Can The Muppets Save Google Plus?
The Muppets are everywhere, it seems. But who would have thought that you could have found them, in all places, on Google Plus?
No, you can’t really add Animal or Kermit the Frog to your Circles, but you can at least pretend what the experience would be like thanks to a new advertisement that Google’s running. In it, The Muppets are using Google Plus for – what else – an impromptu band session, rocking out to a cover of the Queen/David Bowie collaboration, “Under Pressure,” via the power of a Google Plus hangout.
This isn’t the first time that Google has turned to The Muppets to support one of its products, as the company most recently celebrated the 75th birthday of famed Muppet creator Jim Henson by using The Muppets to form an interactive “Google” logo. While it wasn’t quite the same as, say, clicking on Fozzie Bear and watching a pie hit him in the face, the doodle nevertheless came with a number of fun Easter Eggs for those exploring the animation of the made-up logo characters.
But will The Muppets be enough to encourage use of Google Plus? It’s been difficult to get any kind of a direct figure on Google Plus use, but the site has allegedly seen a bit of an uptick in growth lately. According to November stats from Hitwise, Google Plus experienced its third-largest week of traffic for the week ending November 12. And this represents a 25 percent increase in site traffic since October.
That said, the Los Angeles Times reports that overall traffic to Google Plus has allegedly fallen in nearly half of the first 21 weeks since its June launch. Once Google Plus opened up to the public in September of this year, Hitwise reports that the site peaked out at around 15 million visitors (in just one week) before losing more than half this traffic over subsequent weeks. The most recent stats put Google Plus at around 6.8 million weekly visitors (as of mid-November), with roughly three-fourths of the traffic being supplied by return visitors to the site.
Of course, these are just recorded visits, not actual growth (or use) of Google Plus accounts. Take Google’s own statistics for their worth, however, and Google Plus has sailed in as the second most-searched-for term in 2011. Which means people must be using the service, as search suggests intent, correct? But even the drop-off on Google searches for “Google Plus” is evident: A huge spike around July when the service was in its invitation-only phase, and only a mild spike in September when it opened up to the public.
So which is it? Is Google Plus in or out for 2012? It’s a bit too early to call it either way, but it appears as if Google Plus is closer to approaching stability than it is to achieving breakout growth. Unless, of course, Google’s latest Muppets commercial creates a Google Plus surge from, “lovers, dreamers, and you.”