Commentary

Winners, Losers In May 2011 comScore Search Data

MagGlass-Search-

Nine months of search market share gains for Bing and Yahoo halted in May, according to Macquarie Research, citing May 2011 comScore data.

U.S. explicit queries for Google, which exclude contextual shortcuts, mouse hovers, slide shows and select Google Instant queries, rose 10% to 65.5% from the previous year. Bing queries rose 45% for the year, taking about 14.1% of searches in the U.S. Yahoo queries rose 7% in May, compared with the year-ago month, taking 15.9% of searches. Combined, Bing's and Yahoo's share of searches total 30.0%, compared with 30.0% in April 2011 and 27.5% in May 2010.

That Yahoo managed to stabilize its search share at 15.9% for a second consecutive month is positive and noteworthy, but for both Bing and Yahoo it's impossible to speculate that this one month of comScore data will turn into a longer-term trend for either company, Macquarie Capital Analyst Ben Schachter wrote in a published note.

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Schachter also points to Yahoo's report that May queries may have seen some minor benefit from the late March release of "Search Direct" search UI changes. He also acknowledges that these explicit search numbers don't reflect mobile queries, a category in which Google will dominate share. "Efficient Frontier has anecdotal evidence that some advertisers are already seeing as much as 10% to 15% of all Internet search traffic coming from mobile devices today," according to the research note, pointing to a report published with the search engine marketing company in March 2011.

It's not clear whether comScore or analysts intend to tabulate mobile queries apart from those conducted on computers or tablets.

The two losers in May were AOL and Ask. AOL queries fell 30% in May, compared with the year-ago month. Share of searches fell to 1.5%, compared with 2.4% in May 2010. Ask queries declined 13% in May, compared with the previous year, and search shares commanded 2.9%, compared with 3.0% in April 2011 and 3.8% in May 2010.

 

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