Sunday, January 28, 2007

Search Engine Share

I was reading something about the most recent Microsoft results, which managed to point out that Microsoft has lost market share in the last year, despite their well publicised launch of search services. This was an American article, so I thought I'd have a quick peek at how they've been doing.

If we look at the current performance in terms of unique users, they're not doing too badly. This is based on the Windows live search page, and compares their growth vs Google and Yahoo. The scale is relative to the average over 2006 - couldn't get Swivel to index it relative to the beginning.
Unique User Growth in 2006 (Relative Scale)

When you look at the absolute numbers, the performance isn't too bad either:
Search Engine Reach of UK Internet Users

However, once you look at this by page impressions (or number of visits), you see that Microsoft have completely failed to make any sort of dent into Google. It's quite scary when you look at it. Google is in green at the top, MSN and Yahoo are lurking at the bottom.
Yahoo vs. Google vs. MSN

The differentials in the share of page impressions swing to hit them even harder once you look at revenue. My own experience is that Google sends through people who are slightly more likely to buy. This means we are willing to pay slightly more for their adverts.
This extra margin means that Google are making around ten times more than their nearest competitor. This is a mark that would usually attract the interest of a regulator in any other industry. However, this dominance has been achieved by having a better product.
We'll have to wait and see what Yahoo! manages to do with their new system, 'Panama', which will be launching in the UK later this year. They'll need some good luck too.

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