Competition for Search and Advertising Market Shares Gets Tougher

The competition among top three search engines is becoming tougher. Bing is giving strong competition to Google and Yahoo in terms of search share as well as advertising. According to ComScore, Bing showed more growth than Google and Yahoo in terms of percentages of search engines market shares and number of searches in November. However, Google remained at top position in terms of overall search market shares, Search ad ROI and Click-through-rates.

Google and Bing improved their search share slightly in November 09, when compared to October. Google sites improved by 0.2% and Bing gained 0.4% compared to previous month, while Yahoo showed a drop of 0.5%. Google accounted for 9.5 billion slearches up 1% from October, while Yahoo sites dropped of 1%. Bing sites grew a healthy 5% reaching 1.5 billion searches. Overall, Americans conducted 14.4 billion searches in November by growing 1% from October.

The report from Efficient Frontier says that Google is the most efficient search engine among the top three search engines. The ROI efficiency was up by a good 43% Y-O-Y. Next to Google, Bing showed a growth of 24% in search ad ROI. However, Yahoo dropped by 8% of its ROI over a year. According to WebVisible, Google has the highest Cost-per-Click rate among the search engines followed by Bing, which is an indicator of quality of the clicks. However, Bing brought the highest click-through rates for small businesses.

There is a clear indication of Search ad spending is stabilizing. However, the impact of recession on online advertising is considerable because of both smaller and larger businesses reduced their spending. Small businesses reduced their spending by 41% from Q2 2008 to Q2 2009, while larger advertisers reduced their spending by 22%. However, advertisers from mid-sized businesses were able to increase their spending by 5% on search engines in contrast to small and larger business advertisers.

Overall spending on search engines was dropped by 21% in Q2 2009, but ROI increased by 17% compared to the corresponding period last year. However, when compared with Q1 of 2001 it was dropped by only 3%, while the ROI increased to 129% from 117%.

Among the top three search engines, Bing is showing a consistent gain though small in market shares month-over-month shedding negative growth trends of Microsoft Live search. According to ComScore, Bing experienced 6% of growth month-over-month (Nov-Oct 2009) in search shares among top 10 search engines and became more important in search market. Noticing this, advertisers quickly changed ad budgets preferences. Google lost 5% in ad spending share during Q3 2009 compared to corresponding period previous year. At the same time, Bing gained 2.9% points.

It seems advertisers are experimenting with Bing at the cost of Google and Yahoo to check the quality of Bing as an advertising platform. It is possible that advertisers betting on the increasing search shares for Bing. However, it will be too early to say that Bing is gaining at the expense of Google and Yahoo.

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