Nielsen: Google Continues High But Others Rise In Share

Continuing from previous search stats from Hitwise, Compete, and comScore, Nielsen Online is now out (PDF file) with search engine share figures in the United States for March 2008. Similar to Hitwise and comScore, Google remains at a high but unlike some of the others, Microsoft and Yahoo come off lows. Searches that happened on […]

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NetRatings Search Share: March 2008

Continuing from previous search stats from Hitwise, Compete,
and comScore,
Nielsen Online is
now
out
(PDF file) with search engine share figures in
the United States for March 2008. Similar to Hitwise and comScore, Google
remains at a high but unlike some of the others, Microsoft and Yahoo come off
lows.

Searches that happened on the five top search engines in the pie chart above:

  • Google: 58.7%
  • Yahoo: 18.1%
  • Microsoft: 12.0%
  • AOL: 4.1%
  • Ask: 2.4%

Note that in the chart above, traffic from Ask.com-owned
My Web Search is not combined by Nielsen
with the Ask figure. If it were, the Ask figure would rise to 3.3 percent.

The trend over time? Here’s data going back to November 2007 (data from
previous periods doesn’t compare because Nielsen
changed its methodology):


NetRatings Search Share: March 2008

Google matched the high it set in the previous month, hitting 58.7% once
again. Yahoo had a high of 19% in January, then dipped to 17.6% the next month,
but for March, it came up to the 18.1% mark. Microsoft hit its lowest point over
the period in February, 11.2%, but then came up to 12% in March.

How about number of searches versus market share?

  • Google: 4.8 billion
  • Yahoo: 1.5 billion
  • Microsoft: 1 billion
  • AOL: 334 million
  • Ask: 200 million

The trend:


NetRatings Search Share: March 2008

As you can see, while Google maintained the same overall share, in terms of
actual number of searches, it had a large rise. Yahoo and Microsoft also saw
gains.

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.

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About the author

Danny Sullivan
Contributor
Danny Sullivan was a journalist and analyst who covered the digital and search marketing space from 1996 through 2017. He was also a cofounder of Third Door Media, which publishes Search Engine Land and MarTech, and produces the SMX: Search Marketing Expo and MarTech events. He retired from journalism and Third Door Media in June 2017. You can learn more about him on his personal site & blog He can also be found on Facebook and Twitter.

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