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BizReport : Search Marketing : May 29, 2009

Google tops search metrics, but maybe not consumer intent

The latest metrics in the land of search report very familiar rankings. Google continues to lead the pack, by a rather large margin, followed by MSN, Yahoo and But, is having the most searches enough now? One executive doesn't believe it is.

by Kristina Knight

First, the numbers. According to Hitwise in April Google captured just over 80% of Canadian searches and just under 73% of US searches. MSN, in second place, accounted for only 8.8% of searches while Yahoo accounted for just over 7% of search queries. However, Robert Passikoff of BrandKeys reports that the simple number of searches is not enough of a motivation for search marketers to choose one engine over another.


Because consumers are not searching today as they were last year or even five years ago. Today's search consumer is looking for specific information which can be used in some way - to make a purchasing decision, to research an idea or to find local information. And when it comes to delivering that information, consumers are not flocking to Google's engine.

"It's a nuance, but a critical one regarding consumer values in the category," writes Passikoff. "According to the Brand Keys' Customer Loyalty Engagement Index, Google ranks #1overall, but when it comes to the most-important driver, Facts vs. Insights, which has the highest of high expectations, the rankings are as follows:
• Google/Netscape (tie)
• AltaVista
• Yahoo
For marketers the difference in simple popularity and actual driving impetus is a key factor regarding placement of search budgets. While Google should never be ignored, it is becoming clearer each day that other engines do make a difference.

Tags: brand marketing, BrandKeys, Hitwise, paid search, search engines, search marketing

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  • Kristina: while I cannot say much about Brand Key or their research, I would like to compliment you on highlighting what I think is a very important point: it's not how many searches, but how much influence (e.g., decision drivers, purchases) that counts.

    It would have been great if your article had included an overview of what "Facts vs. Insights" actually means.

    Thanks and Best Wishes,

    Scott Charles

    PlumbBob Research



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