Let’s take a look at the widely excitable ecommerce community & the impact that search engines have…
Each year the ‘holiday numbers’ are big news in the web world. Proof that we exist, I suppose. Some sort of ‘I shop online, therefore I am’ sort of a thing. Legitimizing the strength & position of the internet, as both commonplace tool, and proper place for corporate entity. But aside from that, there is gold in those glittering holiday numbers, so let’s take a look:
According to Hitwise, an online competitive intelligence service, the market share of all U.S. visits to Shopping and Classifieds sites reached their highest weekly levels during the week ending Dec. 11, 2004, reaching 9.73%. This broke the prior record set Thanksgiving week 2004 (9.72%).
And these numbers are, in part, due to search engines.
Of that record setting high week, ending Dec 11, 2004, this is the percent of that traffic contributed by search engines to those shopping sites:
Yahoo! Search 2.24 %
MSN Search 0.54 %
“The holiday shopping frenzy is continuing strong on the Web, with search engines becoming ever more integrated,” said Bill Tancer, vice president of research, Hitwise. (And this here is the super important part: ) “While Google dominates overall referrals, it is important to note that the leading search engines vary in their strength to refer traffic to certain categories versus others. Marketers should carefully consider the nuances of each engine in order to maximize their search strategies.”
While all three of the big search engines contribute to the traffic (& therefore sales), they seem to do so differently.
While all three major search engines seem to send to the same categories* they have different areas of strength:
– Google sends a higher share of its downstream traffic to Books, Sports and Fitness, and Music.
– Yahoo! Search is stronger in sending its shopping referrals to Video and Games, Automotive and Classifieds.
– MSN Search sends a higher share of its shopping referrals to Apparel & Accessories, House & Garden and Appliances & Electronics.
What does this mean to you?
It means you may want to rethink your ad campaign on Google if you are in the video or gardening business.
Or it may make you think a bit more about the ‘why’ the numbers are that way. Perhaps the ‘kids’ are using Yahoo! (on their parents’ pc/ISP with those free Yahoo! email accounts), and so Yahoo’s audience is younger…
Who knows? Not me. Yet anyway. But you can bet I’ll be thinking about it!
* The top three downstream retail categories for the three major search engines were Rewards & Directories (mostly comparison shopping sites), Auctions, & Department Stores.