In November, Yahoo and Mozilla entered a partnership that made Yahoo the default search experience on Firefox, replacing Google, which had held the spot for the past decade. The deal showed some great early results for Yahoo in terms of search market share, and a month ago, StatCounter provided an update on that front, showing that Google had its lowest share in the U.S. since it's been recording the data. Yahoo, on the other hand, reached its highest US search share in over five years.
StatCounter now has data out for February, and while Yahoo's growth has slowed, it has mostly been able to hang on to what it gained. Google took 74.9% of US search referrals followed by Bing on 12.5% and Yahoo on 10.7%, down from 10.9% in January.
“While Yahoo’s search growth from the Mozilla deal has stalled, its share declined only slightly in February,”said StatCounter CEO Aodhan Cullen. "It will be interesting to see if January was the month of peak impact for Yahoo as a result of the Mozilla deal and whether it can maintain its gains over the next few months.”
Just as it did last month, StatCounter also looked at search share by US Firefox, finding that in February, Google was at 65.1%, up a little from 63.9% in January, while Yahoo was at 27.3%, down from 28.3% (Bing was also down).
It's not a huge surprise that Google would gain a little back among these users as some probably just realized their default was no longer set to their search engine of preference. Google has also been pushing for users to change it back. Google has been promoting a video demonstrating how to change the default search experience:
— Google (@google) January 21, 2015
It has also been telling Firefox users who visit its homepage to set the default experience back to Google. It displays a message that says, “Get to Google faster. Make Google your default search engine.”
Yahoo continues to display a link to "upgrade to the new Firefox" on its homepage and other properties as well.
Yahoo's latest decline in market share isn't attributed to Firefox alone, StatCounter says, noting that general Yahoo usage in the US excluding Firefox users was also down from 8.2% in January to 8.1% in February.
StatCounter says Firefox users generated 14% of US internet usage in February.
About a month ago, reports indicated that Apple's search deal with Google (which makes Google the default search experience on Safari) would expire "soon," but it's not clear exactly when that is. We haven't heard anything yet, so presumably it hasn't happened quite yet. Yahoo has expressed great interest in that deal, which would no doubt gain it an even more significant market share boost. CEO Marissa Mayer said this in a Q&A on the company's earnings call at the end of January:
The Safari platform is basically one of the premiere search engine in the world, if not the premiere search engine in the world. We are definitely in the search distribution business. I think we stated that really clearly in the past and I think with Mozilla and also in addition we brought Amazon and eBay onboard with smaller distribution partnerships in Q4, we are in search distribution business and anyone who is in that business needs to be interested in the Safari deal.
The Safari users are among the most engaged and lucrative users in the world and it’s something that we would really like to be able to provide. We work really closely with Mozilla to ultimately bring to their users an experience that they designed and that they feel really suit those users and we welcome the opportunity with any other partner to do the same, particularly one with Apple’s volume and end user base.
Google shared its thoughts in a more generic manner on its earnings call.
Images via StatCounter, Google, Yahoo