Back in the beginning of May, I wrote about Google+'s dramatic growth, which saw a 33 percent increase in users since June of last year. However, one of Google+'s problems has always been the amount of time people spend on the social media platform, especially when compared to Facebook. Recent news shows that those numbers are improving, but at the same time, so are Facebook's.
More Time on Site
It doesn't really matter how many hundreds of millions of people use your website if they spend only minimal time on it, right? That's a problem Google+ has been wrestling with since it launched. However, news from early this morning shows that time on site for users is improving. However, they don't come close to Facebook's numbers.
Todd Wasserman at Mashable reports today that "the average user spent 6 minutes 47 seconds on Google+'s site in March vs. 6 hours, 44 minutes on Facebook.com according to ... Nielsen." I know what you're thinking, that's a gigantic gap between the two. Yes, you're right, it is. But in February Google+ users averaged only 3.3 minutes on site. That means the time has essentially doubled. Of course, Google does state that the numbers from Nielsen do not sync with Google's internal numbers, which Google often keeps to themselves.
For Facebook, the numbers are still good. But as Tendar Tsering at Idigitaltimes explains, "the time-spent average for Facebook has decreased slightly this year." With the time being such a large number, it's doubtful that this slight decrease will make a difference at all.
Does It Matter?
Time spent on site isn't nearly as important for Google+ as it is for Facebook. Google+ does not need its users to spend long periods of time on its site. Facebook does. Facebook gets a great deal of its revenue from advertising and the longer people spend on site, the more effective their advertising is.
Google+'s strategy is more about adopting the Google brand ecosystem. Different strategies, same social media basis. Still, Facebook understands the power of the ecosystem idea that Google has been championing for years with all of its free offerings for users.
Facebook Home Is Succeeding
Facebook is delving into the whole ecosystem idea with its Android app, Home. Home was released four weeks ago and it is starting to become more popular, driving up time spent on Facebook's mobile site. I'll admit I was skeptical at first, but I guess I underestimate how much people like Facebook, especially on their mobile devices.
In fact, recent comments from Facebook VP Cory Ondrejka in John Constine's TechCrunch article are worth reading. She stated, "Home is the first product we've released that's really about 'mobile-best' and the transition beyond 'mobile first.'" This is an interesting statement primarily because it shows that Facebook is really going all out on mobile. It looks like they're betting the future on mobile in a very powerful way. It has been working, too. Home has boosted "the number of daily comments and likes someone leaves on the news feed by 25%."
What Does It All Mean?
The numbers on Google+ are a good sign for businesses and agencies already using the service to build their brand and engage with users. More time on that platform means people have more time to check out your site. The impressive numbers for Facebook show that the social media giant is still very reliable in terms of ads and reaching consumers. If their mobile focus continues, they could be a very good option to focus mobile efforts with. Both should be watched closely over the coming months!
What do you think about Google+ vs. Facebook? How do you use both for your business or agency?