Thursday, March 5, 2009

US Search Market Share Stabilizing

MARCH 5, 2009

Has Google really stopped growing?

According to Compete, Google lost a small percentage of the overall share of online searches in the US. The loss was absorbed by Yahoo!, and AOL, all of which grew slightly.

For the past six months, Google’s search share has remained at 70%.

comScore data shows a similar trend. While the firm sees a different overall share of the search market, the top sites’ shares have remained mostly unchanged over the past six months.

Barring a merger, the US search market is not expected to change for the foreseeable future.

What does that mean for the search market, and marketers?

“That Google’s share of total US search queries seems to be stabilizing in the 60% to 70% range—depending on the source—seems like a bigger roadblock to growth than it is,” said David Hallerman, senior analyst at eMarketer.

“First off, query count alone only partially contributes to search engine revenues. More important is the engine’s ability to place relevant sponsored-link ads in search results—and Google is still the champ at that game.

“Secondly, the growth of total search queries is astounding. By some estimates, US Internet users will enter 21 billion more queries in 2010 than this year. So there are still increasing opportunities to monetize search results.”

Mr. Hallerman continued, “From the marketer’s point of view, however, stabilized search share growth is likely a good thing. The more that Google has healthy competition from Yahoo!, MSN and—to name just three—the more that marketers have options in creating viable search campaigns.”

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