Google+ has a lot of catching up to do against Facebook, especially in one key metric: time spent.
According to Nielsen’s latest study, Google+ visitors hung around for 6 minutes and 47 seconds on average in March, while Facebook visitors spent 6 hours and 44 minutes on average during the same period.
The average time spent on Facebook, the world’s largest social networking site with more than one billion members, is down from the average 7 hours and 9 minutes visitors spent in March last year.
Time spent on Google+ was a significant increase of about 3.3 minutes on average from February last year based on comScore’s findings. Take note that the numbers do not include traffic from Android apps.
A representative for Google told Mashable that Nielsen’s figures are nowhere near the search giant’s internal data.
Nielsen gathered information only from direct visits to plus.google.com, not from any other Google domains such Gmail and YouTube, the Google rep added.
In terms of visits from mobile devices, Nielsen said that 20 million unique visitors in the United States accessed Google+ through its Android and iPhone apps. The number of visits in March is 238 percent higher than the figure from the same period last year.
The number of Google+ visitors from desktop computers leaped 63 percent from last year, or 28 million unique visitors in the U.S. market.
The analytics firm did not release a combined figure for traffic from desktop and mobile devices to Mashable. And it’s highly likely that many visitors visit the social network through both desktop computers and mobile devices such as smartphones and tablets.
Meanwhile 99 million people used their mobile devices to visit Facebook in March this year, and 142.1 million unique visitors used their desktop computers to socialize on the website.
In comparison, microblogging site Twitter had 34 million unique visitors from the desktop during the same period, and 29 million unique visitors from its official mobile app on supported platforms.
GlobalWebIndex reported in February that Google+ was the second most actively used social network online during the last quarter of 2012. It outpaced Twitter, but still looks up to first placer Facebook.
The Q4 2012 study revealed that 51 percent of Internet users logged in to Facebook at least once a month, followed by 25 percent for Google+, and 21 percent for both Twitter and Google-owned video streaming site YouTube.
Social media marketers should take note of the latest Google+ figures if they want to rank high in search engine results, especially the social network’s namesake and provider Google.