February seems to have brought with it an amplification of the current trends in the search space. Overall query volume dropped 6.2% in February, but with 10% fewer days in the month, such a drop actually implies continued search growth overall. The major search engines continue their recent market share trend; Google capturing the lion’s share and steady, Bing continuing to gain ground while Yahoo! continues on its downward trend.
As you may recall from prior months we’ve started adding in additional search verticals (travel, finance, maps, etc.) to our search numbers. As the engines begin to focus on different verticals this will help identify where these focuses are driving the top line. In the coming months we’ll be publishing some data on the individual verticals as well. The top table below represents the rollup of the respective engine’s verticals. The table on the bottom is for web search only.
On the web search only side of things, Google (GOOG) gained 4ppt of search share despite a M-O-M drop in query volume. Bing volume drops less than 1% M-O-M search volume as MSFT search continues to establish a strong footing in the market. Bing market share rose 6ppt in February. Ask also saw a relatively low search volume drop compared to the industry.
In 2009, February saw a 4.3 % drop in overall search volume. Back then Google was the engine that held relatively steady during the short month losing less than 1% in M-O-M volume, while Yahoo (YHOO) and MSFT’s Live took the bigger hits. Since then Google and MSFT’s current Bing have gained an additional 4.5% and 1.5% respectively, of search market share at the expense of Yahoo! which has lost 5.5 % since Feb 2009. Search volume had a big rebound in March of last year, and we are expecting to see a similar jump next month.