Enter your email address:

Delivered by FeedBurner

About This Blog

Josh’s Tweet Stream

  • More tweets

« Harvard-Yale Game prank shows power of viral/social networks | Main | Yahoo! announces its desktop search plans, with others right behind »

December 08, 2004

The battle for search loyalty drives innovation

By Charlene Li

I recently published extensive consumer survey data on search loyalty, toolbar usage, and search effectiveness (note: the full report is available only to Forrester clients). Here's the summary and a few of the key findings from the report.

"Although Google has a commanding lead in the number of online consumers regularly using its search tools, the fact that users frequently use another search engine opens the door for defection. MSN's beta launch of its own search engine -- as well as continued innovation from Yahoo!, Ask Jeeves, and new entrants -- means that Google will see plenty of challenges as the battle for search moves to the desktop, mobile devices, multimedia files, and industry verticals. Major search players will play a central role but will slowly cede ground to search specialists."

Our online survey of North American households showed that:

+ Google continues to lead as the site consumers use most frequently to search the Internet, while Yahoo! lost share from 2003.
+ MSN gained substantial share as the default home page for online consumers. <br />+ Among Google's loyal searchers, many were likely to have MSN and Yahoo! as their default home pages, opening up the possibility that these portals will regain search loyalty.
+ MSN has a slight lead in the percent of consumers who use its toolbar.
+ Almost half of all toolbar users also use another toolbar.
+ Google tops the list in terms of search effectives (as ranked by their own loyal searchers) but overall quality remains poor, leading consumers to use multiple search engines.

The result: "Each of the major portals and search sites will engage in a game of one-upmanship -- Google launched its desktop search product and all the rest will follow -- MSN has acknowledged it will debut its product shortly, and AOL, Yahoo!, and Ask Jeeves are all expected to follow suit. MSN launched local search, and others will follow. Rather than getting too caught up in such copycatting, search players should be making investments in deepening the loyalty of their existing users."

I believe that even as the major search players continue to extend their reach, growing consumer sophistication will mean that specialized search will make their debut -- and stick. Look at Singing Fish for audio/video search, local-i.com for local search, and Feedster for RSS feeds. And don't forget that there are already many examples of vertical "search" engines with access to proprietary databases, such as cars.com, Expedia, and Monster. So look out big guys -- even as you extend your rearch beyond Web search, look out for the little guys who will start chipping away at your users.

TrackBack

TrackBack URL for this entry:
http://www.typepad.com/services/trackback/6a00d8341c50bf53ef00d83422520253ef

Listed below are links to weblogs that reference The battle for search loyalty drives innovation:

» Search Loyalty - What Factors Influence the battle over Search? from Threadwatch.org

Forresters Charlene Li shares some snippets from a consumer survey conducted on US households. Some of the data is unsurprising but it does mak [Read More]

» Search Davids chip away at Goliaths from SiliconBeat
Charlene Li over at Forrester Research says today that search engines such as Google and Yahoo that engage in a game one-upmanship are missing the big picture -- and the real threat to their user base. Based on a consumer survey Forrester conducted, Li... [Read More]

» The battle for search loyalty drives innovation from Search Engine Guide
Source: Charlene Li's Blog - I recently published extensive consumer survey data on search loyalty, toolbar usage, and search effectiveness (note: the full report is available only to Forrester clients). Here's the summary and a few of the key findings... [Read More]

» Forrester Stats, Search Defection & Vertical Search from Search Engine Watch Blog
Charlene Li shares some stats from internal Forrester research about search loyalty in The battle for search loyalty drives innovation. Is Google facing defections? Will vertical search wipe out the big boys? Those are the suggestions, but things aren... [Read More]

» Forrester Research on search loyalty from Niall Kennedy's Weblog
Charlene Li authored a new paper on search engine user loyalty and posted a summary on her weblog. The $50 six-page paper cites extensive customer survey data. Some interesting findings: MSN gained substantial share as the default browser home page.... [Read More]

» Forrester: Search Loyalty and Innovation from Bellbits Blog
Speaking of competing search vendors,  Charlene Li talks about her research showing the battle to build customer loyalty is driving innovation... [Read More]

» More from Charlene Li on Yahoo!/X1 from Bellbits Blog
Charlene Li has a great follow-up on the Yahoo!/X1 announcment that builds on the point she made previously that web... [Read More]

» InterActiveCorp buys Ask Jeeves from SEO Blog
Great news – InterActiveCorp has agreed to purchase Ask Jeeves along with all its equities.  "We believe that in the future (Ask Jeeves) has the potential to become one of the great brands on the Internet and beyond," Diller said... [Read More]

Comments

The comments to this entry are closed.