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Sunday, March 30, 2008

Google’s Reach Is Much Lower Than its Search Share

Posted by @ 12:50 am

A new report out by Nielsen Online shared a common tale that Google again dominated the share of searches in Feb 2008. But a little reverse engineering of the stats highlights an important fact for online marketers.

According to the report, Google carried 4.5 billion searches in Feb 2008, 58.7% of the market in the United States. It was trailed by Yahoo! and MSN (as usual) with 17.6% and 11.2% respectively.

Missing out on podium positions were AOL,, My Web Search, Comcast, AT&T, Dogpile and Next tag, with the chart below highlighting their respective share of the US market.

The report also detailed the average searches per user for each search engine, which prompted me to do some alternate number crunching, in terms of “search reach”. I had no doubts that Google would carry the greatest reach, but I wasn’t as convinced that its domination would be as significant.

Alas, using the figures for the top 10 as my guide, the reality is that Google holds a narrower lead on the competition in terms of “reach”.

According to my rough calculations, Google only carries a reach of approx 42%, with Yahoo! holding about 21% of the market. The chart below highlights my workings on the reach calculations.

Now, before the “who cares” alarms go off, this is important for online marketers. It highlights the value of diversity in online marketing campaigns. When you look at the numbers in terms of reach, search engines such as Yahoo! (21%) or even AOL (9%) and (7%) do provide some genuine exposure.

Now search marketing, as with any marketing, is about getting “bang for buck”. So by no means am I suggesting that you should divest your Google marketing budget. The moral of this tale is ensuring you don’t miss valuable exposure opportunities by being single-minded in your strategy.

Rene LeMerle Rene is the marketing manager of - a global search engine marketing company. He also leads the marketing for - a web 2.0 style community for online and digital marketers. Rene has been in the industry since 1997 with much of that time spent helping businesses embrace the best of the internet and digital world.

View Rene LeMerle's profile

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