Bing Users Are From Internet Explorer; Google Users From Firefox, Chrome & Safari

While almost 75% of Bing visitors in North America use Internet Explorer, only about 40% of Google’s search visitors use the web’s most popular browser. Instead, Google deals with Firefox, Apple’s Safari and Google’s own Chrome browser cause those to combine and outdistance IE usage.

Internet Explorer Is Big On Bing

The figures come from a new report by Chitika, which analyzed a week’s worth of traffic across its ad network sites from July 20 to 26, 2011, for North America. Chitika says almost 75% of all Bing search traffic comes from IE users:


Our internal stats here at Search Engine Land confirm what Chitika’s data shows about the strength of Bing usage among IE users.

We went all the way back to the start of the year to see browser usage among both Bing. Our numbers show an even higher percentage of Bing traffic coming from IE users — almost 77%:


For IE, Computer Maker Set Default Choice

While you might think that Bing does well because it’s automatically the default choice in Microsoft’s Internet Explorer, that’s not the case. Computer manufacturers themselves generally set the default on new computers.

Google had been very aggressive on this front buying default positioning until around 2008. After that, Microsoft led such deals. The article below explains more:

If you upgrade your computer, I believe that Internet Explorer 9 will use whatever settings you currently have. That’s how Internet Explorer 8 has worked:

Benchmarking Internet Explorer

How’s the 75% Internet Explorer usage that Chitika found compare to usage overall? Here’s the breakdown for all traffic use:

As you can see, Internet Explorer has a 52% overall usage. That means the 75% usage by Bing visitors is well above normal. Those deals Microsoft has been cutting are paying off.

Google: Home To The “Alternative” Browsers

That leads to Google? What’s the situation there?

Overall, Internet Explorer is only used by about 40% of visitors to Google Search. After that, Firefox just barely leads Chrome as the most popular browser, 20.3% to 20.1%. Safari is just behind at 19%.

On Search Engine Land, we see a different view. Firefox is actually the leading browser used by people who find us through Google Searcho at 34%, followed by Internet Explorer at 30%, Chrome at 26% and Safari at 10%:


Google has deals with both Firefox and Apple to be the default choice in those browsers. Those deals and arrangements are clearly working well to give Google independence from any lockout the company has long-feared might happen (but never has) in Internet Explorer.

Here’s some more background on all of this:

In Chrome, Google is the default choice, but only on a new computer that hasn’t already got a browser with a default search engine. If you install Chrome on an existing computer, it will honor whatever your current default is, though it asks for this to be reconfirmed. This is a past article about this, and I believe the situation hasn’t changed:

    Matt McGee contributed to this report.

    Related Topics: Channel: Strategy | Features: Analysis | Google: Chrome | Microsoft: Bing | Microsoft: Internet Explorer | Stats: Popularity | Top News


    About The Author: is a Founding Editor of Search Engine Land. He’s a widely cited authority on search engines and search marketing issues who has covered the space since 1996. Danny also serves as Chief Content Officer for Third Door Media, which publishes Search Engine Land and produces the SMX: Search Marketing Expo conference series. He has a personal blog called Daggle (and keeps his disclosures page there). He can be found on Facebook, Google + and microblogs on Twitter as @dannysullivan.

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    • PCE

      Unfortunately I have to use Explorer at work. First thing I do is change the default search to Bing. One annoying thing, is everytime we update our computers, Microsoft changes our homepage to on Explorer. Still on 8 here.

    • Stupidscript

      Danny, far be it from me to question your data analysis, however I wish to point out what seems like a mis-calculation.

      Chitika found (among its users) a 52% MSIE adoption rate.

      Chitika also found (among its users) that 75% of Bing searchers used MSIE.

      The way I figure it … the 52% of web users who employ MSIE are doing 75% of the searches on Bing.

      You describe the 75% figure as being, “well above normal”, when you compared it to the 52% figure, which is an invalid comparison.

      One figure (75%) is users of Chitika’s services who surf Bing, and the other (52%) is Chitika users of the web, in general.

      There is no denying, though, that there are big differences between Bing and Google users. We have seen many in the way people search Bing when compared to Google, both in the terms used and in their intentions and responses to different messaging. It’s really two different societies. Thanks for the reminder!

    • Ken Saunders

      I’m curious about what a comparison would look like before Bing was added to Firefox by default (4.0) and since then for both Google and Bing.

      That alone might make an interesting article.

    • Maria

      And to add to the competition, Microsoft is making it more and more difficult to add Google as default in IE. Not that you can’t do it, but to search, find and add Google is not straightforward although you can add Google search to ie directly from the plugin page.

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