If the recent blitz of rumors are correct, Apple is considering booting Google from iPhone Safari and giving Bing its spot as default search engine.  As huge as this is from a business relations point of view (Apple must be seriously angry with Google to consider pairing up with their longtime rival Microsoft), when you look closer at the numbers Google pulls from iPhone users, you begin to realize just how much this could affect the big G.

Percent of iPhone Internet traffic by sourceAccording to our numbers as shown in the above graph, Google search accounts for just over half of all Internet traffic on the iPhone.  A stunning number, when you consider that it outnumbers the entire genre of non-search traffic – traffic from putting URLs directly into the browser, navigating to your bookmarks, clicking links from any non-search site.  Compare that with the general Internet:

Traffic by Source - GeneralFor non-iPhone users (mostly people surfing on their PCs), non-search traffic makes up 65% of all Web usage.  Google search traffic accounts for about 31% – twenty points lower than their iPhone number, and yet still considered the dominant source of traffic.

How can Google be so dominant on the iPhone?  Simply put, the way people browse through the iPhone’s Safari means that the quickest, easiest way to browse is by using the default search box at the top of the browser.  Typing a full URL is unwieldy to many with the virtual keyboard, and browsing sessions are likely shorter than they would be on a laptop or desktop, leading to less opportunities to click from site to site.

If Google loses its status as the iPhone’s default search to Bing, that becomes a massive shift in mobile web superiority.  Although Google’s Android is growing its market share at a high rate, the iPhone still makes up 54% of the increasingly valuable mobile Web market.  Google has recently shown that mobile advertising is a very high priority, given their acquisition of AdMob in November, so a swing of over a quarter of the smartphone market from Google to Bing would be a huge blow to their plans.

Google share of all smartphone traffic

The numbers:

Traffic by Source – iPhone
Source Impressions % of Sample
Google 1,464,173 50.54%
Non-Search 1,391,879 48.04%
Yahoo! 35,903 1.24%
Bing 2,387 0.08%
Ask 2,348 0.08%
AOL 401 0.01%
Total 2,897,091 100%
Traffic by Source – General Internet
Source Impressions % of Sample
Google 140,980,132 30.83%
Non-Search 222,500,241 65.35%
Yahoo! 6,728,519 1.98%
Bing 4,660,830 1.37%
Ask 813,792 0.24%
AOL 798,396 0.23%
Total 340,481,910 100%
  • All numbers are based on a sample of traffic through the Chitika advertising network.

About Chitika

Chitika, Inc., is a search-based online advertising network, leading the way in intent-based advertising and search engine insights. Chitika provides publishers with an innovative way to monetize search engine traffic, and advertisers a new way of generating leads with clear consumer intent. With over 60,000 sites and 2 billion monthly impressions, the Chitika network is the pulse of the online world. Through research and targeting, Chitika continually evolves its image as “the ad network that knows when not to show ads.” For more information, visit https://chitika.com


Daniel Ruby
Research Director, Online Insights
Chitika, Inc.
+866.441.7203 x966

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