- October 12, 2010

Comscore September 2010 qSearch Reporting Enhancements

Cameron Meierhoefer
Cameron Meierhoefer
COO

When Comscore publicly releases its September qSearch reporting this week, there will be a couple of important enhancements to highlight. The first change is that September will be the first month reflecting the impact of Google Instant, Google’s new feature that delivers results in real-time while users type their query. The second change will be the inclusion of added metrics around the U.S. explicit core searches “powered by” Google and Bing.

Google Instant Search Reporting
Google’s “Instant Search,” announced on September 8, 2010, alters the user search experience considerably. Prior to the introduction of Instant Search, a Google user typed in a search keyword or phrase, which dynamically generated a pick list of query suggestions designed to help the user select a query that best reflects his or her intent. The user would keep typing until she found an appropriate search suggestion or hit enter to submit the query she typed in the search box.

With Instant Search, the user is now additionally presented with a full results page that corresponds to the top ranked suggestion in the suggestion list. The page is dynamically updated as the user continues typing, which could potentially generate a large number of result pages that may or may not be of user interest. At the same time, the newly added detailed results provide the user with more information to formulate a satisfactory query and offer new modes of explicitly engaging with a result page. In particular, the user no longer has to hit enter to begin interacting with the result set on the screen.

Fortunately, the Comscore panel provides visibility into all events that a user is conducting and all the HTTP calls associated with the user’s actions. Based on this insight, we have developed a priority scoring system that allows us to identify search results with explicit user action and interstitial results with a sufficiently long pause to suggest some level of implicit engagement. User actions that qualify an explicit query include those where a user hits “enter,” clicks on an algorithmic or sponsored result, clicks one of the various refinement links (such as past 24 hours, etc.) or clicks on a vertical search tab to execute the query in a different channel (such as News or Image Search). Any query with such explicit action is counted in Explicit Core Search. Query result pages without explicit user action, but with a pause of at least 3 seconds, are considered as indicating ‘implicit’ engagement and will count towards Total Core Search.

“Powered By” Reporting
Beginning this month, Comscore will begin providing insight into the share of Explicit Core Searches that are powered by the two major providers of algorithmic search results – Google and Bing. Google’s “powered by” share is composed of searches conducted at Google entities, as well as searches on AOL and Ask’s MyWebSearch where Google branding is present. Bing’s “powered by” share is composed of searches conducted at Bing entities, as well as Yahoo! searches where Bing branding is present. This primarily consists of queries at Yahoo! Web Search, Yahoo! Image Search and Yahoo! Video Search. Some of Yahoo!’s in-channel searches, such as Movies or Finance, are still provided by Yahoo!

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