London, 12 April 2011 - Microsoft's search engine Bing was the fastest growing search engine during March according to Experian Hitwise's UK Search Engine and Social Analysis report in the UK.
Google is still very much the dominant player in UK search, with Google Sites accounting for over 90% of all searches conducted by UK Internet users. However, between February and March 2011, Google Sites lost 0.66% market share of searches, whilst Microsoft Sites increased their market share of searches by 0.28%.
The growth of Microsoft sites, led by Bing, is more pronounced in the year-on-year figures. Between March 2010 and March 2011 Bing was the only search engine to increase its volume of searches from UK Internet users. Whilst Google, Yahoo!, Ask and other search providers all dipped in year-on-year change, Microsoft Sites improved their market share of searches by 1.43%.
This latest insight from Experian Hitwise underlines why it is important for brands to ensure they do not solely optimise content around Google at the expense of other search engines. Bing, Yahoo! and Ask each appeal to particular audiences and often send more of their traffic to key transactional industries such as retail, travel and finance.
"Microsoft is starting to make inroads into Google's massive share of the search market, although Google remains the clear leader in absolute volume terms," commented Experian Hitwise's Research Director, Robin Goad. "It is vital that brands closely monitor the changing trends in the search market, as search typically accounts for between 40-50% of a website's inbound traffic."
YouTube the fastest growing social network in March
Facebook continued its dominance in the Experian Hitwise Social Networks and Forums category, accounting for over 56% of all visits to social networks from UK Internet users in March 2011. However, Facebook's market share of visits declined in March compared to February by 1.22%, mostly driven by increased visits to YouTube. The UK's most popular online video site accounted for 19.06% of all visits to social networks in March, up from 18.32% in February, making YouTube the fastest growing social network of March.
Year-on-year, the fastest growing social network was Facebook, increasing its market share of visits by 4.16% between March 2010 and March 2011. Despite Facebook's slight drop in market share of visits in March 2011, the social behemoth is still attracting new visitors to its website every single day. In the last three years Facebook has more than doubled its market share of visits to the Social Networks and Forums category, growing from 22% in March 2008 to 56% today.
Robin Goad commented: "The growth of Facebook is immense, and it is such an integral part of the online scene now that we would expect it to achieve a 60% market share of social visits at some point in 2011. Many companies are still apprehensive when it comes to exploiting social networks to promote their brand, but with such a huge online following, social networks are ignored at a marketer's peril. Facebook is now the second single biggest source of traffic to all websites after Google. As a result, it is becoming increasingly important that brands derive maximum benefit from this social network."
Each month Experian Hitwise will be monitoring the progress of the search and social categories and providing updates on the movers and shakers in these fast-growing industries.
Head of PR, Experian Marketing Services
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