Is Google’s Search Market Share Actually Dropping?
In a followup to his 2014 survey, contributor Eli Schwartz shares his data on search engine market share and looks at how it's changing over time.
Last year, I conducted a comprehensive survey to discover the search engine preferences of internet users and learn who truly dominates the search market.
All of the current search engine market share reporting entities (comScore, Hitwise, SimilarWeb and others) utilize technology-based tracking, and I wanted to see if a survey panel-based approach would yield the same results.
What I discovered was only somewhat surprising. My results, placing Google at the top with 80 percent of the market, differed significantly from comScore’s 67 percent; but my findings were in line with most of the Google Analytics accounts I had seen, which show Google generating between 80 percent and 90 percent of all organic visits. Last year, I was at a loss to explain the discrepancy between my survey data and comScore’s data, but I chalked it up to how demographics might be weighted in comScore’s panel.
Nonetheless, even if comScore’s methods might be undercounting Google, they should accurately follow directional shifts.
In October 2014, comScore reported that Google had 67.3 percent of the market, Bing (called Microsoft Sites) had 19.4 percent, and Yahoo had 10 percent. In October 2015, comScore reported that Google dropped to 63.9 percent, Bing rose to 20.7 percent, and Yahoo jumped to 12.7 percent. While Google only dropped a few percentage points, Yahoo’s jump is a pretty substantial 20-percent increase in market share.
In the 2013 comScore report, Google’s market share was 66.9 percent; in 2012, it was 66.7 percent, and in 2011, it was 65.3 percent. At least according to comScore, 2015 marks Google’s market share at its lowest point in five years. (Incidentally, it is Yahoo’s best year in the same time frame.) If accurate, the change in market share could indicate that some big changes are afoot in regard to Google’s dominance of the search world.