Browsers and Search

I came across two articles today, one by Mark Reed on Andy Beal’s Marketing Pilgrim titled, “Early September Search Share Numbers Are Out” and another on Tech Crunchies by Anand Srinivasan titled, “Web Browser Market Share – 2010“.

Why are these of interest? It goes without saying most people who use a computer go online. We primarily access the internet via a web browser. We mostly navigate via search. The choice of browser and search engine are then fairly important, and probably not given a lot of thought by the casual user, but should by companies seeking to attract users/customers.

What did these two posts reveal?

The Chrome browser jumped from 3.7% to 11.5% in one year, while Internet Explorer dropped from 58.4% to 49.9%. It marked the first time IE was under 50%. Firefox, Safari, and Opera remained roughly the same.

Despite massive marketing efforts, Bing’s search share changed nominally (0.1%) and overall changes for each engine were under 1%. Google holds 66% of the market compared to 17% for Yahoo and 11% for Bing.

Google is clearly the leader, but unlike IE which strikes me as stagnant, Google introduced instant search and serves as a dashboard for me. I access gmail, google reader, docs and other services from the search engine home page. This coupled with solid search results, means I have little inclination to even try another engine.

The browser is a little different. I prefer using Chrome, but I find of the three, IE, Firefox, and Chrome, I have the most trouble regarding compatibility with Chrome, particularly on transactional sites. As such, I keep IE up to date to use in those instances. I use Firefox when evaluating and researching web sites, because it has great plug-ins, but they slow me down and clutter the page when browsing for other purposes.

Despite the strong majority held in each area, if you have a corporate web site, you should be testing on all these platforms and researching results on all these engines. After all, can you afford to ignore 35% to 50% of your potential customers?

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