Report: Yahoo Search Losing Firefox Users Who “Switchback” To Google


Relying on recently released StatCounter data we previously reported Yahoo search gains in the wake of the Firefox “default search” deal announced earlier this year. However a subsequent analysis by RKG’s Mark Ballard argues that many Firefox 34 users are switching back to Google as their default search engine.

Ballard looked at paid clicks from Yahoo on Firefox and said the following:’s share of Firefox 34 paid search clicks peaked at 43% on December 10th as Mozilla ramped up pushing the upgrade out to users; since then, however, there have been gradual but continual losses back to Google, and Yahoo’s share of Firefox 34 clicks now stands at about 36 percent.

Firefox default search

Ballard estimated that ultimately Yahoo’s share of paid clicks on Firefox 34 would go lower but eventually stabilize. Google already has the majority of paid clicks on Firefox 34. Paid clicks, of course, are a reflection of organic traffic.

Ironically Google may wind up generating more AdWords revenue from Firefox paid clicks than it did when it was the default engine for the browser, because there’s no revenue share now that Yahoo has taken over that role.

As Ballard also points out the much larger prize would be Safari:

Phones and tablets already produce between 40-50 percent of paid search clicks and Apple’s iOS devices account for about two-thirds of that. Add desktop Safari traffic on top of that and we’re talking about roughly half of total paid search traffic being at stake in 2015 if the Safari search default is really up for grabs across devices, as reports suggest.

Putting aside IE’s mysterious traffic spike this past month, Safari has been the second largest browser after Chrome in the US. We previously reported rumors that there’s a competition going on for the Safari default search position.

Ballard estimates that if Bing or Yahoo won the Safari default search business, it could potentially “shift about five times as much traffic as the Firefox deal, and more over time.”

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