy to earn $ back from Facebook rather then looking to give better results.
+Jonathan Ross I think you are right. I keep saying "it's the first thing on the header bar" when people ask me how to sign up to G+ and the response is inevitably "what header bar???". 
+Emilie Smith unfortunately I suspect that after Buzz and Wave they are a little gunshy and erred on the side of caution. Still Google tend to be fast studies and may realize that letting G+ turn into a hangout exclusively for web professionals isn't really in their interest. As long as I keep making connections I wouldn't make elsewhere that's the ROI on being on G+ for me
+Malhar Barai - the funny thing was there seems to be a ceiling on Facebook Advertising (we'll see how paid newsfeed stories go). I think they were more concerned with Facebook's alliance with Bing, and the entire Social Search trend. Not sure how I feel about Social Search (generally think it is overrated). But if they are actually concerned with the threat of Bing and Yahoo (I last read that Bing and Yahoo have a 30+% share in search), then the quality of results will be the thing that insures they they keep raking in the AdWords revenue. 
I'm hoping that G+ follows a similar trajectory to Android. Remember Android back in 2009? Pre-Froyo, even. It was awful compared to iOS back then, and for a long time before the launch of the Droid it seemed as though it would never take off. Then suddenly, everyone had an Android phone.

Of course, this wasn't through Android being necessarily better for the average consumer, but purely because Android was on 24 out of 25 big screen phones in the mobile phone shop.

G+ is currently pre-Droid. Everyone is comparing it to Facebook and finding it lacking. But I suspect that we'll get to the point where integration is so tight that people just start accidentally using it without even intending to.

That is, if Google stick to it, which they seem to be doing so far. I'd hate to have to consider an alternative, because at the moment, I really have no fallback plan.
I think it might just be what you are posting +Hillel Fuld. As +Vic Gundotra said, the community here id constantly evolving, so you're followers might want different content. Check out what is making it into "What's hot." Also, with people following more users and pages now, you have to be even more extraordinary for users to take time away from another post to engage with you on your's. Personally, I haven't seen a decrease but I didn't have enough for there to be a decrease until about the time you are noting a decrease. haha
+Dave Tansley re: But I suspect that we'll get to the point where integration is so tight that people just start accidentally using it without even intending to.

Me: I wonder if this will occur through a more or less complete YouTube/G+ synthesis. I have always felt that the salvation of G+ is YouTube. That might be the equivalent of your OS analogy.
+Clayton Pritchard Actually I wouldn't want +Hillel Fuld to start posting stuff that appears in "What's Hot". It's like a diluted version of G+ that seems much more like Twitter for me - boring! What we do need though is interesting stuff that Hillel posts to end up in What's Hot without it necessarily having to be +1d by the masses :D
+Kevin von Duuglas-Ittu Yes, it'll be something like that. Another possibility is Picasa.

In fact, I've had friends stumble into G+ through Picasa and like the photo sharing, but they're been put off by having two separate UIs, and the weird disconnect between Picasa Web and G+. 

They'll get bleating for sure, but the sooner Google makes Picasa the official photo side of G+ and removes the ambiguity, the better.
I can't put my finger on what it is that makes me trust google more then Facebook. Which is why I don't have a Facebook account.
I do know that since the new design of the g+ app, I've been using it much more. The opposite can be said of the website.
Just give it time. Also - you should compare it vs FB engagement. which actually shows that FB engagement has taken a bigger dive.
So far, im monetizing here, and could never monetize on FB.
Im here to stay
Yeah, as I've been saying for months - you are the only one I know who actually uses Google+.  Lot's of my friends signed up but everyone's already on Facebook.  The few who posted here were just reposting what they already posted to Facebook, Twitter, etc. to cover all the bases.  Google+ may be better but Facebook has the critical mass.
By the way, the only reason I'm here is I must have mis-clicked while trying to check my gmail account.  The entire page is just you :)
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