How do You Search?
Our regular readers here will know, that I very much enjoy/follow/put-up-on-a-pedestal the folks over at Chitika and their research into the search world, using their own index of millions of pages. (disclaimer – we do no biz with Chitika, nor do we have any mutual clients etc. etc. – I just like their research is all!)
Chitika, for those of you who may be newbies to same, is a data analytics company in the business of on-line advertising – “…through the application of data and innovative technology in the fields of mobile, local and search Chitika has developed a vast global network that maximizes yield for both publishers and advertisers…” is how they identify themselves and once again, I’m beholding to them!
Why? Well just a few days ago, they released new data on their research into search engine habits – here’s how they put same –
“Chitika Insights has previously conducted a study to take an in depth look at the search habits we see on our extensive network and how they differentiate between search engines. Our new study is a follow-up to see if there have been any changes over the last months as it relates to habits across search engines. The goal of the study was to find the average number of words in a search query across the five most popular search engines in the US: Google, Bing Yahoo, Ask, and AOL. The study covered a sample of hundreds of millions of impressions, taken between January 9th and January 12th. In order to determine the number of words per query we looked at the number of spaces in each search and then added one to simulate an actual query. The graph below shows the average number of words per query by search engine…”
As you can see, they looked at hundreds of millions of searches via their network and found the following to be true….that Ask.com has the most verbose user base with 4.81 words per query on average, mimicking the same trend in our previous study. As they mentioned before, the main reason for the longer queries of Ask users might be explained with the original designation of the search engine.
Think about that for a second….folks who use Ask.com appear to use long tail word counts more than anyone else for search queries…we’ve reported on this more than a year ago too – at least the number of words that a search query word count was used…and the number 3 was the sweet spot 18+ months ago. Looks like that’s changed, eh?
Why would be the question? Well, as Chitika notes over at Ask.com, maybe its’ their segmentation of being a “natural language” search engine that has appealed to the masses and that could be true. Maybe it’s the demographics of Ask.com users….comScore reports that “Ask.com is the 10th most trafficked site daily that accepts graphical advertisements and the number one brand for trusted answers on the web….” The demographics are interesting for Ask.com and worth a look/see too as in our mind, the main purpose of the Ask.com engine was to provide answers for queries in “natural language”. Most likely, Ask users still tend to write their queries in their longer, natural form.
And the surprise – at least to me? Well, look again at that chart….AOL users have the most succinct queries….AOL users…does that sound surprising? Is to me…and to you?