Analyzing the Demographic Data of Rising Search Engine DuckDuckGo

Global Internet

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As privacy becomes more and more of a concern for digital consumers, products that make privacy one of their primary offerings are going to see a lot of success and will help pave the way for a niche market in the digital world.

One product that is helping to strengthen the argument that this market not only exists, but that it is valued by online consumers is DuckDuckGo. If you haven’t heard, DuckDuckGo is a search engine that has gained a lot of attention amidst the Snowden leaks. Although they may have gained this popularity because they don’t track any of the search activity on their site, they also offer a few other cool features like customization, a lack of clutter (their only sponsored links are at the top of an infinite scroll page), and a few other “goodies.

Although originally thought to be temporary jump in traffic due to the large amount of attention the search engine was getting from various news outlets, DuckDuckGo has proved in July that their traffic gains were not a one month outlier and that many are now using this as their search engine of choice. This is further enforced, and perhaps a nod to their transparency, by a page on their site that shows the amount of search queries per day.

Unique Visitors DuckDuckGo

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Excusing the notion that privacy and the absence of tracking is a fad that is being amplified by current events, I thought it would be interesting to take a look at who, at least when it comes to search engines, is most interested in this. And the best way to do this? By looking at the demographic data of Compete PRO.

Analyzing the demographic data of DuckDuckGo

If you are not aware, Compete PRO offers three basic sets of demographic data: age, income, and gender. This data can be really interesting and can help paint an illustrative picture as to what kind of person is visiting a site. Seen below is the demographic data for DuckDuckGo.

DuckDuckGo Demographics

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For this analysis, I decided to not only analyze DuckDuckGo’s demographic data, but also the data of the top four search engines for comparative purposes.

First, we can take a look at the age demographic. As you can see, this is broken up into six different age ranges and gives some interesting results when done for each of the five search engines.

Age Demographic Top Search Engines

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Perhaps the most surprising finding from this analysis is the fact that compared to the US Internet browsing population as a whole, the data seems to be slanted towards the older demographics – something that applies across the board save maybe Bing. This is especially the case for DuckDuckGo where their 55-64 and 65+ demographic is 6.6% and 7.2% higher than the population, respectively. Although it is unclear why, one hypothesis could be that the older generations value their privacy more than the younger generations who have less of a problem with giving up personal information or allowing sites to track their browsing habits.

Income Demographics Top Search Engines

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Taking a look at the next demographic, income, we can see additional trends. For income, the 60-100k demographic seems to carry the majority of the surpluses for most search engines. However, when looking at DuckDuckGo, it seems that the highest income demographic, 100k+, carries the greatest disparity between them and the rest of the Internet population. This coupled with the fact that the 0-30k demographic is 12.5% lower than the rest of the population signals that the privacy offered by DuckDuckGo is favored largely by the wealthier population.

Gender Demographic Top Search Engines

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The final demographic, and the one with the most dramatic difference, is gender. For the other major search engines, the gender is basically even – with men taking the slight majority on every search engine besides Ask. However, when looking at DuckDuckGo, we can see that the search engine is favored largely by men. This could be for any number of reasons including one of the ways DuckDuckGo first gained popularity considering how similar DuckDuckGo’s gender demographics resemble Reddit’s, the possibility that men may value private searching more, or even that the recent publicity of the search engine has been on content that may be of higher interest to men. Either way, with two out of three of their unique visitors being men, it may be worth focusing awareness and customer acquisition efforts on sites that have a male slant.

When taking a look at demographic data of sites, a lot can be learned. Did you ever expect that compared to the rest of the US Internet population, DuckDuckGo’s users would be older, richer, and consist of a higher proportion of men? As a business, having information like this can be invaluable and can be used to not only provide insights you may not have realized, but to focus your efforts specifically to gain new customers that your competition is strong in. If you don’t have access to Compete PRO, you can try it out for free here.

As always, if you have any comments, questions or critiques, I encourage you to add them in the comments section below.

About Zach Eberhart:
As a senior at Northeastern University, Zach Eberhart is thrilled to join the Compete team as the new Social Media / Marketing Co-op. Majoring in marketing and management information systems, Zach loves everything marketing and technology and has experience in both the agency and startup world. If you like what you read, you can connect with him on Google+ or LinkedIn.