November Search Market Share: Yahoo Officially Below 20%; We Debut Paid Search

November in America. We got elections, Thanksgiving and the kickoff of the holiday shopping season with Black Friday and Cyber Monday.

All contributed to query growth this year, with the top search engines maintaining the 10b query record set the month before. November’s 1% increase in query volume reflected Obamania, widespread anxiety over economic turmoil and bargain searching galore. That might not seem like a big increase, but consider that last month had 5 weekends and a holiday — times when search activity drops precipitously.

In terms of how the engines stacked up against each other, the song remains the same. Google added slightly to its commanding lead in market share, while most other sites declined a bit.

This month we also want to introduce sponsored search referrals. Sponsored search referrals are made when a searcher clicks the sponsored links at the top and side of search results pages, generating revenue for the search engine. Obviously sponsored search referrals are hugely important since they’re how search engines make billions of dollars, one click at a time.

Google’s share of search referrals reached 70.8% last month, up 0.3ppts from the prior month and 8.3ppts from November, 2007. Google also set a new record for query volume, which grew 1.7%. That was a bit slower than in November, 2007, when month/month query volume grew 2.3%.

Sponsored search referrals at Google jumped 1.0ppts in November to 7.9%, the highest monthly increase for Google all year.

Yahoo!’s search market share and query volume growth were essentially flat last month. This marked the third consecutive month when Yahoo!’s share has held below 20% and a new market share low for the embattled company. Sponsored search referrals at Yahoo! were up 0.3ppts to 8.0%, slightly edging out Google. As we’ve posted, Yahoo! leads when it comes to sponsored search referral efficiency.

MSN/Live had strong 8.0% query growth last month, making progress to regain market share and query volume highs set in November, 2007. MSN/Live’s sponsored search referrals showed nice gains too, reaching a 2008 high of 4.3%, but still lagged behind Google and Yahoo!.

Club Live contributed 2.6ppts and nearly 300 million queries to MSN/Live. (To put things in perspective, Club Live gets more queries than either Ask or AOL.) Club Live continued to grow, with query volume up 3.4% versus the prior month and 7.2% for the year.

Ask and AOL were essentially flat in terms of both share and query volume. Sponsored search referrals at Ask dipped 1.0ppts to 3.0%.

The key points for November, 2008 (excluding Club Live from the market)"¦

  • Google sets yet another record of 70.8% market share, albeit on slowed 1.7% m-o-m query volume growth
  • Yahoo! hovered at 18.8% market share, mired by 0.5% m-o-m growth of query volume
  • Windows Live Search reclaimed 6.9% market share (with Club Live, it hit 9.5%)
  • Ask and AOL held on with 2.5% and 1.0% market share, respectively
  • Next month"¦ the holiday shopping season roars into full swing and we take a special year-end look back at 2008!

If you want to get your hands on the actual data in this post and a lot more don’t forget to check out Compete’s Data Hub.

*Search market share includes web search only for the Adult US Online Population and is calculated based on unique queries within each session during the given month

Categories: Search

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