The Search Landscape

Feb 28, 2005 - 3:11 pm 1 by

Room is really packed, and I am passing out yo-yo�s. Barry is also attending this session and will be covering it. So we will probably have to compare notes at the end.

First up was Jason Lamberti from comScore Networks. He runs the search marketing group of his firm. He is going to cover various segments of the market. How does comScore get their data?. They use passive tracking of actual consumer search activity. There are 1.5 million member panel of online consumers who have agreed to be continuously and passively observed. There are all kinds of data sources, and they cover the marketing thought a variety of angles. He goes into the search consumer development by country. The intensity and penetration in the U.S. lags major behind EU markets. Google dominates worldwide. You need to go through the Google network in order to market to those in countries besides the US. Search is a key marketing method to reach the working user. Overall search growth of 22.4% is driven by 25.3% increase in work audience. U.S. search and share trends have fluctuated in several areas. Recently there have been a flat amount of growth in certain areas. Reason, each search engine comes out with the same thing (desktop search, etc..) Branding is going to take a critical role in which search engine they use. He gives the example of William Jung and Ask Jeeves. Obviously we all saw this commercial. He goes on to say that search engines each have its strengths.

Local search trends, there is a conservative view of local web search suggests huge opportunities exist for marketers. Why are people searching locally? For the vast majority of the time, its searching in the area that they live, nearly 60% of local searches are for this reason. He mentions that searchers want a convenient and integrated experience. There are some reason why you might want to use a toolbar. Trial is strong � 58% of searchers have installed a toolbar. 12% of these users have uninstalled the toolbar. There is also a group that don�t even use the toolbar at all. Heavy users dominate search. There are 20% of users contribute 68% of the volume of search daily. There is the 20/30/50 rule. That 20% of searchers (meaning actual people) take up 68 percent of searches. 30% take up 24% of searches, and 50% of searchers only take up 8% of the searches. Meaning more sophisticated users do more searching and more frequently.

He next asks what users think is more important for a search engine to consider? Privacy ranks the highest as most important. When asked what would make them switch search engines? A large amount said they would switch if the relevancy is better. Jason mentions that with no barrier to switching, all search engines are vulnerable to something better or more convenient. Switching is very common and easy to do on the internet. Some 52% of Google searches are conducted on other places besides the Google site. It still contains a wide open market, and something can change.

He repeats that 85% of online purchase conversion occurs in subsequent user sessions. Consumers have a long buyer cycle, with a great deal of conversion occurring after week 4. He says this presentation is not online as the data is very valuable. I was impressed with the data and the level of coverage. If you are reading this, consider yourself privileged.

Next up was Bill Tracer from Hitwise. He wants to talk and give an overview of search landscape. On to the data, he put up a graph of the market share of the search engines against all internet sites. He talks about stats that pertain to search volume. Search volume indicates that Google is currently driving 55.5% of all U.S. search traffic. Bill next presents some click stream data, particularly the upstream traffic. The data shows that there is a clear difference between Google and Yahoo/MSN Search. Both Yahoo and MSN search benefit from portal parents. Could origination of visits explain difference in search yield (i.e. convenience search v. search mission). He mentions something called the �Mom Factor� He gives the example of his mom, and how she will go to MSN and type in in the search bar. He then tells her she can do this in the url bar, and save the time. He asks why she did this, and she answers the internet is a big scary place. I guess you have to be here to get the joke.

He mentions psychographics of local search. Psychographic analysis of visitors to local search reveals differences between Google Local and Yahoo local search. Google Local: a slight skew to smaller second-tier cities. He then goes on to mention desktop search versus main search engine reveals a skew towards mature users. Yahoo Desktop search demonstrates the strongest skew in segments M1 and M3 (being the level of age and maturity). He mentions that older (50+) use desktop search more often. Reason: Older people loose things more often.

Next up was the Kenneth Cassar from Nielsen/ Net Ratings. He starts off by saying that innovation is not an option. He wants to imply that innovation is imperative. Covered in this session there will be the state of the competitive market in the search space. Where is tomorrow�s growth in search supply going to come from. Google continues to enjoy dominance in the search marketing share. Google takes up 47% of the market. So what about searchers? Google covers 28.7 million searches, Yahoo 13.7 million, and MSN 12.2 million searches. He then overlaps the charts and shows that there are a lot of overlapping between the various engines. One person might both use Google and Yahoo. I completely agree with this assessment. Why not use more than one? Example is that Google and Yahoo share 18.3 million searches. In the total universe of daily searches is 102 million between the three main players. So where will tomorrows growth in search supply come from? I am enjoying Kenneth�s presentation, very well organized and clear. He describes how they looked back two years. Even though the markets has grown 100% each year, the amount of pages being added hasn�t been as much. These are interesting statistics, and very good for search marketers to hear. The online audience has been entirely responsible for the new growth year to year. A look back in history. There has also been historical threats of supply storage, innovation will create new supply. There are various segments for incremental growth. They are: advertising, new kinds of advertisers, and local search. New advertisers that are brought in the search fold. There are a several significant groups of advertisers have not yet embraced search advertising. Local he says is one of the single best opportunities. Innovation is clear, Yahoo has developed many new innovations on this front. is an example. He says that local search opportunity is a nascent one.


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