Ad Age today summarize the state of the search engine marketing industry—and it’s largely good, including the fact that we’ve weathered the recession well so far, we’ve seen tremendous growth over our lifespan and most marketers are convinced of, interested in or doing SEM in some form.
Naturally, the report focuses on the elephant in the room—the biggest search engine in the world. Google dominates the search market in almost every country of the world—but there are a few places where competitors might be able to find a chink in Google’s armor.
Bingahoo is cited as one possible challenger, although by the measure Ad Age is using, a combined Yahoo/Bing share would be 26% to Google’s 65% of the market. However, Bing has shown notable success, including a report from Nielsen in July:
According to Nielsen data from July for the U.S., 27% of Google searchers also used Bing at least once that month, and 39% used Yahoo. Of course, the same holds true for Bing and Yahoo searchers — a majority of them also use Google.
We saw similar reports on low search-engine loyalty back in February as well, even before Bing and its marketing blitz. But the fact that people are at least trying Bing bodes well for Microsoft—since CEO Steve Ballmer pledged to spend up to 10% of MSFT’s operating income a year to pushing Bing to the top of the heap (up to $2b/yr).
The other major area is mobile search. While lots of people do turn to Google for their mobile search, just like they do with . . . “immobile” search—and Android is helping with that—Ad Age reports that the number of mobile Internet devices outweighs the number of computers—which means that lots of mobile Internet users don’t have a desktop habit of Googling. Instead, they may use whatever default their service provider or phone includes (again with the Android).
What do you think? Does it really matter if Google is so dominant in the search industry, or is fine and dandy (as long as they don’t penalize your site)? Can they be beaten?