Yahoo Becomes Default Search Option In Firefox
Despite talks of breaking up Google in Europe, search marketers know that it will continue to be the most important search engine in the foreseeable future. Also, as far as browsers are concerned, Google's Chrome is the most popular in the world.
These facts raise a question that marketers have had to deal with for years: is it worth the time to focus efforts on other search engines? While the answer to this question is "of course," the Yahoo engine in particular often ends up coming in a distant third behind Bing. Mozilla's recent announcement has an outside chance of changing that, though.
Firefox's Agreement With Google Comes to an End
According to the announcement on Mozilla's blog, Google has been the default search option in the Firefox browser since 2004. When the agreement ended this year, Mozilla decided to make a switch that reflects their values and ongoing mission to promote "choice and independence" in user web experience. The new Yahoo search will go into effect for American users in December, and the partnership is slated to last five years. Yahoo will also support "Do Not Track" in the browser.
In an accompanying post on Yahoo's Tumblr page, CEO Marissa Mayer explains that becoming Firefox's default search is "the most significant partnership for Yahoo in five years." She notes that Yahoo search has had 11 consecutive quarters of growth. Also, she outlines how the new version of Yahoo will be "clean, modern and immersive." Take a look at the new layout:
Looks awfully familiar, doesn't it?
Will This Change Really Affect The Numbers?
The experts over at Search Engine Land speculate that Yahoo becoming a default search option could drive millions more queries each month. It could also lead to increases in ad revenue for the company. However, both Yahoo and Firefox face some incredibly tough competition. According to the latest comScore rankings, Yahoo is only getting around 10.3 percent of searches on desktop computers. This is important, as desktop users are Mozilla's lifeblood - Firefox has been conspicuously absent from the mobile world altogether. The lack of a mobile presence is bad news itself, as it's now thought that around 60 percent of time spent on digital media is done on mobile devices. Overall, Firefox only has about 15 percent of the browser market share.
Also, just because Yahoo will be the default search option doesn't mean that users will necessarily use it. Firefox is going to provide a drop-down menu where users can choose to search using Google, Bing, DuckDuckGo, Amazon, Twitter or Wikipedia. Once a different option is selected, it will stay that way until the user changes it back. So, if a Firefox user prefers a different search engine, it will be very, very easy to just switch the default.
Overall, it's tough to say whether or not this change will impact market share for either Yahoo or Firefox. For marketers, it would be wise to keep an eye on Yahoo's search numbers in the next few months. Any sort of spike might indicate that Yahoo deserves more attention.