The Search Engine Landscape

May 5, 2005 - 11:43 am 0 by
Filed Under SES Toronto 2005

Stephen Evan from MSN Search Canada is up first. He has two main objectives to show you how MSN search views global search and challenges. Search is a vibrant, competitive arena (two major competitors doing a good job), the landscape evolving quickly, much more opportunity in the landscape. MSN is in search because there is a customer need, merchant need, growing category, company-wide focus. He said if you look at the total documents out there versus what is indexed, its a tiny fraction. He said merchants love it because it has a huge ROI, MSN thinks they can help their merchants, since MSN is an online adverting company. Microsoft, company wide, with all its company wide products must be able to tell you that you can find your stuff across all of the products. Plus the growth is exciting for MSN. Search is a growth opportunity, he put up some slides about worldwide growth, canadian, and the estimates search industry. He said there is no winner take all scenario in search. Canadians are the 2nd most active searches in the world (UK is #1). Searching is paramount among youth 12 - 17. However, only 54% of consumers found search engines easy to use. 4.8M uncommitted Canadian searches. Many people are not loyal when it comes to search. The switching costs is very low, take a look at altavista and lycos. Where search falls short? (1) Delivering links but not answers (like ask jeeves), on average it took 11 minutes to find the answer this way. (2) Only 50% of complex queries go unanswered. (3) Not understanding user intent (apple, saturn). (4) Lack of user control (personalization). (5) Limited scope (need to index more types of content). What;s new with MSN Search; Microsoft built algorithmic search engine; canadian input into algorithms, relevancy testing in english and french markets in canada. New user experience, better results, convenient, better results and new features. MSN Search Strategy: Better answers - faster, broader selection (fresh), integrated user experience (computing business), platform for innovation (enabling 3rd party ecosystem). New MSN Search Service: Better, more relevant results (5 billion documents, new algorithm and instant answers with encarata, music, images, news and so on). More control (search near me, search builder, category search). Beyond the Web (multiple access points with office, messenger, toolbar, PC search and EMail search).

Next up was Jay McCarthy from WebSiteStory. They aggregated data from the millions of visitors we see through customers of our web analytics services, since 1999, with 37+ million visitors per day and 22+ million are US, and its all passively collected not influenced by panel. US Stats: How are users getting to sites on the web? Google, Yahoo, MSN. But MSN dropped a bit, due to Google rise in share (more on that later). Search engine referral and direct navigation have similar trends. Internet links and search referral have crossed over, no longer do people get to sites with links, but now they use search, its not a web anymore. New MSN search hasn't stopped the decline, he thinks MSN is declining because of lack of a whacky name, even after all the new features MSN came out with. In addition, MSN has strong dips in traffic on the weekends - so msn is more business oriented. Canadian Rankings: Google 65% then Yahoo and so on. Google is much stronger globally then in North America. Yahoo! Japan is huge (40%) but Google is not doing so bad, Yahoo is dropping 4.21% and Google is rising in market share over the years in Japan. China, Google is 57% and Baidu is 31%, then Yahoo at 8.25%, MSN then after (not know percentage, couldn't type that fast).

Bryan Segal from comScore qSearch. comScore is a panel based metric service, passively measured. They measure everything search related (organic, paid, and so on). 13.1 million canadians searched in Feb 2005, searching an average 39 times each. In terms of online ad dollars, Canada is 3.3%, compared to US at 6.8%. Search now consumes 40.8% of all online ad spend. Google has 60% share in Canada, MSN 17%, Yahoo! 16% and Ask at 4%. this has changed recently, where they saw Google share move to MSN's share (contradicting the other presenter). Searchers per day are higher on Google per search then the others. Searcher penetration (searchers/searches), Google 68.8%, Yahoo 37.1% and MSN 49.9%. US Search Seasonality, search likely the "anchor" of Internet use. Internet usage dips on seasons, as well as dollar spend but internet searches remains flat throughout all of the dips. Growth in Toolbar searches, a 136% growth in US, 58% installed a toolbar, and 12% uninstalled. Heavy users dominate search, 20% of users contribute 68% of volume. Searches are online buyers, non searchers are non buyers. 61% of consumers are aware of search based ads. Relevancy remains the main motivation switching search engines. People are willing to switch to a more "relevant search engine", and less ads. 92% of all purchased offline, 7% happen in a later session and 1% happen in same session. 85% of all search transactions are latent.


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