That rise in Microsoft’s search share that Compete reported last week? Now the latest figures from comScore report the same — that Microsoft’s Live Search Club significantly increased traffic to Windows Live Search.
First the numbers, which shows the percentage of searches in the United States handled by each major search network for June 2007, according to comScore:
- Google Network: 49.5%, down from 50.7% in May 2007
- Yahoo Network: 25.1%, down from 26.4%
- Microsoft Network: 13.2%, up from 10.3%
- Ask.com Network: 5.0%, no change
- AOL (Time Warner) Network: 4.2%, down from 4.6%
Now the trend over the past year:
Microsoft, after months of gradual decline, saw an increase from 10.3 percent in May 2007 to jump up 2.9 points to 13.2 percent. comScore says this was largely due to the Live Search Club promotion Microsoft has run, where people can win prizes for conducting searches.
Compete: Microsoft Gaining Searches; Live Search Club Giveaway Working? from me last week covers more about the club, which is proving a success despite such promotions not working that well in the past for other companies. The article also covers the rise in share seen by ratings service Compete.
After the Compete figures came out, Microsoft’s gain came under fire as being generated by automated queries. Both Compete and Microsoft denied this charge. Microsoft On Search Gains & Live Search Club from me goes into more depth about it, along with Microsoft saying that today’s comScore rise was expected. From what general manager of Window Live’s search business group, Brad Goldberg, told me for that story:
"When comScore comes out, we expect them to show a significant uptick in our share," he said. "In previous months, [gains] have been a tenth of a point or two tenths of a point," he explained. "The ballpark figure we expect is closer to two points."
FYI, Google’s Matt Cutts earlier raised the issue that Microsoft’s gain — which resulted in a Google drop — doesn’t indicate if the overall number of searches has gone up or down. I responded that this is a good point, and one I’ve addressed in the past.
comScore does report overall searches. They workout like this:
- Google Network: 4 billion searches, up from 3.6 in May 2007
- Yahoo Network: 2 billion searches, no change
- Microsoft Network: 1.1 billion searches, up from 757 million
- Ask.com Network: 403 million searches, up from 376 million
- AOL (Time Warner) Network: 341 million searches, down from 364 million
As you can see, despite Google’s share of searches falling, the raw number of searches went up. Indeed, 4 billion searches is the highest number of searches comScore has recorded for Google ever. Yahoo, while also down on a percentage basis, lost no actual searches. Microsoft had a huge gain in them, breaking the 1 billion mark for the first time. Ask broke 400 million for the first time, while AOL saw both a percentage drop and an actual drop.
How could Google and others get less of a slice of the pie but still have more searches? Simple — the pie itself got bigger in June 2007. In May 2007, comScore reported 7.3 billion searches. In June, those rose to 8 billion. June saw 700 million new searches happen, with Live Search responsible for only about 1/3 of those.