NEW YORK: Nearly two-thirds of the global internet audience accessed a social networking website in May, with Russia, Brazil and Canada among the nations where these portals commanded the most attention, comScore has found.

According to the online research firm's figures, 734 million people over the age of 15 visited a social network during the month of May, out of a potential online audience of 1.1 billion.

Over the 40 countries assessed by comScore, the typical web user spent a total of 3.7 hours on these portals, viewing 525 individual pages each.

The average Russian registered 6.6 hours on 1,307 pages, and comScore argued this type of web property was helping consumers in the country communicate across what is a vast geographical territory.

Of the 31.9 million consumers using the web in Russia in April, 18.9 million accessed a social network, including 14.3 million using Vkontakte, and 7.7 million visiting Odnoklassniki.

Facebook, by contrast had 616,000 individual users – up 277% year-on-year – with MySpace on 433,000, while seven of the top ten sites in the category were based in Russia itself.

Mike Read, svp and managing director of comScore, argued the medium therefore offered a "significant opportunity for marketers and advertisers seeking to reach these audiences."

Brazil followed in second place in terms of its social networking "engagement", with the average "netizen" active for 6.3 hours on these portals, accessing 1,220 pages.

It was followed by Canada, where these figures reached 5.6 hours and 649 pages respectively.

American web users spent an average of 4.2 hours viewing 477 pages, compared with 4.6 hours, and 477 pages, in the UK.

Data sourced from comScore; additional content by WARC staff