Early Returns for US Search Traffic are In. Bing!
What would be the best way for a research firm to get some notice in a market that has two or three dominant players that most turn to? Well, get the first numbers into the market place around how well Bing has performed for Microsoft. Reuters reports that StatCounter, a Dublin based research firm has done just that.
The company is based in Dublin and has published results that are based on 4 billion pageloads per month monitored through a network of websites. Drumroll please?
Bing, launched on June 3 but available to some users a few days earlier, took 8.23 percent of U.S. Web searches in June, up from 7.81 percent for Microsoft search just prior to its rollout and 7.21 percent in April, said Internet data firm StatCounter.
Google lost share slightly, dipping to 78.48 percent from 78.72 percent before Bing. Yahoo Inc, the perennial No. 2 in the market, rose to 11.04 percent from 10.99 percent.
Cymbal crash! In a nice piece of headline sensationalism, Reuters titled the article “Microsoft’s Bing Search Wins Share from Google”. Good stuff to make you read further but the numbers, at least from StatCounter, don’t really bear out the ‘win’.
In fact, one might say that even though there was an uptick in Microsoft search traffic (as well as a slight one for Yahoo) the change of ½ a percent is negligible at best and could be accounted for in normal error ranges as nothing positive at all. Now factor in the $100 or so million that Microsoft has assigned to the rollout of Bing and the frequency of the ads seen for the new decision engine it may be fair to say these numbers are a huge disappointment rather than any form of hope. If Bing doesn’t get traction early it may just be a true blip and a non-issue for Google moving forward.
StatCounter though, really wants to create some sort of competition here.
“At first sight, a 1 percent increase in market share does not appear to be a huge return on the investment Microsoft has made in Bing but the underlying trend appears positive,” StatCounter Chief Executive Adohan Cullen said in a statement.
Underlying trend? After one month? That’s almost as bad as basing company performance on short term (quarterly) results and we all know where that leads. Look, I think Google could really use a strong competitor. It would help the consumer and it would be likely to make Google even stronger by being pushed a bit. These numbers, however, will not make anyone at Google even hiccup. In fact, the re-branding efforts of Yahoo are likely to cause more consternation for the Google because at least Yahoo is realistic about its search prospects. Oh and by the way, Yahoo is still #2 despite the Bing rollout.
If Bing can overtake Yahoo for 2nd place then that might be news. Nearly one month into this race, though, this kind of result is hard to get excited about and certainly not worthy of the proclamation that Google is losing ground.