Yahoo and Bing make inroads on Google’s US search share, but do advertisers care?

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A spike in Yahoo searches has pushed Google down to its lowest search share in almost six years, the result of a change in tact from Mozilla.

According to web tracker StatCounter, Yahoo’s search share has been buoyed by a deal with Mozilla where it became the default search engine for Firefox 34 users in the US giving company the platform for its highest US share since 2009.

StatCounter has reported that Google grabbed 75.2% of US search referrals in December, whereas its two largest industry competitors, Bing and Yahoo, managed 12.5% and 10.4% respectively.

Cloud marketing platform IgnitionOne backed up StatCounter’s own figures, finding Google’s US search share down to 73.7%. Categorising Microsoft and Yahoo collectively because of their search alliance, the company also reported Google’s share to be at its smallest since the alliance began in 2010.

Alliance success

The 26.3% Yahoo and Bing holds has grown 25.8% in the time after Yahoo and Microsoft formed its partnership, according to IgnitionOne, and this kind of growth has not been seen since the period between Q4 2007 and Q1 2008 where there was a 20% rise.

Marketing Tech sought the views of Reid Spice, vice president of media strategy at iCrossing US, who felt there was so little difference in how the two major search engines went about their business that it was possible for clients to be strategically agnostic.

“Our clients allow us to dynamically allocate spend between the two major search channels based on performance, so we are constantly optimising spend distribution based on data,” he said.

“The reality is, though, that features and functionality in Bing/Yahoo tend to mirror what exists in Google (often with some delay after Google releases something new) so the tactics and product mix we use for a particular client tend to be quite similar between the two major search channels.”

Firefox’s say in search traffic

In December StatCounter research found that Firefox accounted for slightly more than 12% of US internet usage in December, proving the browser’s user base does have a fairly significant say on search market share.

However Aodhan Cullen, CEO of StatCounter, is of the opinion that Yahoo will need to keep a keen eye on its analytics as converting these new users into long-term searchers will be key to holding onto its market share.

“The move by Mozilla has had a definite impact on US search,” he said. “The question now is whether Firefox users switch back to Google.”

What with Apple switching Spotlight’s default search in IOS 8 to Bing and Yahoo’s Mozilla deal, it seems to be through these partnerships that Google’s competitors are seeing the most success in boosting their search share.

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