March Search Market Share: Record query growth and the Yahoo/Microsoft search deal by the numbers

March typically posts some big month/month query volume growth, but last month exceeded all expectations. Query volume across the top 5 search engines skyrocketed 14.1% to just over 13 billion searchers. Americans searched online for fast-rising topics like the NCAA Championships, the AIG fiasco and the Watchman movie.

Google led the way, posting 9.7 billion queries in March — a 15.4% monthly increase. Look for Google to break the 10 billion query mark in April, all on its own. Two months ago we were declaring the end of Google’s market share growth as it hovered around 70% for most of last year. No more.

Meanwhile Yahoo!’s query volume also grew a substantial 10.2% to 2.3 billion queries. That wasn’t enough to keep up with Google, though — Yahoo! ended up losing 0.6pts share. Google now has 4 times more query volume and market share than Yahoo!. A year ago, Google had a 3x lead over its Sunnyvale cousin.

MSN/Live basically hit the average with 13.9% monthly query growth to 834 million queries. MSN/Live’s rate of sponsored referrals continues to hover at only 3.2% of referrals, compared to 6 — 7% for other top engines.

Yahoo! and Microsoft have come back to the table for a search deal, recognizing Google as a common threat. The combined entity would have 23.1% market share, or 1/3rd of Google’s.

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.

  • Google query volume charged 15.4% and market share rose to 0.8pts, leading a bullish month in search
  • Yahoo! fell to 17.2% market share, a new low, but query volume rose a robust 10.2%
  • MSN/Live hovered at 6.3% market share, with solid 13.9% query growth
  • Ask maintained 2.4% share and a healthy rate of sponsored referrals at 6.2%
  • AOL held on with 0.8% share. Could a possible spinoff from Time-Warner be good news for its search share?

*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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