When Microsoft launched its Bing Internet search service just over a year ago, the company had high hopes of being a major player in the global search market—and the concomitant advertising dollars that accompany it—and sunk major money into both developing Bing and promoting it to consumers via expensive marketing campaigns. Microsoft has had some success: Bing is now a well-recognized name in the search scene and the company has made several key partnerships—the most significant of which, it’s 10-year deal with Yahoo—should finally kick into place in a few months. But global search market share figures from firms StatCounter and Net Applications show that search leader Google has scarcely noticed the presence of Bing: Microsoft’s gains seem to be coming primarily at the expense of other competitors.
According to Net Applications, for the last year Bing has been holding steady at between about 3 percent to 3.5 percent of the global search market, racking up 2.99 percent of the market in June 2009 and ending May 2010 with a 3.24 percent share—during the year, Bing peaked at 3.52 percent in August 2009. During the same period, Microsoft’s partner Yahoo has seen its global search share decline from 7.15 percent to 6.19 percent, while China’s leading search engine Baidu saw its share drop precipitously from a peak of 8.87 percent in July 2009 to just 3.16 percent last month. At the same time Baidu dropped, however, Google saw its global share jum from 78.6 percent in July 2009 to a peak of 86.3 percent in April 2010. Bing also appears to have benefited from Baidu’s decline—it’s biggest month-to-month gain came during the same time as Baidu’s biggest month-to-month drop.
StatCounter’s figures for the last year follow a similar pattern, although the numbers aren’t quite the same. StatCounter finds Bing’s global share of the search market has been in the same 3 percent to 3.5 percent range, with a few hops up into 3.6 percent territory. Conversely, StatCounter grants Google a near-consistent 90 percent share of the global search market for the last year; however, StatCounter’s figures for Baidu are substantially lower than Net Applications, highlighting differences in the company’s analytical methods.
Regardless of Bing’s global market share, Microsoft can expect to see a bump in revenue when it starts operating as a back end for Yahoo’s search engine, which—depending who you believe—accounts for an additional four to six percent of the global search market. Under the deal, Microsoft will handle self-service advertising for both companies, while Yahoo will handle premium search advertisers. But the possible cash cow—in terms of advancing search technologies—will undoubtedly be all the additional query, usage, and tracking information Microsoft will get from Yahoo users, enabling them to further refine, customize, and personalize search services. However, if Net Applications’ and StatCounter’s figures are any indicator, that data will still be a tenth or less of what Google receives.