Quantitative PPC Search Share Analysis

As promised, today we’re going to take a quantitative look at search volume share across Google Adwords, Yahoo Search Marketing, and Microsoft adCenter over the past 3 months. For obvious reasons, I can’t divulge what search terms these numbers relate to, but I can discuss the type of campaigns that generated them. The three primary campaign types of any organization are going to fall into one or more of the following categories: branding, products, or services.Some may disagree with the separation of products and services, and initially I would have thought the same, but according to these numbers, they are quite different animals indeed.

Without further ado — to the results!

Search Volume Share - Branding

As you can see, the results for branding campaigns is somewhat surprising. Given the dominant lead that Google has claimed in the search market, you would expect a much higher search volume. Over a three month average, the results show a 60/40 split in favor of Google over Yahoo. Not surprisingly, MSN is far behind at a laughable 2% search volume.

Search Volume Share - Product

Our next set of results show that Google is the supreme leader in e-commerce. When people are looking to spend money, Google is there to show them the way. Three months of statistics don’t lie, Yahoo and MSN don’t even come close to the traffic you can expect from Google, which is why if you’re going to advertise on only one engine, you might as well concentrate on Google. That’s not to say that Yahoo Search Marketing and Microsoft adCenter campaigns are converting poorly, quite the opposite. If anything, YSM and MSN traffic exceeds click through rates in Google, and offer a much more promising return on advertising spend.

Search Volume Share - Service

What I consider service campaigns others may merge with products, however what we’re looking at here are campaigns linked to landing pages that require more from users than just picking a Toyota Tercel and checking out. As you can see, Google loses ground in this category to Yahoo once again. Depending on the type of response you need from your prospects, you may want to reconsider your spend distribution based on these numbers.

Search Volume Share - Overall

And finally, the overall traffic figures show what the industry has pretty much been saying for the last six months. Google reigns supreme at over 91% search volume share, with Yahoo a distant second capturing much of the remaining table scraps. MSN is the current bottom-feeder of the pack with a shameful search volume of less than one percent.

In the coming weeks, I’ll have a closer look at these results and break down these traffic statistics along a very common curiosity. We’ll answer how the longest unprotected border in the world divides search volume.

It’s not as clear cut as you would expect – stay tuned for more.

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