Microsoft's new web search site Bing has been increasing its market share, according to new figures from comScore. It's going to take a lot of momentum to make serious headway, as Google continued to expand control of search between April and May. But that leaves the question of when -- and how -- search actually pays off for companies.
Microsoft's "search penetration" among U.S. users went from 13.7 percent in the work week of May 25 to 16.7 percent from June 8 through June 12. Its share of search page results â€" "a proxy for overall search intensity," according to comScore â€" went from 9.1 percent from May 25 through May 29 up to 12.1 percent last work week.
But some relative improved performance over the first two weeks of Bing still faces an enormous lead by Google and, even if smaller, a still significant outpacing by Yahoo.
Google managed to increase its share a bit, leaving it with 65 percent of search. And between April and May, both Microsoft and Yahoo actually lost some search share. However, you have to take all this with a bit of salt:
- Such numbers are inherently estimates, and so could be significantly off.
- As comScore notes, the results do not include searches for mapping, local directory information, and user-generated videos.
- There are other types of specialized search, like people search, that people can attempt on the main engines, but that are also available on sites devoted to them.
- How much return on investment do the companies advertising make from their ads?
- Is there more commercial value to being somewhere in a Google search result than being toward the top in one from Microsoft? The sheer volume of answers effectively means that most sites will never be noticed. If a company is using search ads, are people actually clicking on the ads and then buying or otherwise taking a next step in the buying process?
- Not all marketing venues are the same, and it might be that a less traveled search engine could offer a better return for the advertising investment, just as sometimes a smaller but more targeted print publication can offer a better venue for an ad than a larger one.
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