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The difference a browser makes for paid search

One of the many things that companies have to consider when carrying out an online marketing campaign is the browser their customers likely use.

While it seems like a trivial fact, the Web browser that a buying audience selects to search for information about products or services can have a significant impact on whether these purchasers end up getting exposed to a company's paid search ads. Since a company that puts a pay-per-click campaign into practice must choose which search engine it's going to take advantage of, any variations in the search engine that buyers use will ultimately have an impact on PPC success.

New partnerships
Although Google and Mozilla Firefox officially parted ways in November 2014 (1), it wasn't clear what the impact this would have on search behavior. Collaborating with one of Google's rivals in the search market, Yahoo, Firefox made the latter the default tool for users of its browser.

On a global scale, Google has very little to fear from the changes Firefox has made, but there's a different story developing in the U.S. In fact, the last time Google's share of the U.S. search market was as low as the current level, President Barack Obama had just assumed office. The tech giant's share dropped to 75.2 percent in December 2014 (2).

On the other hand, Yahoo's share has risen incrementally. Between November and December 2014, the competitor's ownership of the search market jumped from 8.6 percent to 10.6 percent. Bing's share barely moved at all.

Firefox users show divided loyalties
From the beginning to the end of December, Yahoo's ownership of Firefox traffic rose from 12 percent to 30 percent (3). While this demonstrates fairly strong growth, the data is tempered by the fact that a significant number of users have likely taken it upon themselves to switch the default browser back to Google. Paid search clicks for Yahoo ads on Firefox hit 43 percent in mid-December, but began to drop to a more recent figure of 36 percent.

Depending on the push Firefox puts behind its mobile search functionality, it's difficult to believe that the browser will be able to compete with Google or even Apple's Safari, which is built into the company's products. Regardless, search engine marketing campaigns that strictly use Google ads may be missing a portion of the buying audience that prefers Yahoo or Firefox.

1. "Google's Desktop Search Share Drops To Lowest Point In 6 Years"
2. "Google's US desktop search share dips after Yahoo-Firefox tie up"
3. "What Yahoo's Firefox Deal Tells Us About Paid Search In 2015"

Sheila Kloefkorn

With more than 25 years of hands on marketing strategy and operations experience, Sheila Kloefkorn is dedicated to developing marketing strategies and plans that help clients succeed. Some of the world's largest brands have depended on Sheila for marketing programs that delivered tangible and substantial results. Specialties: B2B marketing, lead generation, lead nurturing, sales strategy, marketing strategy, competitive marketing strategy, social media, search engine optimization (SEO), search engine marketing (SEM), mobile marketing, email marketing, website design, marketing plans.