Search Landscape

From SES NYC 2005 | Return to Table of Contents

Search Landscape primarily discusses many of the statistics and figures surrounding the search engine world. Presenters are talking mostly about reach and behavior of the different users of the major search engines.


James Lamberti, who runs the search group for Comscore, is up first. He discusses how Comscore’s Q search model (which is mentioned in several sessions) is used. The Qsearch is a Nielsen-like monitoring software that is on 1.5 million users’ computers around the world (primarily North America). The software collects all search and browsing activity (including conversions) for each of the users. James notes some interesting figures about their users:

  • US – Has the lowest # of searches per searcher in the world
  • US – Google has 36% of searches, Yahoo! Has 29% (seems off)
  • Worldwide – Google has 60%+ of all searches
  • Workplace – The highest conversion area (not home or school)
  • MSN – Strong in the workplace (with 19% share)
  • 60% of searchers did a local search in the last 30 days
  • 18% of searches are performed through the toolbar
  • 58% of searchers installed pop-up blocking with their toolbar
  • 20% of the heaviest searchers contribute 68% of the search volume, these searchers are less likely to use paid search (click on PPC ads) than other users
  • In brand satisfaction – MSN is the lowest @ 76%, Google 89%+ (all pretty high)
  • The top motivator to switch is relevancy – consumers are not displaying loyalty
  • 2/3 of the time – consumers use 2+ engines over a 1 month period
  • Of conversions – 85% of all transactions latent – occur after last search session
  • 92% went into a store after online research and made a purchase (wow!)

Nielsen NetRatings’ Ken Cassar is up next. He first discusses a Vividence/Keynote study on usability and relevance. The study shows some great facts & figures:

  • Share of searches (every company shows different numbers)
  • Google – 47%; 29.7% are exclusive; 42% of Google’s users are loyal
  • Yahoo! – 21%; 13.7% are exclusive; 29% of Yahoo’s users are loyal
  • MSN – 13%; 12.2% are exclusive; 30% of MSN’s users are loyal
  • AOL – 5%
  • Other – 14%

Ken says that since “searchers try out multiple engines, relevancy/better technology is likely to pull loyalty to an existing or new player”. He also talks about growth, predicting that search marketing is likely to grow 100% year over year (in terms of number of advertisers). Ken notes that 66% of the user base in the US is online and 75% of the potential searchers are online, so future growth must come primarily from more activity per searcher. Some opportunities he identifies are few advertisers (in untouched markets), local search (says this is the biggest single opportunity) and a high probability of change in the future. Ken says that search is more or less an “established market” (which made me raise my eyebrows).

He also has some recommendations for marketers. First and foremost, he recommends very long (60+ day) cookie drops to ensure that you are really noting the true ROI (as repeat and type-in business is often unrecognized). He says marketers also need to take a long, hard look at their conversion calculators and measuring systems, as he thinks ROI is not being well taken into account by most advertisers. He has a recommendation for MSN too – get better ads. The MSN ads got the lowest visits compared to the other online advertisers during the SuperBowl – that’s an ad agency that needs to go.