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Yahoo and Bing capitalise on US search market growth, whilst Google increase their search engine market share to over 91 per cent.
According to the latest figures from comScore, the search market in the US grew by an impressive 7 per cent in March. Meaning that a total of 15.4 billion searches were carried out, compared to the 14.4 billion seen in February.
The major benefactors of this bumper search month were Yahoo, Bing and, perhaps most surprisingly, Ask.com. The latter of these three increased their overall searches by 11 per cent, giving them an overall search engine market share of 3.8 per cent. Yahoo received 2.6 billion searches (an increase of 7%) and Bing rose to 1.8 billion searches (an increase of 8%), making the latest figures pleasant reading for the YaBing partnership.
This also backs up why Google have managed to increase their search advertising income by over 20 per cent in the first quarter and Yahoo have experienced huge profits, including a 3 per cent rise in ad revenue [see: Yahoo Record First Quarter Revenue Increase]
Cross the pond though (volcanoes permitting) and it is an entirely different story.
Here, Hitwise are reporting that Google have increased their stranglehold on the UK market. Their search share is now 91.2 per cent, up from 90 per cent last month. Despite posting positive figures in last month’s report [see: Search Engine Market Share Statistics – March 2010], Yahoo have nosedived in April, slipping from a 5.78 per cent share to a miserly 2.45 per cent. Meanwhile Bing held reasonably firm, dropping just 0.01 of a per cent to secure a 2.97 per cent market share.
Again though, the surprise package comes in the form of Ask.com, or as we call it, Ask Jeeves. From not even appearing in the last month’s report (presumably it was a part of the 1.24% of ‘other’ searches), the old warhorse of search has carved out a 1.4 per cent slice of the UK search market. The others this month, think Cuil, AOL and even Yebol [see: Yebol Heralds the Dawn of Semantic Search], accounted for 1.98 per cent of all searches.
The only constant in the figures over the last few months is the major shifts in Yahoo’s fortunes. As a company in transition [see: Has Yahoo Jumped the Shark? (Following AOL and Netscape)], Yahoo need to find their feet again. As evidenced later in this report, their global status is still strong, but big dips like those seen in the UK will do little to brighten up the Sunnyvale based search giant.
So whilst Google is the clear leader in the UK; the remaining 9% of searches are being spread across a larger base of search engines, particularly when compared to the US market. Over in America, Google grew their search enquiries by 6 percent, but surrendered 0.4 per cent of their overall share. This has increased YaBing’s stake in the market to 28.6 per cent, compared with Google’s 65.1 per cent.
One of the major movers within the search market was from a website that isn’t even a search engine. Surprisingly, in comScore’s expanded search list, Facebook saw a massive 48% rise in their search volume during the month of March. The 647 million searches it received are a testament to the swelling user numbers, which helped Facebook leapfrog Google in US Internet market share last month. You can read more on their combined dominance here: How Google and Facebook Diversified to Conquer the Internet
What Does this all Mean for Online Marketers?
We report the search engine figures each month to show the shifting patterns of search in UK and overseas. By being able to have a clearer understanding of what platform your searchers are likely to be using, we hope that you will be better able to target your optimisation.
Take for example Ask.com. In the past you may have written this off as an irrelevance, too small to consider a reasonable source of traffic. However, by gaining a 1.4 per cent share here in the UK and 3.8 per cent in the states, it might be worth targeting more in future.
These figures are also important for advertisers. If you are currently using paid search, or are perhaps looking to do so, it is important to weigh up the potential traffic against the bid prices. Google are clearly market leaders, the 15.4 billion searches they receive in the US are testament to that, and so are likely to deliver most traffic. However, will they offer the best value for money or a non-prohibitive competition rate?
By looking at the changing trends, albeit they tend to only be fractional, you can find new ways to promote your website. If you are targeting the US market, Bing might be the way forward; their integration with Yahoo will see them command nearly 29 per cent of that huge market – plenty of scope for attracting targeted visitors.
Why Choose these Figures?
We have used Hitwise for all UK figures and comScore for US for the past reports. This just gives an even balance and provides a basis for comparison. There are a number of metrics out there for measuring search engine statistics. These though, we believe, are some of the most accurate.
For example, Hitwise also do statistics for other nations, including the US. Their metric gives Google 70.6% of the US market, with the others as follows:
This clearly differs from comScore, which is as a result of a different methodology of generating the data. However, the fundamental positions remain much the same.
For some additional context, here are the latest Hitwise figures for some other search markets:
Canada (search engine volume in %)
Australia (search engine volume in %)
Singapore (search engine volume in %)
These figures show not only the level of dominance that Google enjoys, but also how single-minded the UK market is compared with other nations. The growth of Bing has also been quicker in nations like Singapore and Canada than it has here; so for those in global markets, search engine facts and figures are vital tools in developing visibility.
For a long time, Bing, the UK’s second-largest search engine, has been underappreciated and, in some instances, even ignored. Often regarded as the inferior search engine to market leader Google, Bing has historically struggled to appeal to many in the digital world. Most PPC analysts would give justified reasons for neglecting Bing for so long; these include the volume of traffic and the user experience just not matching up to Google. However, the validity of these assessments is now diminishing. Bing has grown and improved rapidly in the last couple of years; if you are not integrating it into your comprehensive digital marketing plan, you run the risk of missing out on a large portion of your chosen market and significant revenue.
When it comes to building a content marketing campaign, it can be difficult to know where to start. You may have an initial idea but bringing it to life and getting your message seen are always harder than initially thought.