The analytics firm comScore is expanding its core search metrics product, qSearch, in a number of ways that the company says will make the measurement of search volumes and market share more accurate than it was previously. According to James Lamberti, SVP Search and Media at comScore, the expansion of the company’s methodology and measurement capabilities is both within the U.S. market and globally.
“This is the next generation of measurement for us, improving and expanding what we’re doing today.” says Lamberti. “We were never getting a good read on hosted search and affiliate (network) activity. Now we’ll be getting branded SERPs on third party sites.”
Beyond capturing “network search,” qSearch will continue to measure toolbar queries and local/Internet yellow pages search, in addition to core search metrics at the major engines.
According to Lamberti, “qSearch 2.0″ will now be much more comprehensive. In addition to the expanded scope described above, comScore will be counting “tabbed” searches as independent queries. When someone uses the same query and clicks another “vertical” (cross-channel) tab above a search box that will be counted as separate search. The company will also be tracking search behavior at eBay, MySpace, Wikipedia and Amazon, although qSearch will continue to concentrate on the major search engines.
Lamberti says that comScore will be using the new methodology in the forthcoming July search and market share numbers, as well as offering a retrospective Y/Y comparison using the revised approach (see below). There may also be some controversy because Google will be the apparent main beneficiary, given its larger third party network than its competitors.
comScore will also now provide a worldwide set of search volumes, representing data from 162 countries in the aggregate. The company will provide more specific data on 32 countries individually. The data are collected from approximately two million panelists globally, one million of which are based in the U.S.
After I had written the post above, I received an embargoed copy of the announcement. So rather than revise the post in its entirety, I’m going to quote and excerpt from the release. Here is comScore’s verbatim explanation of the expanded scope of what it’s measuring:
comScore’s qSearch 2.0 interface will provide clients with an in-depth view of the search universe in the U.S. and worldwide that encompasses:
As before, share will be determined using the five major search engines (Google Sites, Yahoo! Sites, Microsoft Sites, Ask Network and Time Warner Network) but will now include the partner searches and cross-channel searches in the total for each property. To keep this metric consistent with past reporting, searches for mapping, local directory, and user-generated video sites that are not on the core domain of the five search engines will not be included in the “core search” numbers.