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Search continues to show big gains among U.S. users. According to comScore data comparing September 2004 with September 2005, the average daily use of search engines was up from 49.3 million users to 60.7 million. Separately, the Pew Internet & American Life Project said in its most recent survey that the daily use of search engines had grown to 41 percent of the online population (59 million users). That's up from 30 percent in June 2004.

The Pew data are drawn from telephone surveys, while the comScore data are from online panels.

This most recent set of comScore search market-share data reflect the following:

  • Google — 89.8 million uniques
  • Yahoo! Search — 68 million uniques
  • MSN Search — 49.7 million uniques
  • Ask Jeeves — 43.7 million uniques
  • AOL Search — 36.1 million uniques

According to Pew, e-mail is still the most used online application — with daily use at 77 percent. But search is gaining.

Here's an interesting data point: comScore says users spend an average of 24 minutes per day with e-mail vs. about four minutes for search. (Yahoo! Mail and Gmail are thus important ad inventory.) Another striking thing is how Ask is not far off MSN in the comScore data.

This increasing usage of search engines will mean increased PPClick revenues among the major engines. It also shows that search has become a kind of universal consumer doorway and distribution mechanism that all online advertisers — whether directly or by proxy — must reach.

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