Google loses ground to Bing in local ad market

Google's share of the market for local online search ads dropped 5% year-on-year in Q3 as small businesses shifted their spend across other search engines, according to data from WebVisible. The study surveyed 25,000 companies with fewer than 200 employees and found that Yahoo! increased its market share to 26.2%, while Bing garnered 10.5% and Ask.com accounted for 2.4%. Google remains the market leader with 60.4% of small firms’ search spending going to the company.

WebVisible's CMO Kevin Ryan says Microsoft's aggressive promotions for Bing appear to have paid off, with the search engine gaining market share from Google. "No one expected this to happen when they came into the game just six months ago," he says. "However, once Bing stops spending the huge sums to get in front of local advertisers, small businesses may forget about the search site. That is, unless it is as effective as it claims to be."

Click-through rates (CTR) for all search engines were up year-on-year although Yahoo! experienced the biggest rise, with an increase of 123%. Bing's CTR rose 76% while Google's was up 52%. Google remains the most expensive platform with its cost-per-click 30% higher on average than Yahoo’s! and Bing’s.