Search traffic is at an all-time high. Although Google leads ahead of its competitors with the lion’s share of the search market (67 %), the search giant’s market share has started to flat line. There are two possible takeaways from this unprecedented scenario:
Google has peaked in its monopoly of the search market and they’re on the way out.
It is too early to predict anything. Let’s wait and watch.
Obviously, the second one seems more realistic as Google is still synonymous with searching on the internet.
Certainly, things have changed in the search industry and it looks like Google still has a resilient hold over the search market. However its competitors, ever so slowly but surely, are gaining ground. Below are some of the reasons that may be behind this shift in the tide.
Yahoo’s search market grew at Google’s expense
Firefox has switched sides with Yahoo and this has cost Google a downslide of 4 percent in the US search market. According to StatCounter, Google is currently at its lowest market share since 2008.
This will not give Google’s shareholders sleepless nights (it still leads the pack by a long way), but it might just force Google to rethink its search strategies.
Competitors are turning on the heat
The competition is tightening from all angles. As some commentators have speculated, if Apple decides to quit Google and turn to Bing as the default search engine for all its products, it will make quite a noticeable difference to Google’s share in the search market.
To put this reliance into perspective, for the year 2014, 19.7 % of the smartphones shipped worldwide belonged to Apple.
Facebook has its own internal news feed, while Amazon is making native search easy for its users through Fire Tablet and Fire Phone, which have built-in links for product listings.
Ad revenues are falling
Though Google market share has slightly declined, it can still boost its own revenues by diversifying into non-traditional markets like mobile search. The increased competition from Bing in desktop search and a fall in paid advertising revenues in the third quarter of 2014, prompted Google to step up spending to diversify its offering in an effort to reignite ad revenues.
The next big revenue generator for Google is the video advertisement that it runs on YouTube, but Facebook is in direct competition with it. The social media giant has launched auto-play videos that provide much higher user engagement and they are a hit with advertisers. There is every indication that over time, Google will lose some of its video advertisement market share to Facebook.
Android’s dominance continues in the smartphone world
Android’s continued dominance is a reassuring sign for Google. In 2014, Android garnered a smartphone market share of 80.4%. This is a strong signal for Google that it will continue to hold sway in mobile search.
Though Google faces stiff competition from other players in mobile search, nothing drastic will happen that could upset the company’s applecart. It will continue to enjoy a respectable lead over its competitors and we will not see any other search engine reach the stature of Google anytime soon.
Despite doubts from industry commentators, Google still dominates the online search industry and will continue to do so in the foreseeable future. So despite a little healthy competition from the likes of Bing and Facebook, as long as people continue to ‘Google it’- we won’t be saying RIP to Google anytime soon.
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