Over the past few days there has been a lot of buzz surrounding our coverage of Google+, particularly focusing on the measured 60% downward trend we saw in the site’s traffic. To continue our investigation into this matter, Chitika Insights researched traffic patterns of the social network to determine whether the downward trend we witnessed was a short term fluctuation as some proposed, or just the beginnings of a long term trend.

As it turns out, our data shows that the trend seems to be continuing. After a brief blip in Google+’s traffic surrounding the site going public, we saw a prolonged and sustained downward trend in overall activity coming from the site. At its greatest, the gap between peak and trough measured over a 70% decline in traffic.

Why wasn’t Google able to sustain its publicity fueled user base? Here are some of the thoughts we had (some of which were mirrored in this post made by a Google engineer):

  • Google focused too much on building a social network that would be able to compete with Facebook, rather than innovating and developing one which could outperform it.
  • By failing to provide developers with an API, which would support a network of useful services for their users, Google created a hurdle for themselves as they continue to be out-developed by Facebook.
  • Facebook also contributed to slowing the success of Google+ in taking precautionary measures to corral their users and prevent them from switching to the new social network. This effectively limited users ease of transition and Google+’s ability to expand.

It will be interesting to see if Google+ will be able to claw its way up through the ranks of social networks in the coming months. If Google is able to implement a platform which supports the development of a network of services which promotes user activity and accessibility, they may be successful in reversing this downward trend. Or, perhaps not — but only time will tell . . .

If you are interested in how we got these numbers, check out this recent post which details our methodology.

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