Is Amazon Really Gaining on Google's Search Traffic? [New Data]

There’s been some speculation that Amazon might be creeping into Google’s (search) territory.

In some ways, that’s at least partially true. Amazon has showed some promise of potentially overtaking Google’s paid ads business, and its market share of product searches (54%) outnumbers that of Google’s (46%). 

But not all search is created equal. We dug a little deeper into the numbers, looking at a recent report and running our own surveys to see how people search for different types of information.

The Info-Seeking Market Share

While it may be true that Amazon is gaining on Google’s share of product-specific searches, when it comes to general information searches, Google still reins supreme. 

According to a recent report from SparkToro, Google’s domination in the area of general search traffic is quite significant, with 90% of web searches taking place on its site. That includes not only the primary Google search bar, but also, queries taking place on its Images and Maps products.

js-search-us-09-2018-pie800px

Source: SparkToro

To see how that information might uphold among a census-style audience, we asked 860 people across the U.S., UK, and Canada: Which resource do you most commonly use when searching for information online?

Which resource do you most commonly use when searching for information online_

Data collected with Lucid

Our results lined up with SparkToro’s, with 82.7% of respondents indicating that Google is their primary resource for finding information online.

When including respondents who chose “Google Maps” or “Google Images,” that number increases to 84.7%.

The Product-Seeking Market Share

Here’s where things start to get interested. As we previously mentioned, studies show that over half of all product searches take place on Amazon. And, according to our own previous data, people are more likely to buy something based on an ad they saw on Amazon, versus an ad they saw on Google.

However, when we asked 827 people across the U.S., UK, and Canada — Which resource do you most commonly use when searching for products online? — the results looked a bit different.

Which resource do you most commonly use when searching for products online_

Data collected with Lucid

Here, only 10% of respondents said they use Amazon as the primary resource for searching for products.

A few things could explain that — namely, it’s possible that survey participants use Google as the primary source of information to seek information like the “best” products in a certain category.

As Andrea Leigh of Ideoclick, a company that works with manufacturers to optimize online sales, explained at Code Commerce in September — Amazon is most effective when it comes to specific, niche product searches. Think: queries like, “Probiotics for children.” That could one source, for instance, of the aforementioned 54% figure.

So, Does Amazon Stand a Chance?

When it comes to general searches, it could be quite some time before Amazon can see eye-to-eye with Google’s traffic. As Rand Fishkin, author of the SparkToro study put it, “Google [has] a near-monopoly” of web searches. 

But that doesn’t mean Amazon should be completely discounted, for a number of reasons — a major consideration being voice search. In 2017, for instance, eMarketer found that 70.6% of smart speaker users owned an Amazon Echo, versus the 23.8% who used a Google Home.

However, we don’t know if those uses pertained to information-seeking or product-buying — and other studies have shown that even if it’s not used by as many people, Google’s Assistant (the voice assistant that powers the Google Home smart speaker) answers questions correctly 17% more of the time than Amazon’s Alexa. 

Another key question to ask when looking at this data: Does Amazon actually view Google as a threat? And, is its primary goal or concern to reign supreme in the world of web searches?

“If you view search as a pie, sure, Amazon doesn’t have a huge piece of it,” says Keith Anderson, SVP of Strategy & Insight at Profitero, an eCommerce performance analytics platform. “Amazon isn’t particularly threatened by Google as a search engine [and] has a different business model that has different incentives.”

So, for Amazon, product search could remain the name of the (winning) game — especially when it comes to understanding the intent behind those searches.

“What Amazon is building really quickly is an ad network and targeting capability at the intersection of ads, and the ability to buy really seamlessly,” Anderson explains. “Because they have so much information about buyer intent and buyer behavior, they can build a level of targeting that’s very hard for Google to match.”

In other words, he says — for now — there’s no need for Amazon “to try to out-Google Google.”


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Unriddled: Messenger's New Look, Apple's Latest Products, and More Tech News You Need

Unriddled: Messenger's New Look, Apple's Latest Products, and More Tech News You Need

“Unriddled” is HubSpot’s weekly digest of the tech headlines you need to know. We give you the top tech stories in a quick, scannable way and break it all down. It’s tech news: explained.

Unriddled: The Tech News You Need

1. Messenger Has a New Look

Facebook announced last week that it will soon roll out Messenger 4: the latest edition of its instant messaging platform that, among other new features, will be more personalized and easier to navigate.

messenger-4-group-chat-3-ios

Source: Facebook

Instead of its current nine tabs, Messenger 4 will only have three: chats, people, and discover. Plus, the company says, it’s added new personalization features to group chats (like customizable dialogue bubble colors), while also keeping features like bill-splitting and games.

Messenger says the changes will roll out incrementally. Read full announcement >>

2. Apple’s New iPad Pro and MacBook

In addition to releasing iOS 12.1 yesterday, Apple held a special event to debut the the latest editions in its line of iPad Pro and MacBook products. Among them: a new retina MacBook Air (the design of which hadn’t been updated since 2010), as well as a bring-your-own-monitor-style Mac Mini.

mac-mini_top-down-isometric_10302018

Source: Apple

Also unveiled today were the two latest additions to Apple’s line of iPad Pro devices, available in 11-inch and 12.9-inch models — which are the first iPads to come with FaceID technology. Emily Bary of MarketWatch has more. Read full story >>

3. Walmart-Owned Sam’s Club Will Open a Cashierless Store

In what could be interpreted as an attempt to keep up with ecommerce rival Amazon, Walmart announced that it will open a somewhat cashierless store, Sam’s Club Now, in Dallas next week.

The store is largely serving as a test-run for some of the emerging, tech-driven concepts Walmart hopes to use, including augmented reality, and what Sarah Perez of TechCrunch describes as “artificial intelligence-infused shopping.”

Rather than traditional cashiers, the stores will feature “Member Concierges,” who could serve similar roles to those staffing Amazon Go stores to help shoppers understand the concept. Read full story >>

4. Facebook Removes 82 Pages, Groups, and Accounts in (Another) Coordinated Misinformation Campaign

Facebook said last week that it uncovered evidence of another coordinated misinformation campaign from its site, and removed over 80 pages, groups, and accounts in response.

The campaign appears to have originated in Iran, and largely involved the distribution of politically-oriented content on both Facebook and Instagram. Over one million users were following one or more of the Pages removed to take down the campaign. Tony Romm and Craig Timberg of the Washington Post share more details. Read full story >>

5. Oculus Rolls Out Options for Reporting Abuse

Oculus, the Facebook-owned maker of virtual reality (VR) hardware, announced last week that it’s implementing new ways for users to report abuse — in the form of content or other user behaviors — from within any of its apps or games.

Oculus_Home_Landing

Source: Oculus

By allowing users to report directly from a VR experience, video is captured that provides reviewers with more detail around what, exactly, happened. Adi Robertson of The Verge has more. Red full story >>

6. Want to Know What Amazon’s Cashierless Stores Are Like? We Went to One.

Haven’t made it to one of Amazon’s cashierless Go stores yet? We checked out the newest one. Read full story >>

7. In a Land of Automated Milk and Honey, Marketers Are Presented With an Opportunity

In what might be the tech capital of the U.S., robots are checking us out of supermarkets and making our lattes. But while this growing technology leaves many starry-eyed, it leaves others wondering about the road it paves. Read full story >>

8. 25% of People Think All Searches Will Be Done by Voice in the Next 5 Years

When it comes to voice search overtaking text in the future, many internet users seem bullish. But today, that doesn’t necessarily line up with search preferences. Read full story >>


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