Report: Google maintains commanding lead in U.S. search ad market; Yahoo gains

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Sunnyvale, Calif.—Google maintained its stranglehold on the search advertising market in the fourth quarter, with a 76% share of search ad expenditures, according to a newly released report by search engine marketing and services company Efficient Frontier.

Google’s share of search ad spending represented a combination of Google Search and revenue from its Google Content network made up of Web sites, newspapers and blogs that partner with the company to display targeted AdWords ads. Google’s combined search revenue declined about 2 percentage points from a year earlier.

Meanwhile, Yahoo (made up of both Yahoo Search and Yahoo Content) moved from a 17% market share in the fourth quarter of 2007 to a 20% slice of the search ad market. Microsoft Live Search declined from 5% to 4.2% year over year.

Among verticals, search spending in the finance and automotive industries dropped precipitously in the fourth quarter, down 25% and 15%, respectively, from the same period a year earlier, with the bulk of the decline coming in the fourth quarter.

Efficient Frontier’s report, “U.S. Search Engine Performance Report: Q4 2008,” was based on an analysis of 92 billion impressions and 600 million clicks across a portion of Efficient Frontier’s customer base.

—Christopher Hosford

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