Searchscape: Latest Stats About The Search Engines

Feb 26, 2008 - 5:14 pm 2 by
Filed Under SMX West 2008

Moderator: Danny Sullivan, Editor-in-Chief, Search Engine Land Q&A Moderator: Fionn Downhill, CEO and President, Elixir Systems

Gregg Poulin, General Manager,, Compete Inc. is up first. He starts off about the long tail and search is the quintessential long tail. 8 billion search queries on the web and only 5.2 billion search referrals. Everyone is chasing Google for the share. Yahoo lost 25% market share over the last year.

Google is for men, Ask and Microsoft more for women and Yahoo seems to me in the middle.

Searchers don't care about market share - typically a searcher will complete their search on the search engine they started with. Search is more than direct response, 62% of search activity is related to purchase.

A searcher's focus changes over time.

SEMs need to be in more places at one time, not just Google. Know your customers and how they use the search engines. Say the right thing at the right time.

Jon Stewart, Research Director, Technology & Search, Nielsen Online is next up. He looks at search through the searcher's perspective.

Search Growth vs. Internet Growth: - The size of both the search universe and digital media universe show modest growth - Search query volume has outpaced all internet page views, drawing 13% over the last year compared to 10% of overall digital media

Searcher Demographics: - A larger percentage of the older audience searches but young people search more heavily.

The Elite Quintile: - Top 20% of searchers ranked by search volume - Average searches per person (top 20% do 128 and lower 80% do 16 searches) - Average number of search engines used (top 20% 2.3 and lower 80% 1.5) - Gender (top 20% male 51% and female 49% :: Lower 80% make 45% and female 55%)

The Accidental people are those who search twice or less during a month. Gender is pretty much split here.

Searchers are more valuable: People who used search to navigate to a retailer at least once on average spent 25% more. They also have a 4% higher rate of conversion.

Nielsen's View of US Search Market Share: - Google 57% - Skipped rest of slides

Searcher Overlap: - 42% of Google users are loyal to Google, but 24% of Googler's use Yahoo, 10% use Live and 9% use both Google Yahoo and Live - 10% of Yahoo users are loyal - 2% of Live users are loyal

Loyalty Indicators: - Heavy searchers are not loyal at all, 33% of them are using five or more brands in a month - Normal searchers 37% of them are only using one engine, 10% are using five - The majority of Google searchers are using Google as their primary (77%), 46% Yahoo, 38% f Live and 25 Ask and 58% AOL - Repeat searchers: Google is retaining a lot of their searchers over time compared to others

Drivers of Search: - Default home page settings: There is a high degree of overlap between home page setting and search volume on Yahoo. Over half of all searchers are generated by people with a Yahoo brand home page setting. Default home page does not play a large role in whether a person uses that engine as their primary one. Yahoo is the exception with 49% of their primary users having the Yahoo home page setting. - Default / auto search: Default search does not play a significant role in driving search volume. Google is the exception with nearly half of their searches generated by people with Google set as their search provider. Google and Yahoo make the best use of the default search. 44% and 26% of their respective primary users have the same branded auto search setting.

James of comScore, Inc. is now up. Market is maturing. Dominance is regional. Intense users lift marketing. Search engine volume does not link up with search engine revenue. Those are the key points.

US Search Market up 8% vs. December 2007. Total US searches for all properties at 14.6 billion, up 28% versus January 2007. January returns market to pre holiday levels, following seasonal swoon. Driving growth includes more people searching and more people searching more often. Three fourths of US search market growth driven searcher intensity increases of 20%. An increasing searcher base, up 7% versus January 2007. Searchers are making more search visits while searches per visit are holding steady. Search growth being driven by heavy users. Heavy users are getting heavier as time goes on, up 23% this year.

Google is up 53%. All of the top 5 search engines with the exception of Yahoo showing search volume increases vs January 2007. Google is up over 50% versus last year. Google, is by design, committing to the user and taking a hit on ad revenue - so they are gaining massive share by doing this in the short term.

Sizable search volume comes from outside the search engines. eBay is the largest with 467 million searches in January.

72 billion searches conducted worldwide in January 2008. There is a huge amount of potential for "international search pollution." He then shows stats by local country search engine - too much to blog. But Google does dominate globally.

Micro-Hoo vs. Google - Google will still be twice the size compared to Microsoft and Yahoo together - Microsoft further extends Yahoo's sizable lead in Japan - Little is gained in Brazil

Searchers increasingly use new methods to conduct searches - 11 percent from toolbars - 6% from address bar - 2% from affiliate sites

Ask gets a ton from toolbars

Toolbar searchers are more loyal and engaged.

qSearch Click: - Paid search coverage strategies differ -- Yahoo and AOL show increases in coverage vs. Jan 08 -- Google and MSN have lowered coverage rates by 4 to 12 points respectively -- Google is by designing pulling back on coverage and committing to the user

- Total Clicks Growth -- Overall click growth of 18% being driven by organic click increase of 19% year over year - Paid is 18% - Holiday season drives Q4 paid search increases with Ask seeing the biggest Q/Q increase of 36% - Google reported paid click growth of 9 percent Q/Q aligning closely with comScore's 8 percent growth Q/Q - We see fewer ads on Google - All engines reported paid click growth in Q4 versus Q3 2007

Bill Tancer, General Manager, Global Research, Hitwise is last up. A vanity search on Bill Tancer on Yahoo returned an ad named "Tired of Bill Tancer" and linked to So he is freshening up his presentation because of it. Funny...

Google has 66%, Yahoo 21%, Live 7%, Ask 4$ and others have 2% - data as of February 23, 2008. Google continues to increase in market share, Yahoo search slight decline, Microsoft decline and Ask increased.

Microsoft and Yahoo news broke and everyone wanted to talk about search. But what about the actual destinations and properties. Bill first thought about all of Yahoo's number one properties.

Search, clicks and recessions. The recent news about a recession based on click data - he thought it is crazy. If paid search decline is a sign of recession than search referrals to e-commerce sites would decline, but his Hitwise data did not show that. Tancer said, there is no recession based on Google data. He plotted click stream from Google to shopping sites year over year and it showed we are up.

He then showed Roger's Adoption Curve. Bill showed it took six weeks for YouTube to dominate the space. There was an adoption curve there, early on. Bill looked at YouTube type of sites and rolled their data back to before the sites were popular and looked at the data. He found that innovators, early adopters and early majority were the majority of people involved prior to the sites going popular. So they looked at what are these people doing today, where are they searching?

They are looking at Yahoo, Clusty, SniperPoint, Zvents, Chiff and Mahalo.

Consumer Demand Trends: - Kicking it old school, human-reviewed content (Mahalo) - Universal search result format - Deeper local content - Natural language search - Meta crawlers still popular - Personalization


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