Google+ Yet to be Embraced in Africa

Google’s social networking site Google+ has slowly but steadily been experiencing a growth in its user base, with over 90 million users worldwide as by January 2012. This is can be termed as a very small figure, as compared to Facebook’s 800 million and Twitter’s 500 million users worldwide.

In Africa, where Facebook and Twitter are predominant, Google+ has been able to rack up over 478 449 users in Egypt alone, SA follows with 466 828 profiles, while Zimbabwe has ca 30 000 people on Google+. According to these figures, Egypt boasts the highest number Google+ of users in Africa. However, this growth is still very slow, and Africa has been ranked as the slowest to embrace it as compared to other continents in the world.

In a bid to attract more African users, Google recently added 2 indigenous African languages, Afrikaans and Zulu, to their social network, Google+. The network is available in up to 60 languages.

Asked why Google+ take up might have been that slow, Maina Martin, an ICT Consultant at October ICT told HumanIPO, “It’s going to be an uphill task for Google+ to convince new users into their network. Reason being, Facebook and Twitter already have established niches that Google+ is yet to have. It was hard enough even for Twitter to gain popularity with Facebook as a competitor. As we speak, Twitter is mostly an information tool, while Facebook is more of fun and communication tool. For Google+, am yet to know their area, though it has some good business features compared to the other two. If that is going to be their niche, it’s a question of let’s wait-and-see.”

According to figures by Plusdemographics, Google+ majority users (50%) fall in between the ages 18-24 followed by 25-34 age group, at 28%. The figures also show that 62% of the registered users are male, and 38% female. 42% of the users have been listed as ‘looking for friends’, while 32% are looking for networking.

Google’s CEO Larry Page in January 19, 2012 press release said, “I am super excited about the growth of Android, Gmail, and Google+, which now has 90 million users globally – well over double what I announced just three months ago. By building a meaningful relationship with our users through Google+ we will create amazing experiences across our services.”

Many people around the world are monitoring the take of Google+, and specifically waiting to see what niche it will cut for itself in the social networking arena, like Facebook and Twitter. In the meantime, the social network’s relevance as a marketing tool for African businesses to communicate brand messages is becoming more important.

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