ComScore Dives Deeper Into Search Metrics

With the release of its next generation search metrics product at SES San Jose yesterday, comScore expanded its measurement scope beyond search activity on the five core U.S. search engines.

With qSearch 2.0, the scope of data comScore collects extends beyond the five major U.S. search companies comScore calls the core search engines: Google, Yahoo, Microsoft, Ask Network, and Time Warner Network, which includes AOL. The Web traffic measurement firm now looks at the top 50 search properties worldwide, with sites like MySpace, Baidu, and Naver appearing with the alpha engines. Data also include major vertical search sites like eBay and Amazon.com in the retail category, and Expedia.com in travel.

Partner and affiliate sites are also measured under qSearch 2.0. However search results must include the full Web, and not just the partner site.

Included in the qSearch 2.0 is an expanded search query report, which breaks parent companies into properties — for instance, search queries on Google.com, YouTube and other Google sites. The same information is provided for other top properties, including Yahoo, Microsoft, Time Warner Network, Fox Interactive Media, Ask Network and other applicable sites.

A further development in the methodology is cross-channel search. A particular search, for example “iPhone,” can be conducted across multiple channels for different purposes. A user can look up video, commerce-related pages, or technical information for research. Each category search is counted as a separate search, whereas in qSearch 1.0 the same series of searches “would have been… counted as one search with multiple pages,” said ComScore’s senior director of product management, Steve Dennen,

As the reporting will include the top 50 sites worldwide, comScore will expand measurement to the 32 countries it covers. The first set of data covers the U.S., Canada, the U.K, Germany, France, China, Korea, Japan, and Mexico. Over the next several months comScore plans to add additional countries.

Under the new search metrics tool, it appears Yahoo has lost ground in the search wars, with market share falling from 29.8 percent in July 2006 to 23.5 percent in July of this year. Dennen said the hosted and affiliate searches “both benefit Google disproportionately.”

Yahoo addressed the qSearch 2.0 data and new methodology. “In this new report it shows we’re losing share, but we’re actually still growing in terms of the number of searches,” said Yahoo company spokesperson Katheryn Kelly.

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