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Tuesday, February 7, 2023

comScore: Google Wins Again & IE7 Doesn't Stop Microsoft's Slide

It’s that time again — search popular stats for last month are coming out.
Actually, Hitwise sent me their figures earlier this month but I’m diving in
with the comScore figures that just
came out. The
main real news is despite the Internet Explorer 7 launch, Microsoft’s Live
continues to show a drop in usage.

First the figures for December 2006, the share of searches each search engine
is estimated to have handled for home, work and university users in the United
States each month:

  • Google: 47.3%
  • Yahoo: 28.5%
  • Microsoft: 10.5%
  • Ask: 5.4%
  • AOL/Time Warner: 4.9%

Now, I always look for the broad trends in these figures — what’s happened
over a range of months — to determine who is winning and losing. From what I’ve
written
before on the topic:

Look for long-term trends. You want to view stats for several months
in a row, not two isolated months compared to each other. Stats can and will
plunge from one month to the next for all types of reasons, not the least due
to a ratings service itself having some counting glitch. Similarly, comparing
back from one month to the same time the previous year might not reflect
counting changes that may have happened or been refined over that time. I want
a trend line — and a long one.

So let’s look at the trend chart:

comscore trendWith this perspective in place, let’s do winners and losers:

Winners

Google: Google hits a new record 47.3 percent share, as measured by comScore. That’s the highest share comScore has ever recorded for the service.
But hey, didn’t you remembering hearing something that Google had like a 70 or
80 percent share? Yes, depending on what stats you want to look at.
Google By Far The
Leader, If You Look At Site Owner Traffic Stats
from me last month explains
all about this.

Ask: Ask’s network continues to draw more search share than AOL. Ask’s
network (places like Excite,
iWon,
MyWay.com
and My Web Search, not
just Ask.com) overtook AOL for the first time back in September 2006. It has
stayed ahead in all the months since then.

Yahoo: Sure, Yahoo’s shown no real growth over the past year, staying
within the same general range. That’s a victory in the search wars, as I’ve
written
before:

When I’m looking at the figures, I’m watching to see if the [trend] line
moves through important bands. Again, see the NetRatings chart above. Every
fifth percent mark has a solid line. I’m less worried if Google goes up or
down between the 45 and 50 percent marks. I’m more interested if it breaks out
of that band in either direction for a long period of time.

That’s one reason why when comScore figures were ringing some alarms with
some analysts earlier this year, I felt pretty mellow about Yahoo. In the
comScore stats, it was staying within the 25 to 30 percent band it had been in
for several months. Moreover, the NetRatings figures had Yahoo pretty solid in
the 20 to 25 percent range.

Losers

AOL: As noted, AOL has moved from fourth network to fifth network behind
Ask.

Microsoft Live: Many expected Internet Explorer 7 was going to improve
the share Microsoft has. Not me. As I’ve
written in
the past:

It’s uncertain to me that the search box in the “chrome” is going to make
that much of a difference, but I haven’t seen much user behavior data here. I
could be completely wrong, and Microsoft’s competitors are certainly worried
about it. We’ll know in short order. IE7 is being

rolled out
in a mandatory fashion to Windows users beginning November 1
through the Windows update system. If Microsoft’s search share rises, the
chrome search box may be working.

However, I think many people will still fire up their browser and go back
to the search engines they regularly use. Google and Yahoo might not have the
enticements to switchover today up, but those will come. And I think those
will help them to largely preserve their shares despite the IE7 rollout.

So far, that’s been the case. Microsoft hasn’t gained share. They’ve lost it,
at least according to comScore and despite the IE7 launch. The descent is easier
to see if I zoom in on the three smallest of the major search engines:

comscore trendLooking At
Microsoft’s Continued Long Game In Search
yesterday from me revisits some of
Microsoft’s ambitions and goals in the challenge against Google.
Microsoft Live & Yahoo
Push For Firefox Users, Plus Revisiting The IE7 Search Battle
also from me
yesterday looks at how Microsoft competitors are hitting back to avoid losing
searchers in Internet Explorer 7.

Other Ratings Services

My other key bit of advice when looking at ratings services is to consider
figures from a variety of players. From what I’ve
written
before:

Look at figures from multiple services. For several months, comScore
has painted a pretty bleak figure for Yahoo, showing share decreases. At least
twice this year (January
& July), Yahoo has
had to warn analysts not to trust the comScore figures too much (and oh
the irony
of Yahoo now having hired the former comScore CEO this month). In contrast,
NetRatings was showing Yahoo as pretty stable. If I’m going to declare Yahoo
in trouble (and
I didn’t
), I’m more likely to do that if more than one ratings service is
reflecting a plunge of some time. If it’s only one of them, then I’m more in
“watch and see” mode.

As I said, Hitwise figures were released earlier this month to me. I’ll spin
back to them next. Then NetRatings figures will likely come within hours, so
they’ll be up from me shortly as well. Compete also
released December 2006
figures here. When I’ve got them assembled, I’ll do big comparisons charts like
this that I’ve done
before. Stay
tuned!


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