One of the factors lost in the debate over the value of Yahoo! (NASDAQ: YHOO) is the amount of time that consumers spend on the site. For advertisers, especially those running display ads, the hours that users spend per month could be critical to the value of the dollars that they invest to spread their messages.
According to Nielsen numbers for March, the average time spent on Yahoo! was 3 hours and 12 minutes. The figure for Google (NASDAQ: GOOG) was only 1 hour and 15 minutes. For MSN, the number was 2 hours and 13 minutes and for AOL the figure was four hours.
The numbers allow marketers to calculate a 24/7 Wall St. "Advertising Audience Power Rating" based on time spent multiplied by total unique visitors.
Google’s rating would be 149. Yahoo!’s would be much higher at 367. MSN would weigh in at 213, and AOL’s would be 360.
If consumer loyalty can be measured in time spent, Yahoo! and AOL may be more valuable than they seem at first blush.
Douglas A. McIntyre