Google, Bing, Yahoo and other engines continue to search for ways to keep consumers engaged longer without becoming a nuisance. Google Shopping ads, Flight Search, Google Hotel Finder and similar content viewed in query results on engines seem to play a role, giving marketers more opportunities to serve relevant and targeted ads. Numbers released from Millward Brown Digital suggest consumers spend more time on search engines visiting more pages. Behind the numbers of the Top 50 U.S. sites based on the digital behavior of some two million consumers resides a treasure trove of answers.
The number of page views per visit on Google in the U.S. grew in July and June in 2014 -- about 12.42 and 11.34, respectively, compared with the prior month, per Millward Brown. Bing also experienced an increase since May. The number of pages viewed per visit on Bing in the U.S. rose to 5.12 in July, 4.93 in June, and 4.81 in May. The unique visitors to Yahoo rose in July by 3.58% to 6.18 page visits, but fell sequentially in June by 1.47% to 5.97 page view visits.
Searchers spent 08:02 minutes in a search session on Google.com in July 2014, up from 05:23 in July 2013. Yahoo.com fell slightly to 06:52 in July 2014, down from 06:59 in the year-ago month. Bing.com rose sequentially to 02:49 in July 2014, up from 02:39 in June 2014, but fell compared with July 2013 numbers at 03:09.
A few interesting trends in August drove higher unique visitors on social sites in Millward Brown Digital's monthly top 50 Web sites. The ALS Ice Bucket Challenge and nude photo celebrity hacks in August drove up visits to social-sharing sites like Twitter, Pinterest, and Instagram. Twitter experienced the highest jump at 67.78% to 57.2 million unique visitors, compared with the same month in the prior year. Pinterest rose 46% year-on-year to 43.2 million unique visitors; and Instagram, 51.7% to 38.8 unique million visits, respectively.
Millward Brown also pulled search referral data for publishers listed in the top 50 sites. Huffington Post was by far the most interesting, per Rachel Eisenberg, director of strategy and marketing at Millward Brown Digital. "As we suspected in August, celebrity activity likely drove increases in traffic -- "Robin Williams," "Nicole Murphy breaks silence," "Jennifer Lawrence" and "Selena Gomez" were all included in the top 10 search referral data for the Huffington Post," she said. "Those keywords accounted for 1.65%% out of the total 20,431,349 search referrals to HuffingtonPost.com during the last 90 days, and while 1.65% may not appear to be substantial, it’s actually quite significant."
Unique visitors to Google, Yahoo, Facebook and YouTube sites remained relatively flat in August, compared with the year-ago month. Yahoo experienced the biggest gain at 4.6% to 173 unique visitors, compared with Google's at 178 million. The Bing's monthly unique visitors declined 3.98% to 154.6 million unique users, respectively.
There were other surprises. Out of the 50 Web sites analyzed by Millward Brown Digital, Ask.com experienced the biggest slide during the month, compared with a year ago. Ask.com declined 43.5% to 44.9 million unique visitors; AOL, 21%; ehow, 28%; eBay, 20%; Mapquest, 25%; and Yellow pages, 34%. Java -- No. 49 in the ranking -- rose 87.8% to 26.5 million unique visitors, suggesting that the software had a major security update.