Google+ Growth: Time Spent Spikes, Young Demos Dominate

In the wake of Google’s statement last week that its new social platform had surpassed 10 million registered profiles, new data from Experian Hitwise confirms Google+ has indeed gathered a considerable head of steam.

The researcher has shared with ClickZ a range of information on Google+’s share of visits, growth, demographics, and usage patterns during its first three weeks. Its top-line estimates: the domain plus.google.com received more than 1.8 million total visits last week, placing it 42nd among social networking sites and 638th among all U.S. sites.

hitwise-google-plus

A rundown of other findings:

-The average time spent on Google+ has risen steadily in each of the last three weeks, culminating in average totals of nearly 6 minutes per visit (5:50) for the week ended July 16. Time spent the previous two weeks averaged 4:52 for the week ended July 9, and 2:56 for the week ended July 2.

-After a dramatic rise in visits last week, Google+’s growth has slowed somewhat. The launch buzz culminated in the middle of last week, when the site drew more than 300,000 visits for three days in a row (Tuesday through Thursday). Since then it has dipped slightly, perhaps owing to the weekend and a slight cooling as the first wave of early adopters checked out the site and/or secured accounts.

-Men and young people are most active on Google+ so far. Experian Hitwise estimates 57 percent of the site’s user base is male. Meanwhile 38 percent of visits last week were from people aged 25 to 34; the previous week, those aged 18 to 34 commanded 38 percent.

-The biggest cities are from the big coastal cities. Topping the list of markets is Los Angeles, followed by New York City and San Francisco, according to the researcher. When population differences are factored out, the cities with the most Google+ visitors per capita are Bowling Green, KY; Portland, OR; Bend, OR; and Presque Isle, ME. College towns indexed very well in general, according to Experian Hitwise spokesperson Matt Tatham, suggesting Google+ may be following in the early footsteps of Facebook.

-No surprise: Google is driving the most traffic to Google+. According to Experian Hitwise, last week 56 percent of traffic to Google+ was delivered from other Google properties. Google.com drove 34 percent of visits to the site, and search engines in general drove 37 percent of visits. Email was the second largest driver, pegged by the research firm at 21 percent.

The data represents the first third-party assessment of the platform’s growth, based on data collected by Experian Hitwise from June 28 through July 18. Estimates of the site’s registered user base have also been offered by Paul Allen, founder of Ancestry.com. Allen believes the number of Google+ members reached 18 million on Monday.

Google+ is still very small, it goes without saying. The week after Google announced the site, Facebook announced a staggering 750 million people around the world access the site monthly.

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