SAN MATEO, Calif.--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Jan. 13, 2005--Keynote Systems
- Google Maintains Search Industry Leadership, Yahoo! and MSN
- Keynote Study Examines User Experience at Leading Search
The Yahoo! and MSN search engines are closing the gap with Google
by improving the search experience for consumers and that will lead to
increased usage for those sites, according to a new study. The
syndicated research study conducted by Keynote Systems (Nasdaq:KEYN),
The Internet Performance Authority(R), provides the industry's most
comprehensive competitive benchmarking of customer attitudes and
experience at leading search engine sites.
The Keynote Customer Experience (CE) Rankings for the Search
Engine Industry are based on research with 2,000 consumers as they
interacted with leading search engines. In addition to traditional
opinion data, Keynote's proprietary research technology collects
detailed qualitative and behavioral data as users perform tasks at
Google Leads, Yahoo! and MSN Close the Gap
"Google is the king of customer experience in the search engine
industry, but Yahoo!, MSN and Ask Jeeves are improving," said Dr.
Bonny Brown, director of research and public services for Keynote.
"Given the open nature of the Web, as these sites continue to improve
the user experience they will undoubtedly begin to attract more users
and improve user loyalty. Obviously this will impact the advertising
side of the business."
According to the study, Google maintains its clear leadership
position in the search industry, again leading the Keynote Customer
Experience Rankings. Sites topping the Keynote CE Rankings perform
best, in aggregate, across all 250+ metrics and indices measured
during the study, including those for brand impact, future usage,
customer satisfaction and customer loyalty.
Keynote Customer Experience Rankings
4 Ask Jeeves
However, Yahoo! and MSN have made significant gains against Google
since the last Keynote search engine study, published in May 2004.
Yahoo!, which remains in second place across the Keynote CE Rankings
and other leading indicators, launched an expanded local search
service and a new search results page after the last study and, as a
result, significantly improved its overall user experience.
The quality of local search results is a major frustration to many
search engine users. Across all search sites, almost one in four (22%)
users complain that the local results are not what they are looking
for or are not ranked appropriately. Yahoo! showed significant
improvement in the ranking of the quality of its local search results,
tying Google in leading the industry in this key category.
MSN, which remains in third place overall, began separating
sponsored results from its Web search results in July 2004 and, as a
consequence, also showed a significant improvement in overall user
experience. The company is expected to release a new version of the
MSN search site in early 2005, and that site will be evaluated in the
next Keynote study in June 2005.
The perceived usefulness of sponsored results is one of the top
five drivers impacting user experience, and MSN showed a significant
increase in this category since the last study. More than 47% of MSN
users described the site's sponsored results as very useful in the
most recent study, as compared to just 37% doing so prior to the
Ask Jeeves also showed a significant increase in its overall
customer experience in large part driven by a significant improvement
in its local search.
Yahoo!, MSN Ask Jeeves Jump in Future Usage Index
As a direct result of their improvements in user experience,
Yahoo!, MSN and Ask Jeeves also saw a notable increase in their
standing in the Keynote Future Usage Index, which measures the
likelihood of consumers to use a search site as their primary search
tool and to return to the site in the future. The index also measures
a user's likelihood to recommend a search site to others or to use a
search toolbar offered by the site. Google maintained its position as
the leader in the Future Usage Index, but did not improve its overall
Since the last study, Yahoo! has boosted the number of users who
said they would consider the site as their primary search engine by
more than 20% and MSN by almost 30%. More than 81% of Yahoo! users and
61% of MSN users said they would return to those sites in the future,
as compared to just 72% of Yahoo! users and 55% of MSN users stating
so in the previous Keynote study.
"Over the past year, the major search engines have made great
strides to improve their services, and users have noticed," said Chris
Sherman, Editor, Search Engine Watch. "However, loyalty is fragmented,
and alternatives are just a mouse click away. It's becoming
increasingly crucial for search engines not just to attract users but
to build loyalty -- and the only way to do that is by improving the
overall quality of the user experience."
Even though 75% of users say they have one primary search engine,
when search expectations are not met up to 50% of users will turn to
another search engine as an alternative. Additionally, up to 20% of
users regularly use different search engines for different types of
searches. As a result, all the leading sites get fairly extensive
MSN Separation of Sponsored, Web Results Pays Off
The perceived quality of search results is the leading factor
influencing user satisfaction, and MSN was the only site to make
significant gains in this category. Google and Yahoo! continue to lead
Keynote studies, which measure both user perceptions and actual
search results, have revealed that search engine success is based in
large part on the presentation of search results and brand affinity.
Sites that users rank well in terms of presentation and brand, also
rank well in perceived quality and success of search. Keynote has
found that actual search results returned by the leading five search
engines, when measured objectively, do not differ significantly. In
fact, Lycos, Ask Jeeves and MSN perform as well as Google and Yahoo!
when actual user success in conducting complex searches was measured.
"MSN's recent separation of sponsored results from actual Web
results greatly improved user perceptions of MSN search results," said
Brown. "This move has increased the loyalty of MSN users and improved
perceptions of advertising and sponsored results on the MSN site."
Piper Jaffray predicts the search engine industry will generate
$8.9 billion in revenues by 2007, up from $2.6 billion in 2003.
The entire report, Keynote Customer Experience (CE) Rankings for
the Search Engine Industry, is a 100+ page examination of the search
engine industry containing hundreds of additional data points and a
detailed analysis of the findings. For information about purchasing
the full report, visit http://www.keynote.com/syndicated.html.
Keynote Customer Experience Research
Keynote is the leading provider of customer experience research
services, offering both syndicated and custom research examining
consumer attitudes and behavior on the Web. Keynote's research
provides critical business insight into online customer experiences,
industry trends and competitive Web strategies for a variety of
vertical industries. In addition to traditional opinion data,
Keynote's proprietary research technology and access to a panel of
160,000+ consumers allows for the collection of detailed qualitative
and behavioral data that inform its reports.
Keynote's syndicated research includes two distinct types of
reports: the Keynote Customer Experience (CE) Rankings, which provide
competitive benchmarking and rankings of the leading Web sites in a
specific industry; and Open Web Research (OWR), which takes a broader
look at the customer's experience across the entire Web when
performing specific tasks, such as booking business travel.
Keynote CE (CE) Rankings are available for a number of industries
including the retail, banking and credit card industries, as well as
several travel verticals, including the lodging, cruise and rental car
industries. The Keynote CE Rankings are the successor to the Vividence
CE Rankings following Keynote's acquisition of Vividence in September
To learn more about Keynote's syndicated research offerings and
for a list of the various vertical industry reports that are
Founded in 1995, Keynote Systems (Nasdaq:KEYN), The Internet
Performance Authority(R), is the worldwide leader in e-business
performance management services. Over 2,100 corporate IT departments
and 20,000 individual subscribers rely on Keynote's growing range of
measurement and monitoring, service level and customer experience
management services to improve e-business performance by reducing
costs, improving customer satisfaction and increasing profitability.
Keynote is viewed as The Internet Performance Authority due to the
company's global infrastructure of over 1,600 measurement computers in
more than 50 cities worldwide that capture and store on a daily basis
over 60 million Internet performance measurements, frequent media
citations quoting Keynote's Web performance data and analysis, the
company's market-leading Web performance indices for vertical markets
and leading customer research that provides critical business insight
into online customer experiences, industry trends and competitive Web
Keynote Systems, Inc. is headquartered in San Mateo, California
and can be reached at www.keynote.com or by phone in the U.S. at
Keynote, The Internet Performance Authority and Perspective are
registered trademarks of Keynote Systems, Inc. Other trademarks are
the property of their respective owners.
(C) 2005 Keynote Systems, Inc.
CONTACT: Keynote Systems, Inc.
Dan Berkowitz, 650-403-3305
Roaring PR (for Keynote)
Dan Cahill, 415-552-3999
SOURCE: Keynote Systems, Inc.