- We analyzed 100 business profiles on all four channels for views and actions over six months and then compared the results.
- Google generated 10x the results of Apple, 50x the results of Yelp, and over 1000x the results of Bing
- With over 90% search engine market share, Google is still king when it comes to search and local directory audience size and potential.
- In this post we dive into the results between Google and Bing.
- Try comparing your own data to see if you find the same results. Let us know where you net out!
A closer look at market share
Is 2023 the year that Google loses its crown as the king of search? Will Bing somehow usurp Google’s 20+ years of dominance with the advent and integration with ChatGPT?
This is a burning question on every marketer’s mind these days. Everywhere I look, all I see is content and tweets highlighting that Bing is gaining ground on Google and how ChatGPT, paired with Bing, is going to erode Google’s search engine market share.
It’s worth highlighting right out of the gate that according to Statcounter, there hasn’t been much movement in Bing’s market share since the announcement of ChatGPT integrating with Bing.
In fact, it’s actually down when comparing April 2022 vs April 2023.
Since Bing gets 85% of its users from North America, let’s see how that looks in comparison to the Global view.
Year over year, Google search has actually gained market share globally and in North America, while Bing search has decreased. Obviously, there hasn’t been much traction for Bing search despite the headlines and press releases that have been circulating the internet.
Google search has actually gained market share globally and in North America, while Bing search has decreased.
One possible reason for this is that in order to experience the new Bing with ChatGPT, you need to first download Microsoft Edge or install their App on your smartphone. What Microsoft is doing is bundling together TWO major changes they want you to make. They want you to switch your browser AND your search engine!
Personally, I think this is a HUGE mistake if they really want to take advantage of all this PR and to give people a fresh look at Bing. It’s almost like stealing a page out of Google’s playbook with Google+. Microsoft is making it too hard to get, when they should just be making it as easy as possible.
With that being said, the leading indicator of Bing increasing market share will be tied to the use of Microsoft Edge, unless they decide to decouple the incentive, which I think they should (but probably won’t).
As for browser market share, not much is happening on the global stage but in North America, Microsoft Edge is slowly moving up, so we might see some movement in search engine market share in the coming months/years.
Again, since Bing has mostly a North American user base, let’s see how browser market share looks when compared to the Global view.
Looking at this comparison, Microsoft has seen some gains (+2.29%) when it comes to browser market share across all platforms. It appears that most of the gains have come from a combination of decreased share from Google, Apple, and Firefox.
However, something very important to keep in mind while looking at Browser market share is that Google is the default search engine on Chrome, Safari, and Firefox. Google pays tens of billions of dollars to have this privilege.
As of April 2023, that means Google search still has a dominant position in the browser wars with default access to 86.97% of all internet browser users.
So even though Microsoft has made a respectable increase in browser market share over the last year, Google still has a commanding 10x reach via browsers.
On Mobile however, this story plays out a bit differently, and this is where Microsoft should be concerned because it’s been reported that over 60% of searches begin from a Mobile device, especially local search.
So although Microsoft Edge has seen a nice increase in overall market share across all platforms, on Mobile, there’s not much to write home about. Google still has a 93% market share on mobile search because Safari uses Google as the default search engine. Despite Google losing -2.07% year over year, Safari picked up the slack with a +1.99% increase.
Google still has a commanding 10x reach via browsers with over 93% market share on mobile search because Safari uses Google as the default search engine.
Getting Microsoft Edge usage up on mobile will need to make quantum leaps for Bing to have an impact on search market share. Alternatively, Microsoft will have to become more competitive when Google’s contract with Safari and Firefox comes up for renewal. The contract with Firefox ends in late 2023 and Safari in late 2024. Obviously, Safari would be the bigger loss for Google and gain for Bing. Both Google and Microsoft have the money and desire to be the default on these platforms, so let the bidding wars begin.
Impacts on Local Search
Now that we’ve discussed the overall impacts across devices and geographies from a sheer market share standpoint, I want to shift the focus on local search.
In an attempt to figure out how these trends and decisions may impact local search, we decided to do what we have always done and asked ourselves: What does the data say?
Over the last few weeks, my team did a comparison for 100 business locations to see comparisons between views and actions on Google Business Profile and Bing Places. Shoutout to our director of paid search Marie Fitzgibbon for rolling up her sleeves to extract this data as a lot of this had to be done manually.
While we were at it, we figured we might as well also see Google Business Profile and Bing Places stack up compared to Apple Business Connect and Yelp. Keep an eye out for Part 2 and Part 3 of this series to see the complete analysis for those comparisons!
Although Bing has made a lot of noise with the integration of ChatGPT into their search experience, nothing has materially changed (yet) on Bing Places for businesses to add and update information, so I remain skeptical about users choosing Bing over Google considering the underlying data and quality of information on Bing, is still sub-par.
However, advancements made by OpenAI and ChatGPT are exciting and it’s obvious to see how these applications are going to potentially change the landscape of the search engine industry.
Other than being constantly asked for rank tracking features (you can read why we don’t do that here), the second most requested feature at Map Labs has been to connect to other search engines and directories like Bing, Apple and Yelp.
Despite these requests, we’ve remaining committed to only supporting Google Business Profile within our software services. Not only does our specialization allow us to have greater coverage and parity with Google when compared to other platforms, our basis for not diversifying has always been centered around the fact that Google has a 90%+ market share globally and has the most impact on real-world impact for businesses that we work with.
However, there are some other valid reasons as well:
- Bing Places has a less than 3% global market share of search. Bing also offers a native feature to import and sync your business profiles from Google into Bing places. So between the lack of audience and the already available tools for businesses to simply connect their Google account to Bing Places, there wasn’t much incentive to develop features for Bing.
- Apple Business Connect has a limited API program. Apple’s Business Register (recently relaunched as Business Connect), was also devoid of any meaningful features. It was basically just the Name, Hours and Address of your business along with some links to your website, apps or social profiles. There were no analytics, photos, posts, attributes, etc. Although some of that has recently changed.
- Yelp! Prior to this research, we considered Yelp as the 2nd largest local directory. We’ve now learned that might not be the case (spoiler alert!). However, the bigger issue here is that Yelp has historically been anti-third party platforms and in order to use their API for free, we had to have “mutual clients” meaning the only businesses that could use our API connection, would also have to be an active advertiser with Yelp. We didn’t want to become Yelp sales reps in the process, so we steered clear of that.
Although it sounds like I’m just a pure and simple Google fanboy, I want to be clear that I’m pro-competition when it comes to search engines and local directories. Part of the motivation in doing this research was to check against my gut feelings and make sure my head is screwed on straight.
With that being said, I couldn’t be more excited about the recent uptick in competition on search and local directories.
How we gathered our data
Map Labs offers managed services to select businesses and when we do this, we often get access to more than just Google. In fact, we have been working with Bing, Apple and Yelp for five years through their native platforms, but not on their APIs like we do with Google.
That means we have direct access to data for the same businesses that we manage on Google on Bing, Apple, and Yelp.
Our comparisons were made throughout Q4-2022 (October 1 – December 31, 2022) through the end of Q1-2023 (January 1 – March 31, 2023).
For Apple and Yelp comparisons, we were able to compare the exact time frames when compared to Google.
However, for Bing, we were only able to retrieve the “Last 12 Weeks” of data at the end of Q1-2023, so the comparison for Bing is only for 3 months, which we timed at the end of Q1-2023, so we have all of the data from this channel between January 1 – March 31, 2023.
In other words, Bing comparisons are for a 3-month period whereas the comparisons for Google, Apple, and Yelp are for a 6-month period.
To keep things neat and tidy, we also segregated these comparisons between business organizations before combining the data. This was done to ensure one business’s results weren’t wildly different from another. Fortunately, our findings were mostly consistent across all three businesses, so the blended result we are going to show you is consistent across these three different business organizations.
Also keep in mind that we have optimized and updated the same information across all four platforms consistently. So it’s not like there isn’t information that is found on one platform and not on another.
Full disclosure: These businesses are ALL in the restaurant and hospitality industry. There is a mix of quick service restaurants, casual dining and fine dining in these portfolios.
Look for subsequent research for businesses in other industries in the future and updated research periodically throughout the coming years. For now, we picked restaurants because they are one of the highest volume businesses on search and typically, sites like Yelp claim that they are the leaders in this industry, making some seriously bold claims in their marketing and sales about being bigger than Google.
Part 2 and Part 3 of this series will dive deeper into Google vs. Apple and Yelp.
In the interim, here’s what the overall data looks like across all four platforms. For those of you who might not be statisticians (like me), for every 100% difference, that equates to 1x.
Google Business Profile vs. Bing Places
When comparing Google Business Profile to Bing Places during Q1-2023, Google generated:
I believe that a ‘view’ on Bing may actually be an impression since the low conversion rate to actions would be quite difficult to explain. It is either because the search results on Bing are so bad that users just don’t do anything with the information or it’s because Bing actions are often not being completed directly from the search engine like they are on Google.
Unlike Google, which has a plethora of integrations and third-party partnerships, Bing is devoid of these features, meaning that a lot of actions that could end up converting directly from the search results don’t.
I do think the latter is probably the case for Bing. Bing’s demographics skew to be older and less tech savvy, so Bing users may discover a business on Bing on their desktop, but then complete the journey to the business using Google or Apple to navigate.
Either way, we can only compare what can be measured within these platforms, so these are the results that we can see for now.
Here’s a recent individual comparison of Google Business Profile vs. Bing Places analytics for just one of the highest volume locations included in this research.
Google Business Profile Actions (March 12, 2023 – April 30, 2023)
Google Business Profile Views (March 12, 2023 – April 30, 2023)
Bing Places Actions (March 12, 2023 – April 30, 2023)
Bing Places Views (March 12, 2023 – April 30, 2023)
Bing Places vs. Apple Business Connect and Yelp!
As mentioned, while we were comparing Google and Bing, we decided to go one step further and compare all of these platforms to one another.
Probably the biggest disappointment here in this research was the fact that Bing isn’t outperforming any other local directories like Yelp or Apple. I expected Google would absolutely dominate Bing Places but I wasn’t expecting them to come up so short when compared to Apple Business Connect and Yelp.
The volume of actions on Bing is pathetic compared to any of these sites! You’d think that as the 2nd largest search engine, Bing would have fared better against Apple and Yelp, but that wasn’t the case at all.
Granted, Bing did generate more views than Apple and Yelp, but as highlighted above, I am not 100% sure a view on Bing is the same thing as a view on Google, Apple or Yelp. It would seem more likely that a view on Bing is actually an impression, given the lacklustre click through rate to actions like Directions, Phone calls and Website visits.
So is Bing pulling ahead?
Obviously not. Especially when it comes to local search, they’re in dead last place, by a long shot.
Bing should forget about taking over Google, first they need to overcome the gap between them and Apple Business Connect and Yelp.
This doesn’t mean that they won’t make up ground or close the gap in the coming years, but don’t go jumping ship on Google just yet. If you think Google isn’t going to dig their heels in and try to retain their enormous lead, you’d be sadly mistaken.
The bigger takeaway here is that Apple is clearly the 2nd most important local search engine, modestly ahead of Yelp (#3) when it comes to actions from customers. Apple has a lot of weight because they are the default mapping application on iOS devices.
Check out Part 2 and Part 3 of this series to see the analysis of Google vs. Apple and Yelp.
If you’re a local business, here’s where you should focus your energy and efforts in order of priority:
- Google Business Profile
- Apple Business Connect
- Bing Places
You don’t need to worry about every directory and should be mindful about conforming your local search strategy to the needs of many when there are only a few that actually matter.
I hope this was helpful and that you’ll take these ideas and apply them to your business.
Reach out if you have any questions. I love a good conversation and am eager to see if more businesses are experiencing the same results as our clients.