This morning comScore released data and analysis that compares search share, searcher penetration and loyalty at the combined Microsoft-Yahoo property vs. Google. While Google has a much higher share of the number of searches conducted in the US in a given month, the searcher “penetration” for MicroHoo is almost that of Google.
The chart immediately below shows Google with 65 percent of the search volume in the US. It also shows that 84 percent of search users are on Google. However 73.3 percent of the search user population are on Yahoo and Microsoft, when the two are combined.
The data in the table below, according to comScore, are reflective of search engine user loyalty:
[T]hose who searched on Google had the highest loyalty rate, with 68.9 percent of all their searches occurring on Google Sites. Users of the engines at the combined Yahoo! and Microsoft Sites conducted 32.6 percent of their searches on the combined Yahoo! and Microsoft Sites, but a much higher 60.7 percent of their searches on Google Sites.
These data, again, reflect that while lots of people use Yahoo and Microsoft’s search engines most searching happens on Google. The “loyalty” issue raises the question of whether people are just using Google out of “habit” or because they have a positive relationship with the Google brand and affirmatively favor it.
The new conventional wisdom is that people simply use Google because they’re familiar with it and have become habituated to using it. But I suspect that explanation doesn’t really capture what’s going on. Here’s an earlier post on the subject of search satisfaction, brand strength and loyalty.