Microsoft and Yahoo need to convert casual searchers to full-time users if they wish to take search engine market share from giant Google, according to comScore. This could be problematic because Google boasts such a high loyalty score compared with Microsoft and Yahoo. Can these challengers offer a superior search experience to Google, or at least integrate search tightly into their applications to gain market share?
If Microsoft and Yahoo are to take chunks of Google's 65 percent search
engine market share, they will need to convert some of the so-called lighter
searchers that visit their sites once a month to full-time status, according to
market research firm comScore.
Microsoft and Yahoo July 29 announced
a 10-year search and search advertising deal in
which Microsoft would serve as the back end of Yahoo's search and pay it the
bulk of the revenues per search query. If the deal measures up to regulatory
scrutiny in 2010, Microsoft and Yahoo would account for a combined 28 percent
of the search market.
While this is still less than half of Google's total, new research from
comScore shows that Microsoft and Yahoo boast a search penetration rate of
73.3, with some users dabbling in Microsoft Bing and Yahoo search once a month.
However, dabbling may be all most users are doing; searchers on Google
conducted 54.5 searches on average in a month, compared with searchers on Yahoo
and Microsoft, which logged 26.9 searches on average per month. See comScore's data charts here
"The challenge will be to create a search experience compelling enough
to convert lighter searchers into regular searchers, which is generally easier
than converting new users," said comScore Search Evangelist Eli Goodman in
a statement. "Though clearly easier said than done, if they were to
equalize the number of searches per searcher with Google they would command
more than 40 percent market share."
However, this optimistic scenario is tempered by comScore's analysis of
search loyalty among users of Google, Bing and Yahoo.
Users conducted only 32.6 percent of their searches on the combined Yahoo
and Microsoft sites, compared with 60.7 percent of their searches on Google sites.
Google users notched
the highest loyalty rate, with 68.9 percent of all
their searches occurring on Google sites.
How might Microsoft and Yahoo break Google's search stranglehold? Enquiro
Search Solutions President and CEO Gord
Hotchkiss noted that most users' choice of search engines is subconscious and
that Microsoft and Yahoo would have to unleash something disruptive to break
the near-universal "Google habit."
"A significantly differentiated and superior search experience would be
such a reason. The other option is to continue to interrupt consistently
'upstream,' by integrating search tightly into their properties or applications
so that people don't have to go to the effort-minimal though it is-to go to
Google to launch their search."
In an alternative scenario, eWEEK has compiled a list of ways the Microhoo
combination could backfire
to benefit Google. eWEEK has also looked at how
users could revolt against Google to pick Bing
Read more about this Google versus Microsoft and Yahoo topic on TechMeme here