London, 25th October 2005, Google’s quarterly earnings report last week made clear just how successful the firm has been at monetising its vast search traffic. While Google controls 70% of the UK search market, the next battle appears to be for personalised search and along with that, more targeted advertising. Hitwise, the leader in online competitive intelligence, today reports that the winner on the personalised search front is far from clear.
Many claim that Google is turning into a portal with the launch of services beyond search, such as Gmail, Google Talk, and Google Desktop Search. These products while useful to the consumer also allow Google to collect a great deal of information about its users. Yahoo! has long played in this space with Yahoo! Mail and My Yahoo! while MSN’s Messenger and Hotmail offering give it a head start.
To allow for a comparison among these ‘portals’, Hitwise created an aggregated view of the visits to the ten most visited properties of MSN, Yahoo! and Google in the UK in September.
MSN is the largest of the portals, but Google is catching up QUICK!
MSN is the largest portal in the UK based on an aggregated share of visits to its top 10 properties in September 2005, attracting 1 in 7 internet visits. Google was less than 1% behind in September, catching up to MSN quickly over the past year. In September 2004, the percentage difference between the market share of MSN and Google’s aggregated properties was 42%. The gap between Google and MSN has even reduced in the past month, from 5% in August.
While the aggregated properties of Google gained 12% market share year-on-year in September, MSN lost 20% and Yahoo lost 8%. MSN’s decline may in part be a result of the fact that MSN Messenger is a download service and Hitwise only reports on visits to the website, not the proprietary software that is downloaded. This is also in part due to the continued innovation of Google, and popularity of these innovations. Google’s aggregated properties have steadily gained market share over the past year.
UK internet users use Google for search and MSN for communications
Analysis of the most visited sites among these three leading online players reveals unique market strengths of each. Google’s visits are concentrated on search, with 87% of visits to the top 10 Google properties going to either the Google.co.uk or Google.com search engines. Also, 9 of the top 10 Google properties are for search.
Yahoo!’s portal and its email service are its strongest properties, with 35% of visits to Yahoo!’s top 10 properties going to the UK or .com portal and 33% going to the UK or .com mail site. By comparison, less than half that volume (15%) went to Yahoo! search properties.
MSN’s strength is in communication services, with MSN’s email offering, Hotmail, accounting for nearly half (45%) of visits to MSN’s top 10 properties. Among MSN’s ten most popular sites (based on visits by UK internet users in September), six are geared toward online communications via email, blogs, messaging, chat, groups, and a member directory.
Yahoo! UK & Ireland Search sends more than twice the share of visits to its own parent network, compared with Google UK
Among the top four search engines, Yahoo! UK & Ireland Search sent the largest volume of visits to sites in its own portal network, with 22% of visits going to Yahoo! properties in September 2005 (among the top 500 downstream sites). These visits were shared among 57 different properties, highlighting the diversity of Yahoo!’s offering.
18% of visits from Google went to sites within the Google parent network in September 2005 (among the top 500 downstream), with Google UK Images the #1 downstream site from Google UK. This traffic was split among 13 Google properties, including Maps, News, and Froogle. Google sent more than twice as much of its own traffic to sites in its network than did MSN.co.uk Search, which sent 7% of its visits to sites in the MSN parent network.
Percentage Market Share of Visits to Aggregated Top 10 Properties in the UK, comparing September 2004 and September 2005
Clickstream between Parent Portal Sites, Search Engines, and Portal Networks in the UK, September 2005 About Hitwise:
Hitwise is the leading online competitive intelligence service. Each day, Hitwise measures how more than 25 million internet users interact with over 500,000 websites across 160 industry categories.
By measuring more people, more websites, more often, Hitwise provides marketers with timely and actionable marketing insights on how their online presence compares to competitive websites. Companies use this information to maximize the return on their online investment, in efforts such as affiliate programs, search marketing, online advertising, content development and lead generation.
Hitwise collects internet usage information via a combination of ISP data partnerships and opt-in panels, and complies with local and international privacy legislation as audited by PricewaterhouseCoopers. Founded in 1997, Hitwise is a privately held company, headquartered in New York City and operates in the US, UK, Australia, New Zealand, Hong Kong and Singapore.
More information about Hitwise is available at www.hitwise.co.uk
For up to date analysis on online trends, please visit the Hitwise Intelligence-Analyst Weblogs at http://weblogs.hitwise.com/
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