Hitwise recently released some new data, which suggests that those in different income brackets have a tendency to use one search engine over another. What the data reveals is that those who are financially well-off are more likely to use Google, while the poor and working class have an affinity for Yahoo. The results also revealed that Google users tend to be older and spend more money online, while Yahoo users are younger and spend less online.
While Google is the leader in online search, Yahoo is the number one most visited website online. With more traffic, you’d think that Yahoo could pull in some of the same numbers for search as Google, but alas that is not the case. I’m going to go out on a limb here and suggest that the different audiences the two search engines attract is a result of the services and focuses of each company, and that Hitwise’s results aren’t all that surprising.
Yahoo clearly dominates Google when it comes to entertainment – think Yahoo Music, Flickr, etc. Whenever I’ve looked at the Yahoo Buzz report of the most searched for terms on the site, celebrities are always doing very well. This suggests to me that people going to Yahoo are there for fun and light entertainment, as well as socializing.
On the other hand, there’s Google. While the acquisition of YouTube has helped their street cred in the entertainment sector, Google tends to focus on search and information sharing & finding. It’s decidedly more academic, and lacks the “flash” of Yahoo.
Now which audience is more valuable? Well that’s not something I’m willing to make a judgment on, and rather is something for you to think about and discuss.