Compete: Yes, Google Hits New Search Share High

Compete April 2008 Search Share

Compete makes it a quadfecta! No real surprise, the latest search engine share stats out from Compete show Google has hit a new high — just as did previous stats out this month from Hitwise, Nielsen and comScore. Plus, an interesting look at how much search traffic Microsoft’s Live Search Club generates.


Here’s the rundown for April 2008:

  • Google: 68.9%
  • Yahoo: 14.8%
  • Microsoft: 8.2%
  • Ask: 3.5%
  • Live Search Club: 2.8
  • AOL: 1.4

Whoa! What’s Live Search Club? Microsoft On Search Gains & Live Search Club covers this program that allows people to win prizes for searching and how it spiked up Microsoft’s traffic after it was launched — plus the debate over whether these are "real" searches. That debate caused Compete to exclude them from its monthly figures.

Now Compete has added them back in and broken them out, so everyone can see how much they contribute. I’ll be revisiting this more in the future. But first, let’s look at the trend over time. Here’s the past year’s worth of data:

Compete April 2007-April 2008 Search Share

Google, as said, hits a new high. Yahoo sees a slight rise for the first time in months. Microsoft remains pretty much flat.

Now look at this:

Compete April 2007-April 2008 Search Share

That’s the percentage of search share happening on Microsoft’s regular search sites versus through Live Search Club.

Now in both Indiana Jones Search: Indy Meets Microsoft Live Search and Hey Microsoft: Bribing Searchers Is Fine; Frustrating Them Is Not!, I’ve covered how Microsoft claims the gaming programs do indeed generate loyal, regular users. Yet in the chart above, after the spikes in June and July 2007, the program doesn’t appear to have helped with general search share at all. It stays flat, even later in the year when Live Search Club’s own share rises.

I talked with Microsoft a little bit about this oddity yesterday. They explained that the percentage of regular users generated out of the program is very tiny — not enough to boost regular share. But they also said that the lessons learned about building loyalty will be helpful for the more mainstream loyalty program they have launched as part of Live Search Cashback. We’ll see!

Normally I’d also show the number of searches on each service, in addition to market share. However, Compete has revised all of its figures to include Live Search, so I don’t have the data quickly at hand to do a trend chart. Next time.

Caveat Time!

As a reminder, my general rules when evaluating popularity stats:

  • Avoid drawing conclusions based on month-to-month comparisons. Lots of things can cause one month’s figures to be incomparable to another month. It’s better to see the trend across multiple months in a row.
  • Avoid drawing conclusions based on one ratings service’s figures. Each service has a unique methodology used to create popularity estimates. This means that ratings will rarely be the same between services. However, a trend that you see reflected across two or more services may give you faith in trusting that trend.
  • Consider Actual Number Of Searches: While share for a particular search engine might drop, the raw number of searches might still be going up (and thus they might be earning more money, despite a share drop). This is because the "pie" of searches keeps growing, so even a smaller slice of the pie might be more than a bigger slice in the past.

Related Topics: Channel: Strategy | Stats: Compete | Stats: Popularity


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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