How Often Did a Map Show on in December? 868 million times?

According to Comscore, in December 2009, Americans conducted 14.7 billion core searches, with Google Sites accounting for 65.7 percent search market share, virtually unchanged from 65.6 percent in November. Thus Google was searched 9.65 billions times in the US.

Google has noted in their official blog that “Proportion of Google result pages that show a map in search results: 1 in 13” ( based on our U.S. weekday traffic).

If we do a little back of the envelope calculation and estimate that 85% of searches never leave the front page, we can estimate that the map showed 1.15 times for every 13 front pages shown which means that is shows roughly 9 times per hundred searches.

If any of this is even remotely correct then a map was shown roughly 868 millions times during the month (9%) of December searches. This number is lower than the usual estimates of local searches and as Greg Sterling points out, many searches that show no local intent in fact are.

Please consider leaving a comment as your input will help me (& everyone else) better understand and learn about local.
How Often Did a Map Show on in December? 868 million times? by

14 thoughts on “How Often Did a Map Show on in December? 868 million times?”

  1. ha, Mike. As you were publishing this I was commenting at screenwerk re: Greg’s post on this issue. Greg supplied some quick data for unique visitors for yelp, and 2 IYP’s in Dec.

    Although I rounded to a different total for Google searches than your numbers….the absolute difference between Google searches that generate a map…or google searches that imply local (w/out a map)….actually don’t even worry abt the google searches w/out a map.

    The scope of difference between Google local usage and traffic to popular other local vehicles such as Yelp or well known IYP’s is astronimical. You are referencing btween 8-900 USA Google searches that turn up a Map. Greg turned up Compete data that estimated unique visitors to Yelp at 27 million in December, with 2 IYP’s having significantly less traffic.

    Mike: I believe that Google has such an enormous monopoly on local traffic on the web…..its scary. Its especially scary in light of so much of what you have published…..their are endless problems, gaffes, errors, etc. in G Maps.

    There is a web advertising monopoly as it applies to local businesses. Its scary to me.

  2. Yes when you add their ~50 million visitors to Maps, plus their Goog411, SMS, Mobile and Google Earth presence (none of which are tracked at all externally as far as I know) their presence is domineering in the IYP & Mapping arenas.

    I can see why they went after Yelp and are adding some real time capability to Places…they need new mountains to scale. The question is if they beat Facebook and Twitter at the next battle front- local social.

    They have obviously won this battle.

  3. Mike:

    The aggregate estimate for G Maps views over a year comes to somewhere around 10 billion maps views in the US/year. They can increase that volume. They could increase the frequency of maps showing for phrases w/out geo modifiers. They could increase the frequency for searches w/ state names and other geo phrases that currently don’t generate maps. It is huge and it can grow.

    All other local search vehicles pale in size in comparison.

    In terms of its impact on local businesses, search has dramatically more impact than does social media. Not to denigrate social media at all….its powerful…its vast especially facebook, it has its own search element…but search responds to consumer intent. It leads to more contacts and more conversions.

    Google’s dominance is monopolistic…and in that sense it holds power over all sorts of local businesses. At its extremes…either being highlighted by G Maps w/ a onebox…or being banished to the netherlands by a competitor’s onebox…it has an incredible advertising/marketing impact that is difficult to overcome, if only because of this monopoly on user’s views.

    That is a critical reason why Google needs to clean up Maps. It holds a power over local businesses that no other entity has.

    Google is working its way into social. It certainly is the current battleground. We will see what happens.

    For now though, I suggest keep a sharp eye on Google Maps. Its dominance over the local business market is unlike that of any other marketing entity that has ever existed.

  4. I posted this on screenwerk too.

    from Google’s post:
    Proportion of Google users in the United States making more than one query per day: 7 out of 10
    so approx. 70% are repeat. how does that play into the comparison?

    27, 19, and 10 million unique visitors for the 3 referenced sites in December versus about 1 billion local searches in Google.

    that’s comparing the number of searches to the total unique visitors of the other 3 sites. we need to compare the unique numbers against uniques not total searches.

    if 70% (of the 970 million) are making multiple searches, then is it fair to say the unqiues for local searches is 270 million not 970?

    nonetheless, they still dwarf everyone, but i am trying to make it an apples to apples comparison.

    am I missing anything?

  5. Jason: Nice logic. I don’t think that is accurate. Your assumption and calculations assume EVERY maps view is connected to a unique user whose every subsequent search also involves generating a map.

    Good logic..but I think you need to filter between subsequent searches…and subsequent searches that involve a map.

  6. From my point of view, it is very difficult to even make the comparisons that I did make…Chris Silver Smith summed it up in his email to me:

    comScore is basing numbers off of a sampling of a subset of total internet users. When they cite “Americans conducted 14.7 billion searches…” I think they’re possibly taking their sample set of searches, then multiplying by what they estimate the ratio of their sample set of users compared with overall number of internet users to come up with an estimate of total American search numbers.

    I could be wrong – it may be the total number of searches from their sample set, in which case the actual numbers would be larger.

    Either way, comScore’s numbers aren’t the actual, total numbers of Google searches/searchers. Google’s numbers would be based on actuals that they see in their data center. Their ratio of 1:13 is likely also imprecise by some amount — it’s likely roughly rounded to whole numbers 1:13.

    The amount of error in comScore’s estimate, multiplied by the difference in Google’s rounding will result in a high likelihood of really large error, considering the large quantities involved when you multiply these numbers. And, you’re multiplying by yet another estimate — the number of users who don’t go past page one of results.

    So, if you’re going to quote the multiplied number in a blog post, just acknowledge in passing that there’s likely some significant error involved, since comScore’s #s are based on an estimate projected from a representative panel combined with other sources, plus the ratio Google mentioned was likely rough, plus the %age users sticking on page one is also roughly estimated. (No need to detail all the sources of error in the computation.)

    I’m not snubbing your estimate — I think your estimate is worth blogging about, because it shows the amount of usage going on in Maps and it will be one of the only estimates anywhere that gives some idea of how many “pageviews”/”impressions” may be happening in that section of Google!

    I don’t know statistics well enough to compute the +- error estimate with your final number. I can just see that there’s significant uncertainty when multiplying these multiple variables, and I think it’s best to acknowledge that when publishing the number you’ve arrived at — it will take the wind out of anyone that would be inclined to point out the fuzziness before they make any comments on the article.

    The only estimate that I am confident of in this comparison? A lot!

    Until we can get compare or hitwise to study it from a consistent set of data we won’t really know.

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